Skip to main content

Plan S

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.
  • Where applicable, open access publication fees are covered by the funders or research institutions, not by individual researchers
  • The funders will monitor compliance and sanction non-compliant grant beneficiaries 
  • The funders will assess research outputs on the intrinsic merit of the work, not the publication channel

Plan S Compliant Publishing

The exact requirements for researchers are determined in new policies from individual Coalition S funders, such as that of the Wellcome Trust and UKRI.

However, in general authors can comply with Plan S requirements by:

  1. Publishing in a fully open access journal 
  2. Publishing 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 (or other licence if agreed by the funder.)

As some established journals may not 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 requiring organisations in receipt of their funding to do the same.

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.