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Plan S

Plan S

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What is Plan S?

Plan S is an open access publishing initiative from cOAlition S, an international consortium of research funders which includes UKRI, the Wellcome Trust and the European Commission. Plan S requires that, from 1st January 2021, publications arising from research funded through grants from cOAlition S members must be published in open access journals, on open access platforms or made immediately available through open access repositories without embargo.

Plan S Principles

Plan S is underpinned by 10 principles. Those likely to be of most significance to authors are summarised below:

  • All publications must be published under an open license, preferably CC BY.
  • Open access publishing in subscription journals will not be funded, except as part of an approved transformative agreement between the university and the publisher.
  • The funders will sanction grant beneficiaries for non-compliance
  • The funders will assess research outputs on the intrinsic merit of the work, not the publication venue, in all funding decisions.

Plan S Compliant Publishing

Assuming that all Plan S principles will apply, the compliant routes to publishing will be:

  1. Publish in a fully open access journal 
  2. Publish in a hybrid journal that participates in an approved transformative agreement
  3. Publish in a subscription-only journal and provide open access via the green route without embargo and with a CC BY licence (unless an exception has been agreed by the funder.)

At present, only the first of these routes would be feasible. However, we would expect this situation to change as publishers respond to the requirements of Plan S. 

The exact requirements for researchers will ultimately be determined by new policies from individual funders, such as that announced by the Wellcome Trust. Please note we will soon release more guidance on the specific requirements of Wellcome Trust implementation of Plan S principles and how this will impact on the Newcastle University research community.

As many established journals would not currently be compliant with Plan S, the funders have committed to revise how they assess research, using the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) as a starting point and will require organisations to do the same.

Plan S at Newcastle University

Plan S policies will not apply until 1st January 2021. Until then, the current funder policies will remain in place. Authors should therefore continue to publish in journals that allow them to comply with current funder policies via the gold or green routes. The university's block grants from UKRI and COAF can still be used to pay open access charges where appopriate, including for papers in hybrid journals.

The university has already begun to participate in transformative agreements with publishers to provide compliant routes to open access. 

Research England confirmed that Plan S will not affect REF 2021 policy. Authors should continue to upload their accepted manuscripts to MyImpact to ensure eligiblity for REF.

This page will be updated as more information becomes available on Plan S and a university-wide communications programme will take place in 2020. If you would like to discuss Plan S and what it means for you, please contact us.

Why is Plan S being introduced?

Plan S seeks to transform what the funders consider an unscientific and unsustainable model of academic publishing into one that provides full and immediate open access to research.

Publication paywalls are withholding a substantial amount of research results from a large fraction of the scientific community and from society as a whole.