A few days back we mentioned about the unfortunate experience of Adam Eyre- Walker, a well-respected evolutionary biologist, who was asked to provide bank statements to show that he was indeed poor enough to get PLoS fee waiver.
Thanks to social media storm and Mike Eisen’s efforts, that PLoS policy seemed to have been changed for good (or at least until the next social media storm about Bill Gates trying to get fee waiver at PLoS reverses it). PLoS published the following letter in their webpage and explained that the request to Adam Eyre-Walker was an error.
PLOS would like to clarify the policy by which authors can apply for fee assistance in the form of a partial or full fee waiver. Authors who are unable to obtain financial support from institutional, library, government agencies or research funders to pay for publication are not expected to self-fund these costs. In short, PLOS does not expect authors to fund publication fees through their personal funds.
Based on a misinterpretation of the organizations Publication Fee Assistance (PFA) policy, requests were made or implied for individual financial information from certain PFA applicants. This was done in error. We regret any confusion it may have caused for applicants and any other members of the community. The process for communicating with PFA applicants and the language used on relevant PLOS application forms have now been corrected.
PLOS is committed to ensuring that the availability of research funding is not a barrier to publishing scientific research. Our Global Participation Initiative covers the full cost of publishing for authors from low-income countries, and covers most of the cost for authors from middle-income countries. Our PFA program has always and continues to support those with demonstrated need who are unable to pay all or part of their publication fees.