The indispensable Richard Poynder, interviewing PLOS CEO Alison Mudditt on PLOS’s “pure publish” deal with the University of California:

Poynder: PLOS has, at least since 2017, said that there is a need to move beyond APCs and that it, therefore, needs to develop other business models. Will not agreements like this serve to perpetuate the APC model rather than move beyond it.

Mudditt: The reality is that many of our consortial partners – especially in Europe – are deeply committed to the APC workflow and want our help to make it more efficient, transparent, and compliant with funder mandates.

In other regions – like the US – many libraries have not managed APC budgets and wish to move to alternative models that don’t restrict their authors and don’t involve micropayments.

At this stage in the OA transition, our goal is to bring flexibility to process and avoid prescriptions where possible.

PLOS in general, and Mudditt in particular, have been progressive voices against the APC, on fundamental fairness grounds. So this seems like a retreat–a reluctant one, but a retreat still.