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Open Access : Plan S

What is Plan S?

“With effect from 2021, all scientific 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 compliant Open Access Platforms, or made immediately available through Open Access Repositories without embargo.”

10 Principles of Plan S, (Revised: 31st May 2019)

Announced in September 2018, Plan S is a statement of intentions from an international consortium of research funders (cOAlition S) looking to accelerate the transition to full and immediate open access for research publications. It puts forward a number of fundamental principles for developing Open Access to publications more fully.

Key points to note:

There must be immediate and free access to research publications from the date of publication, without any embargo on access.

Research outputs must be available under an open licence (such as the CC-BY or CC-BY-SA licence). This is possible under the Plan S Rights Retention Strategy.

The hybrid model of open access publication (where an author can opt to pay for a specific article to be open access within an otherwise subscription only journal) will no longer be supported by funding from member organisations, unless that journal is under a transformative agreement.

There must be transparency around the costs of APCs.

To date, the list of funders that support COAlition S includes Science Foundation Ireland, UK Research & Innovation, WHO and Wellcome Trust.

Plan S: How to Comply

Whilst the Ten Principles published focus on publishing in fully open access journals, the implementation guidance published on November 27th 2018 identified three routes by which authors and journals could comply with the requirements:

Publishing in fully open access journals

Publishing in any journal, and making your accepted manuscript available from an open access repository

To be compliant, this had to be without embargo and under a CC BY licence (See Rights Retention)

Publishing in any journal which was covered by a Transformative Open Access agreement (setting out a clear route to how the journal would be fully open access in the future).

Rights Retention Strategy

In July 2020, cOAlition-S members published a Rights Retention Strategy aimed at providing researchers funded by a cOAlition-S funder the freedom to publish in their journal of choice, including subscription journals, whilst remaining fully compliant with Plan S.

cOAlition-S Rights Retention Strategy

Rights Retention Strategy FAQs

Rights Retention Publisher Webinar Presentation (Jul-Sep 2020)

Under this Rights Retention Strategy, cOAlition-S will give notice to publishers about these new grant conditions. Once a funder has adopted the Rights Retention Strategy, authors acknowledging funding will be required as part of their grant conditions, to ensure that upon submission of their manuscript, they have informed the publisher that they were funded by a member of cOAlition-S. cOAlition-S funders will provide templated language which can be used to provide this notification, for example:

“This research was funded in whole or in part by the [Funder name] [Grant number]. For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a CC-BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission”

Why Plan S?

cOAlition S have set out their reasoning for the approach they have taken, which revolves around four key issues:

Barriers to access: "Publication paywalls are withholding a substantial amount of research results from a large fraction of the scientific community and from society as a whole."

Responsibility for appropriate use of public funds: "As major public funders of research in Europe, we have a duty of care for the good functioning of the science system (of which we are part), as well as a fiduciary responsibility for the proper usage of the public funds that we are entrusted with."

Failure to make significant progress in addressing these concerns: "negotiation teams in several countries (e.g. Germany, France, Sweden) are struggling to reach agreements with large publishing houses."

Reduce Complexity: To align and jointly establish criteria, requirements and provision of funding to support the principles of Plan S across all funding bodies, institutions and research organisations.

Journal Checker Tool

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Plan S Journal Checker Tool

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