Max Planck Society to support publication charges for PLoS journals.

This is big! A new agreement was signed between Max Planck Society and Public Library of Science in which the MPS will pay publication fees for its researchers. Mark Patterson explains:

The MPS is one of the world’s leading research organizations whose researchers have an international reputation for scientific excellence. We are delighted to be collaborating with the MPS in this way so that more MPS researchers will be encouraged to publish their work in PLoS journals, and to promote open access to research literature more broadly. For papers accepted in PLoS journals after July 1st, 2008, MPS will pay the publication fee directly to PLoS for all articles where the corresponding author is affiliated with a Max Planck Institute.
In 2003 MPS was the co-initiator of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities and ever since then, MPS has demonstrated consistent and strong leadership in the promotion of open access to research results.
With the ever-expanding range of open access options available to authors, we encourage other research funders to set up funds to cover publication fees in open access journals or to include such expenses within their grants and research awards.

The Max Planck Society issued a press release about this as well:

In accordance with its commitment to ensure public availability of its research output, the Max Planck Society (MPS) has reached an agreement with the Public Library of Science (PLoS) for the central funding of publication fees of MPS scientists without burdening the budget of single Max Planck Institutes.
Like many Open Access journals, PLoS journals charge a fee for publication. For papers accepted in PLoS journals after July 1st, 2008, MPS will pay the publication fee directly to PLoS from central funds for all articles where the corresponding author is affiliated with a Max Planck Institute.
“PLoS is a top quality Open Access publisher. We are pleased to support a seminal publication model with this collaboration and thus facilitate publishing for our scientists in this interesting spectrum of titles”, said Ralf Schimmer, head of the Department of Scientific Information Provision of the Max Planck Digital Library.
PLoS is a nonprofit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world’s scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. PLoS applies the Creative Commons Attribution License (CCAL) to all published articles. Under the CCAL, authors retain ownership of the copyright for their article, but allow anyone to download, reuse, reprint, modify, distribute, and/or copy articles in PLoS journals, so long as the original authors and source are cited. No permission is required from the authors or the publishers. Thus, the contents of the seven Open Access journals of PLoS are freely accessible for the reader worldwide via internet.
Collaboration for promoting Open Access
“The Max Planck Society is one of the world’s leading research organizations whose researchers have an international reputation for scientific excellence. We are delighted to be working with MPS so that more MPS researchers will be able to publish their work in PLoS journals, and for the broader promotion of Open Access to research literature”, said Mark Patterson, Director of Publishing at PLoS.
The research institutes of the Max Planck Society perform basic research in the interest of the general public in the natural sciences, life sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. As co-initiator of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (2003) MPS has actively supported change in scientific publishing in accordance with Open Access principles. MPS is advocating the position that research funding should include allocations for making research results freely available.”

3 responses to “Max Planck Society to support publication charges for PLoS journals.

  1. Max Planck Society Pays for Gold OA and Still Fails to Mandate Green OA
    One can only leave it to posterity to judge the wisdom of the Max Planck Society in being prepared to divert “central” funds toward funding the publication of (some) MPS research in (some) Gold OA journals (PLoS) without first mandating Green OA self-archiving for all MPS research output.
    It is not as if MPS does not have an Institutional Repository (IR): It has EDOC, containing 108,933 records (although it is not clear how many of those are peer-reviewed research articles, how many of them are OA, and what percentage of MPS’s current annual research output is deposited and OA).
    But, despite being a long-time friend of OA, MPS has no Green OA self-archiving mandate. I have been told, repeatedly, that “in Germany one cannot mandate self-archiving,” but I do not believe it, not for a moment. This is pure lack of reflection and ingenuity:
    At the very least, Closed Access deposit in EDOC can certainly be mandated for all MPS published research output as a purely administrative requirement, for internal record-keeping and performance-assessment. This is called the “Immediate Deposit, Optional Access” (IDOA) Mandate.
    And then the “email eprint request” Button can be added to EDOC to provide almost-OA to all those deposits that the authors don’t immediately make OA of their own accord (95% of journals already endorse immediate OA in some form).
    Then the MPS can go ahead and spend any spare money it may have to fund publication instead of research.

    This should not be construed as any sort of critique of PLoS, a superb Gold OA publisher, producing superb journals. Nor is it a critique of paying for Gold OA, for those who have the funds.
    It is a critique of paying for Gold OA without first having mandated Green OA.
    (For that is rather like an institution offering to pay for its employees’ medical insurance for car accidents without first having mandated seat-belts; or, more luridly, offering to pay for the treatment of its employees’ secondary-smoke-induced illnesses without first having mandated that the workplace must be smoke-free.)
    Stevan Harnad
    American Scientist Open Access Forum

  2. WOW! This is indeed big! I cite that now in my grant application as justification for applying for open access publication funds.

  3. Stevan, sorry for the delay. We have super-tough spam filters here on Sb which junk everything with more than one link in it.
    Your note is valid and important.