China backs bold plan to tear down journal paywalls

Officials pledge support for European-led ‘Plan S’ to make research papers immediately free to read — but it’s unclear whether China will adopt its policies. 

(5 December 2018) In a huge boost to the open-access movement, librarians and funders in China have said that they intend to make results of publicly funded research free to read immediately on publication.

The move, announced at an open-access meeting this week in Berlin, includes a pledge of support for Plan S, a bold initiative launched in September by a group of European funders to ensure that, by 2020, their scientists make papers immediately open.

It is not yet clear when Chinese organizations will begin implementing new policies, or whether they will exactly adopt Plan S’s details, but Robert-Jan Smits, the chief architect of Plan S, says the new stance is a ringing endorsement for his initiative. “This is a crucial step forward for the global open access movement,” he says. “We knew China was reflecting to join us — but that it would join as so soon and unambiguously is an enormous surprise.”

Nature has the news in full.