Plan S

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Plan S is an international open access publishing initiative that was founded in 2018. The consortium of funding agencies, scientific foundations and research organizations supporting Plan S is called cOAlition S. cOAlition S currently includes the European Commission, 21 national funding agencies from Africa, Australia, Europe and Canada and seven international and charitable organizations (Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Templeton World Charity Foundation, World Health Organization, WHO – Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, Wellcome Trust). Slovenia is represented in the cOAlition S by the Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS), and we also fall under the jurisdiction of the European Commission. Many organizations that did not join the initiative share with cOAlition S similar values ​​and demands towards their funding recipients. You can read more about this on our page on open access policies around the world.

In addition to the content of this page, the CTK UL has prepared a more detailed lecture on Plan S, which you can watch in the video below (the video is in Slovenian).

The Values Underlying Plan S

Plan S is based on the belief that science can function properly and efficiently only if all research results are freely available to the scientific community. Only in this way can the scientific community build new knowledge on the basis of existing knowledge and critically examine and reevaluate existing knowledge.

The paywalls of modern scientific publishing prevent a large part of the scientific community and civil society from accessing research results. This not only inhibits scientific development and limits the spread of scientific knowledge in society, but the economic exploitation of access to information is fundamentally inconsistent with the scientific ethos. In the 21st century, such a situation is no longer justified. Publishers should move from subscription and hybrid models to service models that will help the scientific community disseminate its results.

Plan S therefore requires that from 2021 onwards, all scientific publications funded by members of cOAlition S must be published in open access journals, on open access platforms or stored in open access repositories without embargo. Within cOAlition S, this applies regardless of the source of funding, as some members are public agencies and others are private foundations. For funders who joined Plan S after January 2020, the rules take effect within one year of joining.

The 10 Principles of Plan S

  1. Authors or their institutions retain copyright to their publications. According to the Berlin Declaration, all publications must be published under an open license, preferably CC-BY (Creative Commons Attribution). You can read more about Plan S-compliant licenses on our data licensing page.
  2. The funders will develop robust criteria and requirements that high-quality open access journals, open access platforms and open access repositories must meet.
  3. In cases where such journals or platforms do not yet exist, the funders will coordinately create incentives for their establishment and support. Funders will also provide support for the necessary infrastructure for open access.
  4. Where applicable, open access fees will be covered by the funders or institutions, not researchers. All researchers should be able to publish their work in open access.
  5. Funders support the diversity of business models of open access journals and platforms. Open access fees must be commensurate with the publishing service and transparent so that the market and the funders can standardise and, if necessary, set a cap for fee payments.
  6. The funders encourage governments, universities, research organizations, libraries, academies and professional societies to align their strategies, policies and practices for transparency.
  7. The principles listed above apply to all types of scientific publications. However, it is understood that open access for monographs and book chapters will require a dedicated, separate and longer process.
  8. The funders do not support the "hybrid" publishing model. However, this model can be partially financed during the transition period with a clearly defined timeline and only as part of transformative contracts.
  9. The funders will monitor compliance with the rules and sanction non-compliant beneficiaries/grantees.
  10. The funders commit to evaluate the intrinsic value of the research work when deciding on funding. The publication channel, its impact factor (or other journal metrics) or publishers will no longer be evaluated.

How to Ensure Compliance with Plan S?

Compliance with Plan S can be achieved through both the green, gold and diamond and hybrid routes (under transformative contracts). Jeroen Bosman and Bianca Kramer from Utrecht University Library have collected all the possible routes to compliance on their blog, and by May 2019 they had listed nine. These options are clearly shown in the table below (click on the image to enlarge).

Devet poti do skladnosti z Načrtom S / Nine routes towards Plan S compliance

The choice of the publishing route depends mainly on the publisher. You can view the policies of individual publishers on the Sherpa Romeo website and policies of research funders on the Sherpa Juliet website. cOAlition S has also developed an online Journal Checker Tool to make your work easier, where you can check the combination of your funder, research organization and selected scientific journal. You can see how this tool works in the video below.

Last update: 14 October 2022


Open access means immediate free access to the entire content of publications on the World Wide Web and copyright management with open licenses. Open licenses allow users the right to read and save the entire content of publications and determine the conditions for its reproduction, use, distribution and public display. Reuse is in principle permitted in any digital medium and for any responsible purpose.

You can read more about open access on the Open Library website.

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