Plan S

Information on developments relating to Plan S, a new initiative for Open Access from participating research funders under cOAlition S.

cOAlition S

The implementation of Plan S is driven by cOAlition S. Launched in September 2018, this group of national funders is co-ordinated by Science Europe and is supported by the European Commission and the European Research Council (ERC) in fulfilling one main principle:

With effect from 2021, all scholarly publications on the results from research funded by public or private grants provided by national, regional and international research councils and funding bodies, must be published in Open Access Journals, on Open Access Platforms, or made immediately available through Open Access Repositories without embargo.

This principle as well as the supporting principles were updated in May 2019 along with revised implementation guidance following consultation. The implementation date has been postponed by one year, to January 2021.

cOAlition S currently comprises 16 national research funding organisations and two charitable foundations, including:

  • UKRI (representing the research councils, including BBSRC, ESRC, EPSRC, MRC and NERC)
  • The Wellcome Trust

cOAlition S website

The 10 principles of Plan S

The main principle of cOAlition S is to be achieved by the implementation of 10 supporting principles (updated May 2019):

  1. Authors or their institutions retain copyright to their publications. All publications must be published under an open license, preferably the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY), in order to fulfil the requirements defined by the Berlin Declaration;
  2. The Funders will develop robust criteria and requirements for the services that high-quality Open Access journals, Open Access platforms, and Open Access repositories must provide;
  3. In cases where high-quality Open Access journals or platforms do not yet exist, the Funders will, in a coordinated way, provide incentives to establish and support them when appropriate; support will also be provided for Open Access infrastructures where necessary;
  4. Where applicable, Open Access publication fees are covered by the Funders or research institutions, not by individual researchers; it is acknowledged that all researchers should be able to publish their work Open Access;
  5. The Funders support the diversity of business models for Open Access journals and platforms. When Open Access publication fees are applied, they must be commensurate with the publication services delivered and the structure of such fees must be transparent to inform the market and funders potential standardisation and capping of payments of fees;
  6. The Funders encourage governments, universities, research organisations, libraries, academies, and learned societies to align their strategies, policies, and practices, notably to ensure transparency.
  7. The above principles shall apply to all types of scholarly publications, but it is understood that the timeline to achieve Open Access for monographs and book chapters will be longer and requires a separate and due process;
  8. The Funders do not support the ‘hybrid’ model of publishing. However, as a transitional pathway towards full Open Access within a clearly defined timeframe, and only as part of transformative arrangements, Funders may contribute to financially supporting such arrangements;
  9. The Funders will monitor compliance and sanction non-compliant beneficiaries/grantees;
  10. The Funders commit that when assessing research outputs during funding decisions they will value the intrinsic merit of the work and not consider the publication channel, its impact factor (or other journal metrics), or the publisher.

10 principles of Plan S from the cOAlition S website

Poster of 10 principles and implementation plan of Plan S from the cOAlition S website

Licensing types explained on the Creative Commons website

The Berlin Declaration

Guidance and consultation

Further guidance on the implementation of Plan S was published on 27 Nov 2018. The guidance was open for public consultation until 08 Feb 2019 (extended from 01 Feb 2019). Further to a series of public meetings, the University has submitted a response to the consulation, available from the Scholarly Communications Plan S pages. 

In response to feedback received during the consultation period, cOAlition S published the updated Plan S principles and implementation plan in May 2019.

University of Edinburgh response to the Plan S consultation

Plan S pages from Scholarly Communications

Plan S principles and implementation plan from the cOAlition S website

Poster of 10 principles and implementation plan of Plan S from the cOAlition S website

Further information

UKRI statement on joining cOAlition S

Wellcome Trust updated Open Access policy in light of Plan S