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Researcher Support Library Services: Open Access Policies for Funded Researchers

Open Access funder policies are changing:  "There is no valid reason to maintain any kind of subscription-based business model for publishing in the digital world"  (Marc Schiltz, Science Europe and instigator of Plan S).  

Plan S is a high level set of principles on the future of open access that funding bodies are gradually incorporating into their revised policies.

Current funder open access policies

 Current funder policies on Open Access and guidance for UoP grant holders:


UKRI     Wellcome     EU     NIHR

The changing future of Open Access Policies: Plan S

 New open access policies: Plan S

banner for Plan S


Plan S is an initiative for Open Access publishing consisting of high level 'principles' that was launched for consultation in September 2018 and takes effect in some funder signatories from January 2021. The plan is supported by cOAlition S, an international consortium of research funding and performing organisations which includes UKRI, the Wellcome Trust, and NIHR, among others.  Each funder has committed to incorporating the principles into their Open Access policies.  This page explains more about the changes coming however contact with any questions.  Your Information Specialist and Open Research colleagues can deliver overviews on Plan S to research groups and committees.

Latest updates:

Read & Publish agreements

One of the exciting new routes to open access that Plan S is helping to facilitate is through transformative agreements (also known as 'Read & Publish agreements').

To find out more about transformative agreements the University of Plymouth is participating in, see below:

Read & Publish agreements

More about Plan S

 More about Plan S

Plan S is an initiative for Open Access publishing consisting of high level 'principles' that was launched for consultation in September 2018. The plan is supported by cOAlition S, an international consortium of research funding and performing organisations which includes UKRI, the Wellcome Trust, and NIHR, among others.  Each funder has committed to incorporating the principles into their Open Access policies.

Plan S is built on a framework of 10 key principles. The key requirement is that from 2021, scientific publications that result from research funded by public grants must be published in compliant Open Access journals or platforms. Other key principles include:

  • Authors or their institutions to retain copyright of their publications, and to publish under an open licence, preferably the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence
  • The funders will not support publication in 'hybrid' journals (journals which charge both publication fees and APCs), unless such journals commit to changing their business model within a clearly defined timeframe (often called 'transformative agreements').
  • When assessing research outputs during funding decisions, funders will value the intrinsic merit of the work and not consider the publication channel, its impact factor (or other journal metrics), or the publisher.

You can find more information in cOAlistion S's list of FAQs concerning Plan S and its implementation.

Plan S Journal Checker Tool

 Plan S Journal Checker Tool

The Journal Checker Tool is a web-based tool created by cOAlition S which provides advice to researchers on how they can comply with their funder’s Plan S-aligned Open Access policy when seeking to publish in their chosen journal.

Researchers can type in the name of their preferred journal, select their institution, choose their funder, and see if that journal enables compliance with their funder’s OA policy, and if so, via which route.

Note: this is a beta version of the tool - please contact with any queries.



Plan S: how to comply

  Complying with Plan S as a funded researcher

Three routes to Plan S compliance: 1. Open journals or Open access platforms. Authors publish in a Plan S compliant journal or on a Plan S compliant platform with a CC-BY license. 2. Deposition of scholarly articles in Open Access repositories. Immediately upon publication, authors deposit the final published version (Version of Record or an Author Accepted Manuscript) in a Plan S compliant repository. The document is made available immediately open access with no embargo under a CC-BY license. 3. Transformative agreements Authors publish Open Access with a CC-BY license in a subscription journal that is covered by a transformative agreement that has a clear and time-specified commitment to a full Open Access transition.

The Plan S implementation guidance, published on November 27th 2018, outlines three routes to Plan S compliance. for researchers funded by cOAlition S groups.

The Wellcome Trust and UKRI have now updated their OA policy to mandate immediate open access in line with Plan S principles. See our guidance on individual funder policies, linked at the top of this page, for more information.

Once mandated, the three routes to complying with Plan S guidelines are as follows:

Publication in any fully Open Access journal or platform is compliant with Plan S guidelines. Funders such as the Wellcome Trust are willing to fund Article Processing Charges (APCs) for such journals as long as they meet certain criteria - see 'Complying with our open occess policy'.

'Hybrid' journals (subscription journals in which only some articles are made open access) are not classed as fully OA journals and are not compliant with new funder OA policies aligned with Plan S unless the hybrid journal meets the criteria for one of the other two routes to compliance listed below.

[You can find out whether a journal is fully Open Access or Hybrid by checking the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), or use the Plan S Journal Checker Tool.]


Publishing in any journal, and making the Version of Record (VoR) or Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) available from in open access repository such as PEARL. To be compliant, this had to be without embargo and under a CC BY licence.

To enable this route, cOAlition S have developed a Rights Retention Strategy to give researchers supported by a cOAlition S organisations the freedom to publish in their journal of choice, including subscription journals, whilst remaining fully compliant with Plan S.. This strategy ensures that researchers who have been funded by a cOAlition S Organisation will be able to honour their funders’ Open Access policy. This is achieved by requiring researchers to give notice to publishers that an Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) arising from their submission carries a CC BY licence, in accordance with their grant conditions.

Funders will supply authors with text to include at the manuscript submission stage in order to apply a CC-BY licence: see for example the Wellcome Trust's guide to complying with their Open Access policy.


A tranformative agreement, also known as a "read and publish" agreement, is a contract negotiated between a specific research institution and a publisher. It is a tranformation of the business model of publication in which Author Processing Charges (APCs) are encompassed within the subscription fees that the research institution pays to the publisher. Over a number of years, this enables the shift from being subscription-based reading to open access publishing.

In practical terms, a transformative agreement between a research institution and a publisher enables any author who is a member of the institution (whether or not their research is funded) to publish Gold open access through the publisher in question. An example of this is the Jisc-Wiley Read and Publish agreement, which offers researchers at participating UK universities open access (OA) publishing in all Wiley journals at no cost to them.

The University of Plymouth will negotiate these transformative agreements with publishers over the coming years. We will update this page as new agreements are added.

For more information on transformative/'read and publish' agreements arranged with the University of Plymouth, please view our guidance on Read & Publish agreements.

Email if you have any queries about Plan S or funder requirements.

Plan S: helpful resources