Plan A proposes that beginning in mid-2020 and continuing for a period of five years, the global scholarly communication community cooperate and collaborate on four main categories of action: studies, infrastructure development, common ground work, and education/outreach:


A holistic understanding of the scholarly communication landscape is essential to advancing open access. Misinformation, confusion and lack of clarity around key issues have continually hampered reform efforts over the past 20-plus years. To this end, OSI proposes working collaboratively to support and conduct studies that will find necessary answers to specific questions on issues such as “predatory publishing,” impact factors, licenses, academic culture and the effectiveness of open in different segments of society. OSI has identified 12 studies  that should be undertaken, which are foundational to designing approaches to open-research that are evidence-based.

Infrastructure development

A 21st century scholarly communication community requires a modernized infrastructure: products, services, tools, and websites. These investments will help encourage, achieve, sustain and monitor reforms. Our community should develop these items together, and reasonably quickly, so that reforms can be more easily adopted. OSI has identified seven infrastructure items for development, possibly including an all-scholarship repository; an APC discount/subsidy database; an open index of all scholarly publication; an APC price comparison tool; and an annual “state of open” survey.

Common ground work

Vast common ground exists in the scholarly communication world, alongside differing points of view from diverse stakeholders. As a global community, we have yet to work through our differing perspectives in unison, identifying specific ways we can address the challenges of open access together and devise solutions at scale. OSI conference delegates have engaged in this work, and their ideas and perspectives are summarized in OSI’s Common Ground paper. Plan A proposes to expand upon the common ground developed within OSI over the past five years to a more expansive and diverse global community. Doing so will offer a better chance of developing solutions together, in the proper sequence, and for the right reasons. These solutions will then stand a better chance of being adopted, sustained, and bearing fruit.

Education / outreach

In order to make faster progress on open reforms, the research community needs to be better informed with regard to categories and definitions of “open”; opportunities in open access; impacts of open access; processes; options, and so on. Our community also requires a more responsive system for listening to stakeholder feedback, and adjusting accordingly. We need a clearer and more detailed understanding of exactly what researchers want, what they will use, and what we hope to accomplish with reforms. OSI has identified three key education/outreach programs to pursue, including international meetings where all stakeholders can discuss the outlines of a new global roadmap for open scholarship (both independently and as part of UNESCO’s global roadmap effort); combating predatory publishing through improved awareness and standards; and working together to better understand the needs, goals and concerns of researchers in different disciplines, fields, labs, regions and institutions, and career stages.

In addition to these four main categories of action, Plan A also proposes that, in parallel, we begin to take immediate action to improve the relevance of open research to researchers, and the value of open research to society, by:

  • Opening and centralizing all climate change-related research;
  • Creating zero-embargo compassionate use access portals for patient families and for researchers combating health crises;
  • Creating a more robust Research-4-Life program for lower-resourced regions and institutions; and
  • Considering how to modify current openness programs to improve researcher use and engagement.
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