Plan S

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What is Plan S?

Plan S was launched in September 2018 by cOAlition S, a consortium of national research institutions and funders from twelve European countries, with the main goal of accelerating the transition to immediate Open Access. All researchers who have been funded by an organization that supports Plan S since 2021 must immediately make the publications resulting from their Plan S funded research available in Open Access (i.e. without embargo) and under a free license.
Read more about the Plan S principles on the cOAlition S website.

Why has Plan S been launched?

The idea behind Plan S is that you can only make the most of science if research results are made openly available to the community, so that they can be subjected to the scrutiny and control of other scientists, and others can build on previous research as much as possible. The subscription model for scientific publishing, where a significant proportion of publications are behind a paywall, is no longer acceptable and is a fundamental barrier to science and society at large.

Which publication types does Plan S apply to?
All peer-reviewed scientific publications of any type fall under Plan S. However, the guidelines for monographs and book chapters have not yet been specified. 
In addition, cOAlition S encourages disclosure of research data and other research output “as openly as possible and as closed as necessary”.

Who does Plan S apply to?
Plan S applies to all researchers who have been funded since 2021 by an organization that supports Plan S.
It does not yet apply to FWO and ERC, but it does to Horizon Europe.

How can I meet the requirements of Plan S?

At the moment, Plan S only applies to journal articles. If these emanate from research that was funded after January 1, 2021 by a research funder who endorses Plan S, they must be made available immediately (without embargo) in Open Access and under a free license. That can be done in different ways:

  • Consult the Journal Checker Tool, a web-based tool that provides researchers with advice on how to comply with their funder's Plan S-oriented Open Access policy when publishing in their chosen journal. If you cannot find the journal in which you wish to publish via the Journal Checker Tool, choose one of the options listed below.
  • Publish in an Open Access journal or via an Open Access platform that is included in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).
  • Publish in a journal with a subscription model and deposit at least the author's version (or the published version if possible) of your publication in an Open Access repository that is in line with Plan S (such as the UHasselt Document Server), without embargo and with the inclusion of a free license. Because most publishers impose an embargo by default, you can use the rights retention strategy proposed by cOAlition S to overrule this. Specifically, follow the steps below:
  1. Before submitting to your journal of choice, include the following text on the cover page or in the acknowledgments section of your author's version: “This research was funded, in whole or in part, by [Organization Name, Grant #]. A CC BY or equivalent license is applied to [the AAM / the VoR] arising from this submission, in accordance with the grant's open access conditions". AAM refers to the Author Accepted Manuscript, which equates to the author's version of your publication. VoR stands for Version of Record, this is the final published version of your article.
  2. As soon as your article has been accepted for publication, you deposit your author's version in a public repository such as the UHasselt Document Server.

    If your publisher does not agree with the above procedure, please contact your funder.

  • Publish in a hybrid journal covered by a transformative agreement. With the latter, the publisher commits to transform the journal into a fully Open Access journal in the near future.