Plan S – The ambitious open access based plan


In today’s blog entry, we will be talking about the Plan S, a new european initiative that was announced on 4 September 2018 by a group of national research funding organisations together with the European Commission and the European Research Council (ERC), known as cOALition S.

At the moment, this plan is supported and accepted by: Austria, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Holland, Norway, Poland, Eslovenia, Sweden, Jordania, Zambia, England and EEUU (Bill Gates Foundation). Also, more than 30 international institutions, supports this initiative.

The Plan S, developed by the previously mentioned cOALition S, was intended to be in force in 2020 but was recently delayed by a year. The reason behind this decision relies upon the opinion that researchers and publishers need more time to adapt to the changes this plan requires:

2020 was considered to be too ambitious by the research community and publishers genuinely wishing to change” says Marc Schiltz, president of Science Europe.

It gives more breathing space to those who have to effect this transition” says Paul Ayris, director of library services at University College London. “But 2021 will still be a challenge.”

Plan S, will be based in 10 principles:

  1. Authors should retain copyright on their publications, which must be published under an open license such as Creative Commons;

  1. The members of the coalition should establish robust criteria and requirements for compliant open access journals and platforms;

  1. They should also provide incentives for the creation of compliant open access journals and platforms if they do not yet exist;

  1. Publication fees should be covered by the funders or universities, not individual researchers;

  1. Such publication fees should be standardized and capped;

  1. The Funders encourage governments, universities, research organisations, libraries, academies, and learned societies to align their strategies, policies, and practices, notably to ensure transparency.

  1. For books and monographs, the timeline may be extended beyond 2021;

  1. Open archives and repositories are acknowledged for their importance;

  1. Hybrid open-access journals are not compliant with the key principle;

  1. Members of the coalition should monitor and sanction non-compliance.

All the scholarly publications that have been funded by national or international, public or private entities, must be published in Open Access Journals or Open Access platforms or be made immediately available through Open Access repositories without embargo.

Based on this new paradigm, it will be necessary for the researchers to search and compare the different Open Access Journals available, as they will be the ones to pay the publishing costs. This is where CountryofPapers will result in a essential tool, as you as a researcher, will have the option to compare through more than 25.000 different journals.