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Spotlight: MIT Libraries develop innovative open access agreements with PLOS

The MIT Libraries has negotiated two new open-access publishing agreements with the nonprofit publisher Public Library of Science (PLOS) that allow MIT authors to publish in all PLOS titles with no publishing fees. The agreement aligns with the core principles of the MIT Framework for Publisher Contracts.

The aim of the PLOS agreements is to remove the burden of cost of publishing articles from authors and allow MIT to support authors who publish open access. Instead of authors paying article processing charges (or APCs, payments charged to authors or their institutions to make a work available open access), PLOS charges the Institute transparent and equitable fees as guided by the Plan S Price and Service Transparency Framework.

“PLOS recognizes that APCs create barriers for some researchers to publish open access and contribute to inequity in scholarly communications,” said Chris Bourg, director of MIT Libraries. “This agreement was a true collaboration made possible by our shared goals of openness, equity, and transparency.”

PLOS, an advocate for open science since its founding in 2001, publishes a suite of open access journals — PLOS Biology, PLOS Medicine, PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS Pathogens, PLOS Genetics, PLOS Neglected Tropical Disease, and the flagship PLOS ONE.

Acknowledging that most research is a collaborative effort, these agreements break new ground by making all MIT authors, corresponding and contributing, eligible in the Collective Action Publishing agreement covering PLOS Biology and PLOS Medicine. Further aligning with MIT’s values, all authors from Research4Life countries are included in this agreement; Research4Life provides low-and middle-income countries with online access to academic and professional peer-reviewed content. A second agreement covers all MIT corresponding authors in the PLOS remaining titles.

“PLOS and the MIT Libraries have tightly aligned missions and values regarding equity and accessibility in scholarship,” said Sara Rouhi, Director of Strategic Partnerships for PLOS. “Our price transparency work aligns well with MIT’s groundbreaking Framework for Publisher Contracts and we were delighted to combine these efforts to yield agreements that expand MIT authors’ publishing opportunities with PLOS.”

The MIT Framework for Publisher Contracts was developed in October 2019 to guide the MIT Libraries in reaching agreements that meet the needs of Institute scholars, reflect core MIT principles and values, and advance the public good and the progress of science. The Libraries have been using the framework as a foundation for negotiations with publishers since it was released and endorsed by more than 100 libraries and consortia in North America.

For more information about publishing in PLOS journals or other ways the MIT Libraries can support open access publishing, contact scholarlypub@mit.edu. Go here to learn more about author workflows (under “PLOS”) 

Post originally published here on February 10, 2021.