Plan S

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Plan S is an initiative for open-access science publishing that was launched by Science Europe on 4 September 2018.[1] It is an initiative of "cOAlition S",[2] a consortium launched by the European Research Council and major national research agencies and funders from twelve European countries. The plan requires scientists and researchers who benefit from state-funded research organisations and institutions to publish their work in open repositories or in journals that are available to all by 2020.[3]

Content of the plan[edit]

The plan is structured around ten principles.[2] The key principle states that by 2020, research funded by public grants must be published in open access journals or platforms. The ten principles are:

  1. authors should retain copyright on their publications, which must be published under an open license such as Creative Commons;
  2. the members of the coalition should establish robust criteria and requirements for compliant open access journals and platforms;
  3. they should also provide incentives for the creation of compliant open access journals and platforms if they do not yet exist;
  4. publication fees should be covered by the funders or universities, not individual researchers;
  5. such publication fees should be standardized and capped;
  6. universities, research organizations, and libraries should align their policies and strategies;
  7. for books and monographs, the timeline may be extended beyond 2020;
  8. open archives and repositories are acknowledged for their importance;
  9. hybrid open-access journals are not compliant with the key principle;
  10. members of the coalition should monitor and sanction compliance.

Members of the coalition[edit]

Organisations in the coalition behind Plan S include:[4]


The plan was met with opposition from a number of publishers of non-open access journals. Springer Nature "urge[d] research funding agencies to align rather than act in small groups in ways that are incompatible with each other, and for policymakers to also take this global view into account", adding that removing publishing options from researchers "fails to take this into account and potentially undermines the whole research publishing system".[8] The AAAS, publisher of the journal Science, argued that Plan S "will not support high-quality peer-review, research publication and dissemination", and that its implementation would "would disrupt scholarly communications, be a disservice to researchers, and impinge academic freedom" and "would also be unsustainable for the Science family of journals".[8][9] Tom Reller of Elsevier said, "if you think that information should be free of charge, go to Wikipedia".[10]

Stephen Curry, a structural biologist and open access advocate at the Imperial College London, called the policy a "significant shift" and "a very powerful declaration".[8] Ralf Schimmer, head of the Scientific Information Provision at the Max Planck Digital Library, told The Scientist that "This will put increased pressure on publishers and on the consciousness of individual researchers that an ecosystem change is possible ... There has been enough nice language and waiting and hoping and saying please. Research communities just aren't willing to tolerate procrastination anymore."[9] Political activist George Monbiot – while acknowledging that the plan was "not perfect" – wrote in The Guardian that the publishers' responses to Plan S was "ballistic", and argued that Elsevier's response regarding Wikipedia "inadvertently remind[ed] us of what happened to the commercial encyclopedias".[11] He went on to argue that, until Plan S in implemented, "The ethical choice is to read the stolen material published by Sci-Hub."[11]

On September 12th, 2018 UBS repeated their "sell" advice on Elsevier (RELX) stocks.[12] Elsevier’s share price fell by 13% between Aug 28 and Sept 19, 2018.[13]

The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is considering to change its OA policy for US publicly funded research, while the Coalition S has received further invitations to visit with officials of South Africa, India, China, and Japan.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Plan S: Accelerating the transition to full and immediate Open Access to scientific publications" (PDF). Science Europe. 4 September 2018. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Science Europe – cOAlition S". Retrieved 2018-09-15.
  3. ^ "European countries demand that publicly funded research should be free to all". The Economist. 15 September 2018. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "National Research Funding Organisations Participating in cOAlition S" (PDF). Science Europe. 2018-10-09. Retrieved 2018-10-10.
  5. ^ "'Plan S' and 'cOAlition S' – Accelerating the transition to full and immediate Open Access to scientific publications - European Commission". European Commission. 2018-09-04. Retrieved 2018-09-15.
  6. ^ "ERC Scientific Council joins new effort to push for full open access". ERC: European Research Council. 2018-09-03. Retrieved 2018-09-15.
  7. ^ Else, Holly (28 September 2018). "Finland joins Europe's bold open-access push". Nature. doi:10.1038/d41586-018-06895-z.
  8. ^ a b c Else, Holly (September 2018). "Radical open-access plan could spell end to journal subscriptions". Nature. 561 (7721): 17–18. doi:10.1038/d41586-018-06178-7. ISSN 0028-0836.
  9. ^ a b Yeager, Ashley (4 September 2018). "Open-Access Plan in Europe Bans Publishing in Paywalled Journals". The Scientist. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  10. ^ Keulemans, Maarten (4 September 2018). "11 EU-landen besluiten: vanaf 2020 moet alle wetenschappelijke literatuur gratis beschikbaar zijn". De Volkskrank (in Dutch). Retrieved 25 September 2018. 'Als je vindt dat informatie gratis moet zijn: ga naar Wikipedia.'
  11. ^ a b Monbiot, George (13 September 2018). "Scientific publishing is a rip-off. We fund the research – it should be free". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  12. ^ Elder, Bryce (12 September 2018). "Stocks to watch: SSE, BAT, Galápagos, RELX, Telefónica, RBS". Financial Times. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  13. ^ Smith, Richard (6–12 October 2018). "Film. The business of academicpublishing: "a catastrophe"". The Lancet. 392 (10152): 1186–1187. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  14. ^ Kramer, David (11 October 2018). "Open access at a crossroads". Physics Today. Retrieved 11 October 2018.

External links[edit]