Coalition S for Open Access to Research Publications

Most researchers who wish to publish their work, have to agree to publishers’ stringent conditions that either leave authors with close to no copyright or they set a certain “embargo” period in which their work can only be accessed by publishers’ subscribers who have paid for the subscription. Such access restrictions can have negative effect and can hinder the development of society and technology, which could clearly be seen in the past months, as the world has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Coalition S, an initiative of a group of national research funding organisations, recently responded to this issue and adopted the “Rights Retention Strategy” with which it seeks to achieve universal free access to research work.

In July, Coalition S announced the adoption of the “Rights Retention Strategy”, which seeks to achieve free access to research work. The Strategy’s main feature is to make all research works or author accepted manuscripts (AAM) of such works, which are funded by the Coalition S members, freely accessible to the public. Coalition S plans to achieve this by ensuring that its members will only fund research under the condition that the resulting works (or their AAM) be published under the CC BY license. Coalition S has also already contacted over 150 publishers and encouraged them to amend their publishing conditions so that the works resulting from research can be immediately freely accessible as is described above. Coalition S emphasises that, in any case, the research funding agreement conditions override any possibly contradicting provisions in publishing agreements, which means that the Coalition S funded research works will be freely accessible to the public even if publishers do not agree to such conditions.

Coalition S organisations, such as Slovenian Research Agency, World Health Organisation, and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will implement the Strategy by 1 January 2021. The full list of organisations and their Strategy implementation progress can be accessed here.

The Rights Retention Strategy is an important step to achieving open access to research, which is crucial for technological progress and faster scientific discoveries. This can, in turn, help also in a battle against new and unknown diseases.

You can read more about the Strategy here: