Plan S fact sheet

Plan S is an initiative for full immediate Open Access publishing. It is supported by cOAlition S, an international consortium of research funders.

From 1st January 2021 a number of funders have Plan S compliant Open Access policies. For example:

The UKRI Open Access policy is Plan S aligned.

For the specific requirements of individual Plan S funders - see our Funders Requirements page.

Plan S Fact Sheet

Use of rights retention statement

Inclusion of a rights retention statement is part of funders’ strategy to allow you to exercise the rights you have on your manuscripts and publish in the journal of your choice whilst meeting their open access requirements. Some institutions have also adopted research publications policies which rely on this approach.

If the publisher accepts your submission with the statement, then under copyright law you have the right to make your Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) available in open access without an embargo under a CC BY licence.

The statement takes legal precedence over later, possibly contradictory, statements the publisher may routinely ask for from authors. Some publishers may later ask you to sign an agreement that includes statements saying you will embargo your AAM.  In this case, if you then later share your AAM without an embargo then technically there is a risk that you are exposed to legal action a publisher could take based on contract law. Since signing then adhering to the contract will bring you into conflict with your funder’s requirements – do not sign such a contract. 

If a publisher asks you to sign a Copyright Transfer Agreement (CTA) or Licence to Publish, you should read it critically to check for terms that may conflict with the open access conditions of your grant agreement (for example, the agreement requires an embargo or doesn’t allow a CC BY licence for your AAM). If needed, you can request amendments be made to the publisher's wording. Alternatively, the publisher may re-route your manuscript to a fully open access journal or in rare cases may strip out the statement or reject the submission.

Therefore, before you submit a manuscript for publication you should consider the journal's/publisher's practices in this area.

Even with prior consideration you many find yourself in these situations – if you wish you can contact to consult on how best to respond.

Transformative arrangements

Plan S supports three transformative strategies:

Transformative agreements

These consist of contractual agreements between publishers and library consortia (e.g. JISC in the UK context) whereby subscription costs are reallocated to support costs of open access publishing. Such agreements are also known as 'Read & Publish' deals.

Under this model subscription costs are to be phased out by the end of 2024 but Universities who are parties to such agreements continue to make payments to support publication costs. Plan S calls for such agreements to comply with ESAC Guidelines.

University of Stirling is a member of a number of Transformative Agreements – see the asterisked Agreements on our Where to Publish page.

Transformative model agreements

These involve smaller publishers, such as society publishers, but otherwise follow similar principles to Transformative Agreements. Libraries continue to pay a subscription charge to the journal/publisher and in exchange authors from their University are able to publish with the journal in a compliant open access fashion without additional payment needing to be made.

Transformative Journals

Where a journal commits to incrementally increasing the proportion of open access articles published year on year, with a corresponding decrease in subscription costs. The journal commits to fully 'flipping' to become an open access journal once 75% of its content is being published open access.

Although Plan S does not require the journal to become fully Open Access by a specific date, Plan S funding for Transformative Journals will cease at the end of 2024. For example: Elsevier has made a number of their titles Transformative Journals.

Additional resources