Since the 2002 Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) the OA movement has had many successes, many surprises, and many disappointments. OA initiatives have also often had unintended consequences and the movement has been beset with disagreement, divisiveness, and confusion.
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In that sense, the noise and rancour surrounding Plan S is nothing new, although the discord is perceptibly greater. What seems clear is that Plan S raises challenging questions for those in the Global South.
And even if Plan S fails to win sufficient support to achieve its objectives, ongoing efforts in Europe to trigger a “global flip” to open access, and the way in which open content is likely to be monetised by commercial publishers, both suggest that the South needs to develop its own (alternative) strategy.
I have explored what I see as the issues and discuss a possible strategy in the attached essay here.
A few years ago such kind of OA strategy was proposed by DOAJ to India (they wanted India officially recognize DOAJ as official accredited list of journals in India). India answered "No, thanks" and immediately introduced its own national list of journals. So, DOAJ wanted to take Indian market, but it resulted in opposite effect - introduction of a national list of journals to be independent from outside actors, including DOAJ. In other cases such countries as Malaysia answered to DOAJ "No" and introduced its own list too and recognized SCOPUS and ISI entirely. I expect that Global South will care about its science (OA too) itself without any outside newcomers, like DOAJ and others.
Though the Open Access movement is gaining momentum in Global South, its not the same in all the countries. In India, itself, we are still judging the journals not the articles and the Open Access is just an easy option but not the philosophical option. Not many are for Open Access but are looking at the Publishers and Impact Factors. The scholarly societies are in hurry to join the brands (publishers) to raise their journals' esteem. We have funders policies but there is no compliance. There is no support for open access incentives to the authors. The old tradition of going with print publications is being practiced and there is no much of innovations in publications. Not many are publishing online using the open source software OJS. Free and Open is much confused with Free of Cost. There is little understanding of Open Licensing. At this backdrop here comes the Plan S to India. Should India join Plan S? Its not the right time because it only benefits the big brands and not the societies and open scholarship which should be free to publish and free to read.
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