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Open access explained

Plan S

What is Plan S?

Plan S is an initiative to move more quickly to full and immediate open access for funded research. It originated from cOAlition S, a coalition of European funders such as UKRI, European Funding Councils and the Wellcome Trust. They brought the Plan S principles into force on 1 January 2021.

The key Plan S principles are:

  • Research outputs are published in open access journals, platforms or repositories
  • Research outputs are immediately available with zero embargo period
  • Authors or research institutions retain their copyright
  • Research outputs are published under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY)
  • Funders will pay open access publishing fees that are commensurate with the publication services delivered
  • Funders will not pay for publishing in subscription or hybrid journals unless there is a transformative agreement to change their business model to full open access. From 2024, Plan S funders will cease funding article processing charges (APCs) for hybrid altogether.
  • Funders will value the intrinsic merit of the work and not consider the publication channel, its impact factor (or other journal metrics), or the publisher when they assess research outputs for funding decisions.

Under the Plan S rights retention strategy you can publish in any journal, hybrid or subscription, and deposit your author accepted manuscript with zero embargo. This is green open access and incurs no charge. You can also select a journal which has a zero embargo policy using the Sherpa Romeo service.

Journals are expected to be transparent about costs and provide detailed descriptions of editorial policies. There must be a system of robust peer review that adheres to the Committee on Publication Ethics guidelines.

Find out more about:

Plan S funders at the University of Leeds

Plan S funders currently funding University of Leeds research:

UKRI’s new open access policy was published in August 2021. Like Plan S the new UKRI policy emphasises immediate open access. It applies to all the UKRI funding bodies and will come into effect on 1 April 2022 for research articles, and on 1 Jan 2024 for long-form publications (monographs, book chapters and edited collections).

Continue to check your funder’s open access policy before submission and to deposit all author accepted manuscripts via Symplectic.

Watch our training video

Watch a recording of a webinar providing an overview of Plan S.