Plan S

From The Embassy of Good Science

Plan S

What is this about?

Plan S is an initiative for open-access publishing in science. It was set in motion by research organizations from 12 different European countries. The fundamental aim of Plan S is to mandate publicly funded research organizations and institutions to make their work freely available by publishing their manuscripts in open access journals and repositories.

Why is this important?

Plan S is a major scientific publishing initiative. Given the speed of scientific advances and the demand for relevant and quality information, there is an increased demand for quick and universal access to the most up-to-date findings. However, public access to scientific publications is still extremely limited, and is usually reserved for those who subscribe to specific journals or repositories.[1] Many institutions, especially those in the developing world, cannot afford the subscription fees, which have been criticized for being disproportionately expensive.

  1. Watson R, Hayter M. Time to plan for Plan S. Nurs Open. 2019;6(2):206-7.

For whom is this important?

What are the best practices?

The main principle of Plan S states that all research funded from public or private grants must be openly accessible when published. There are, in addition, ten sub-principals:

  1. Authors should have copyright of their publications, which should be made available under a Creative Commons Attribution license;
  2. Robust criteria for evaluation in high-quality open access journals, platforms and repositories should be developed;
  3. Funders should provide incentives to establish and support open access journals where there aren’t any;
  4. Funders should cover the cost of publication fees;
  5. Funders should support the diversity of business models for open access journals and platforms;
  6. Funders should ensure transparency by supporting alignment of strategies, policies and practices;
  7. Monographs and book chapters should have a longer process of achieving open access;
  8. Hybrid models of publishing should be only be a means of transforming to full open access;
  9. Funders should monitor compliance;
  10. Research outputs should be assessed on the basis of their internal value, and not their scientometric characteristics. [1]

In September 2018, 11 national research funding organizations (from Austria, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden and United Kingdom) signed a commitment to implement all that is necessary for the Plan S mission by 1st January 2020.

  1. Principles and Implementation | Plan S [Internet]. 2019 [cited 27 November 2019]. Available from:

Other information