Plan S

Find out how Plan S aims to accelerate the transition to open access.


About Plan S

Plan S was launched in September 2018 by a coalition of European funders (cOAlition S) and aims to accelerate the transition to open access for the research that they fund.

Members of cOAlition S include the UKRI, Wellcome Trust and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The core principle of Plan S is that all scholarly articles resulting from research funded by the signatories, must be open access immediately on publication.

This may be achieved by publishing in open access journals or on open access platforms, or by sharing a version of the output through an open access repository (such as WRRO) with no embargo.

Publications must usually be made available under the Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC BY)

Rationale for Plan S

Funder open access mandates and policies have accelerated the proportion of openly available research, but hybrid (where an author can pay a fee to make an article in a subscription journal available open access on the journal website), has become the dominant form of open access publishing, particularly in the UK.

The rising cost of APCs has made the hybrid model for open access publishing unsustainable. Hybrid journals also generate greater income by what is known as double dipping. RLUK defines this as where “a publisher seeks an unwarrantable increase in revenues by levying article processing charges (APCs) for publication in a hybrid journal, while not providing a proportionate decrease in subscription costs”.

At present, commercial publishers also routinely ask authors to sign away their copyright whilst imposing embargo periods that restrict access to the scholarly literature.

Plan S aims to direct financial support away from hybrid publishing and ensure that authors retain their copyright. This means that authors retain the right to build upon and republish their own research in the future.

Research funders such as UKRI, the Wellcome Trust, NIHR and the European Research Council have now released open access policies aligned with Plan S.

What you need to do

University of Sheffield researchers should continue to deposit their Author Accepted Manuscripts (AAMs) into White Rose Research Online (WRRO) via myPublications as soon as possible after article acceptance. Our new Research Publications and Copyright Policy (2023) means that you retain rights over your AAM, and can make it available through the repository on publication with a CC BY licence. Please see our guidance on how to comply with this policy as there are extra steps you need to take.

We have an Institutional Open Access Fund for Sheffield authors publishing in fully open access journals, or open access monographs. We also have transitional agreements with many publishers which offer immediate open access for Sheffield-affiliated corresponding authors. 

Researchers funded by UKRI, the Wellcome Trust, NIHR or the European Research Council should consult our funder open access policy guidance

Further information

Please contact if you need any further information.

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