On January 27, University of Toronto Libraries announced a new agreement with the Public Library of Science (PLOS), an open access publisher with a library of scientific journals. The new agreement expands U of T’s access to 12 PLOS journals and will allow U of T researchers to publish an unlimited number of articles on the journals’ websites without charge. It also provides “[a] 25% discount to non-U of T corresponding authors for papers where U of T researchers are co-authors.”

The topic of accessibility to scientific journals has garnered more attention in passing years, and a study from 2021 showed that the average article processing charge paid by authors has increased. As article processing charges have continued to increase over the past decade and inflated the costs of research as a result, librarians have stepped in to promote open access to academic research to make these services more affordable for students. 

Graeme Slaght, the acting head of the scholarly communications & copyright office for University of Toronto Libraries, further clarified in an email to The Varsity that “one aspect of the ​Public Library of Science deal that is new is that it is NOT a subscription.” 

This means that U of T researchers will not only be able to publish articles without fees, but that their articles will also be accessible for everyone, which is not the case with traditional subscription services. This would also mean that graduate students who would not receive enough funding to publish an article otherwise can now post through PLOS for free.

However, Slaght emphasized that University of Toronto Libraries’ advocacy for research accessibility will not stop here. Slaght wrote that U of T libraries will continue to work with national and international partners to “find opportunities to support Open Access and Open Science.” 

It will also engage the U of T community in dialogues regarding the current scientific landscape and future expectations. University of Toronto Libraries already hosted a panel series last November, which focused on the five aspects of open science — people, transparency, inclusiveness, collaboration, and sustainability.