Open Access: cOAlition S releases revised Plan S implementation guidance

cOAlition S has released revised guidance on the implementation of Plan S, an initiative for Open Access publishing that was launched in September 2018. From 1 January 2021, Plan S requires all scholarly publications resulting from research supported by cOAlition S members to be accessible Open Access.

Since its launch in September 2018, Plan S has reinvigorated the global debate on Open Access to scholarly publications. From November 2018 to February 2019, cOAlition S invited stakeholders to give feedback on its draft implementation guidance. Over 600 responses were received and analysed – the largest ever international consultation conducted on an Open Access policy – and served as basis for the revision of the implementation guidance.

Plan S and Luxembourg

“Luxembourg is well on track toward implementing Plan S. The National Open Access Policy has been in place since 2016, the FNR Open Access Fund was launched in 2018. We are fully committed to continuing the positive transition towards Open Access that has started in Luxembourg, and are proud to be a forerunner in promoting Open Science.

“We are also pleased to see the support Plan S shows for the DORA declaration and the need for scientific output to be assessed on its own merit rather than on the publication venue or journal metrics. The FNR is a signatory of the DORA declaration and we have implemented its principles across our funding schemes, because scientists should be judged on the excellence of their work, not where it is published” – FNR Secretary Marc Schiltz, who in his capacity as President of Science Europe is one of the co-initiators of Plan S.

While the FNR already requires research funded by its programmes to be available Open Access, the implementation of Plan S requires that embargo periods will not be allowed in the future and copyright cannot be transferred to publishers any longer.

For Luxembourgish research, the FNR will continue to require an open license to reuse and derive scientific work (e.g. the CC-BY license), holding the view that the further use of scientific knowledge leads the way to innovation and further excellent research. Thus, the FNR will not relax this requirement in allowing more restrictive copyright licenses, except in very rare cases.

Plan S: Making full and immediate Open Access a reality

Plan S was launched in September 2018. The Plan requires that, with effect from 2021, all scholarly publications on the results from research funded by public or private grants provided by national, regional, and international research councils and funding bodies, must be published in Open Access Journals, on Open Access Platforms, or made immediately available through Open Access Repositories without embargo.

Plan S is supported by cOAlition S, an international consortium of research funders, currently consisting of 16 national funders and three charitable foundations across 15 countries. It is also supported by the European Commission and the European Research Council. The European Commissioner for Research and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, has recently reaffirmed that Plan S will be implemented in the next Research and Innovation Framework Programmme Horizon Europe.

Revised guidance approved by all coalition members

The revised implementation guidance has been approved by all coalition members and is welcomed by the European Commission, including the European Research Council.

Changes include an extension to the formal commencement point for Plan S, which will now take effect from 1 January 2021. This new timetable provides more opportunity for researchers, institutions, publishers, and repositories to make changes and for funders’ policies to develop and take effect. The Plan S principles now also reflect a commitment made by the funders to revise methods of research assessment along the lines of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA).

“This final version of Plan S will accelerate the necessary transition to full and immediate Open Access and allow different stakeholders to start implementation in the most optimal way” explained Prof. John-Arne Røttingen, Chief Executive of the Research Council of Norway (RCN) and co-chair of the cOAlition S implementation task force.

“We are committed to implement what is one of the most significant and ambitious changes to the research system and with the final plan now in place we look forward to more funders, from across the world, supporting the transition to full and immediate Open Access by joining and aligning with cOAlition S” concluded Marc Schiltz.

More information


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