Plan S: a significant change to publishing coming your way

April 24th, 2019

A new open access initiative is being rolled out across Europe and beyond called Plan S. The new initiative comes into effect on Wednesday 1 January 2020 and states that:

“By 2020 scientific publications that result from research funded by public grants provided by participating national and European research councils and funding bodies, must be published in compliant Open Access Journals or on compliant Open Access Platforms.”

The initiative is supported by cOAlition S — an international consortium of research funders — and has been endorsed by funding organisations including UKRI, Wellcome Trust and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Although the plan talks about scientific publications, the funders are clear that this will include all research, not just in the sciences.

Plan S is a bid to accelerate transition towards full and immediate open access to research publications and comprises a framework of 10 principles. These include:

  • Authors to retain copyright of their publications and must publish under an open licence
  • ‘Hybrid’ journals (which publish articles accessed both through subscription and open access) will not be considered compliant publication venues for funded research
  • Open access fees will be standardised
  • Plan S will eventually apply to monographs and books but there will be a slower transition towards this
  • Funding agencies will monitor compliance and sanction non-compliance

cOAlition S has further released implementation guidance on Plan S, which is currently being reviewed following feedback. We expect the results of this review to be published in the spring.

The Wellcome Trust have already realigned their open access policy to incorporate Plan S requirements and other funders, including UKRI, are similarly adapting their open access policies to align with Plan S.

If you have any queries over how this may affect your publishing, please contact the Research Support Team at For more information please also see our Plan S webpage, which we will be updating as further information is released.

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