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Open Access

What is Plan S?

A critical development for the future of Open Access. 

On 4 September 2018, cOAlition S – a group of national research funders, supported by the European Commission and the European Research Council – launched a new Open Access (OA) publishing initiative called Plan S, which came into effect on 1 January 2021. It aims to accelerate the transition towards full and immediate Open Access to research publications by committing to the following:

"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'. 

What are the key points of the Plan?

​​​​​​Plan S is built on a framework of 10 principles, supported by implementation guidance. These documents (revised recently following a public feedback exercise) include the following key points: 

  • Authors or their institutions to retain copyright of their publications.
  • Funders will not support publication in hybrid (or mirror/sister) journals unless such journals commit to changing their business model within a clearly defined timeframe.
  • Plan S principles apply to all scholarly publications and this now includes long form publications such as the scholarly monograph. cOAlition S updated their requirements on the 2nd September 2021. Rather than to decree a uniform policy on OA books, cOAlition S have decided to formulate a set of recommendations regarding academic books – in line with Plan S principles – that all cOAlition S organisations will seek to adopt within their own remits and jurisdictions. 
  • Authors to publish under an open licence, preferably the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence. Please see more under Rights Retention Strategy.
  • Funders may opt to standardise or cap the reimbursement of OA publication fees if the fees charged by publishers are deemed unreasonable.
  • Funding agencies will monitor compliance and sanction non-compliant beneficiaries/grantees. In a worst case scenario, this could result in the agency failing to provide future funding. 

cOAlition S principles also include a commitment to changing the academic reward and incentive system by supporting the principles of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) that research should be assessed on its own merits rather than on the basis of the venue in which the research is published. 

cOAlition S has committed to undertaking 9 priority actions which are ongoing. 

What does Plan S mean for UoD researchers?

UKRI, a founding member of cOAlition S, has reviewed its OA policy to align with Plan S principles.

The University of Derby's Library Research Liaison Team will update this page as Plan S progresses and more details emerge from individual funders.

cOAliton S has stated its intention to review the requirements, effects and impact of Plan S by the end of 2024.

Further help and support

Please read the FAQs on the Plan S website. These will be regularly updated to reflect questions arising from the research and publishing communities. 

If you have any additional questions or comments about Plan S (including how it might affect your research publications), please email or get in contact with Repository and Open Access Librarian, Holly Limbert