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Open Access

What is Plan S?

Formed in Europe in 2018, cOAlition S is an international group of funders committed to making research openly accessible to all.

Plan S is the open access initiative of cOAlition S. Affiliated funders require that any publications resulting from their grants must be open access immediately. For most cOAlition S funders, these requirements came into effect in January 2021.

cOAlition S funders include the World Health Organisation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, the European Commission, and numerous other international organisations. For a full list of funders, see the cOAlition S list of organisations endorsing Plan S.

Plan S prefers that the research is published in fully open access journals. However, other pathways include publishing as open access in hybrid journals, or depositing for immediate green open access in repositories such as DRO (see below). Plan S also requires the use of open licenses and prefers the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. The full 10 principles underpinning Plan S are detailed on the cOAlition S website.

Funder open access policies

Each cOAlition S funder has their own open access policy in broad alignment with Plan S principles.

Note that some funders require Plan S compliance for all publications submitted from 1 January 2021, while others only require compliance for grants awarded from 1 January 2021.

Below are links to some of the publicly available open access policies from major cOAlition S funders:

Pathways to Plan S compliance

Publish in a fully open access journal or platform (preferred)

In an open access journal, all peer-reviewed research articles are immediately available as open access upon publication.

Open access platforms include other avenues for open access publishing peer-reviewed research, including funders' own publication platforms.

Use Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licenses, where possible, over more restrictive open licenses.

cOAlition S funders will cover publication fees (article processing charges).

Publish open access in a hybrid journal that is under a transformative agreement

A transformative agreement means the publisher has committed to transitioning the journal from a subscription model to being fully open access.

Prefer Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licenses, where possible.

cOAlition S funders will only contribute to the cost of publishing in a hybrid journal if a transformative agreement is in place.

Deposit in an open access repository

If you publish in a closed/subscription journal, or in a hybrid journal without a transformative agreement, the article must be made open access in a repository (such as DRO) immediately.

The version deposited must be the published version (version of record) or the accepted version (postprint, or author's accepted manuscript).

This pathway is only compliant with Plan S if there is no embargo period and a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license can be applied to the version uploaded.

Funders will not cover any publication fees incurred.

If you have any questions about this pathway to open access, please contact the DRO team:

Note: very few publishers permit green open access under the terms required by Plan S (no embargo, CC BY license). It is important to check the journal's policies before publishing in a closed/subscription journal



What is not compliant?

Unlike ARC and NHMRC Open Access policies, Plan S requires immediate open access under an open license. In most cases, publishing in traditional closed/subscription journals is not compliant. Publishing in a closed journal, or a hybrid journal, is only compliant if their policy permits immediate open access in a repository under a CC BY license, which is rare.


To check whether a journal is compliant with Plan S funder requirements, use the Journal Checker Tool.

For more information, see Guidance on the Implementation of Plan S on the cOAlition S website.

Further information and resources

Official website of cOAlition S

Plan S - Principles and Implementation

Plan S - Rights Retention Strategy

Journal Checker Tool - for checking journal compliance with Plan S requirements.

Sherpa Romeo - for checking journals' green open access deposit policies.

Sherpa Juliet - for checking research funders' open access policies.

Sherpa Fact - another journal compliance checking tool, using information from Sherpa Romeo and Sherpa Juliet.