Final version of Plan S published

31 May 2019

Today, cOAlition S published the revised and final version of Plan S. This plan aims to accelerate the transition to open access of all academic publications. The publication of the revised plan follows an intensive consultation process, with more than 400 responses from over 40 countries. Several changes have been made to the plan, including an extension to the formal commencement point for Plan S which will now take effect from 1 January 2021.

cOAlition S is therefore accommodating institutes, learned societies and publishers by giving them more time to make the transition to full open access. For NWO, this means that Plan S will be applicable to all NWO calls that are published from 1 January 2021 onwards.

The revised Plan S is the result of an intensive consultation process that took place between late November 2018 and February 2019. As part of this process, NWO and ZonMw organised a consultation meeting in late February to gather feedback from the Dutch stakeholders.

Never before has an open access policy been the subject of such broad discussion and input. In addition to support, some also objected to the plan, and there was need for clarification. The new version of the plan accommodates these concerns without changing the plan’s fundamental principles.

Key changes

Plan S still maintains the fundamental principle that no publicly funded research should be locked behind a paywall, but instead should be open access immediately. Full open access not only entails access but also reuse. That is why it will still be mandatory to apply Creative Commons licenses. Coalition S remains critical about the so-called hybrid model of open access and will no longer fund publications in these journals. But the coalition does support the kind of transformative agreements that the VSNU has consistently reached with publishers. The funders reiterate their commitment to compensate the costs related to open access publications so that researchers will not be burdened by that.

To accommodate the concerns and criticisms, a number of changes have also been introduced:

  • The timeline for implementation has been extended by a year. The date of commencement for Plan S has been moved to 1 January 2021. This will give publishers, institutes and learned societies more preparation time.
  • The guidelines for the green route have been clarified: researchers can meet the requirements of Plan S by depositing a peer-reviewed version of an article in an institutional or disciplinary repository. The technical standards for repositories have been revised.
  • More emphasis has been put on the need to change the reward and incentive system simultaneous with the implementation of Plan S. Funders agree to implement the principles of the San Francisco Declaration (DORA) before 2021.

From principles to implementation

NWO’s executive board concludes that the final version of Plan S has made significant progress in accommodating the points of concern that were expressed in the Netherlands. The current version of Plan S is to a large extent in agreement with the open access policy that NWO has already been carrying out since 2015 and can be viewed as a logical next step to that. Moreover, the Netherlands is well prepared for Plan S as a result of the deals that the VSNU has negotiated with a range of publishers. NWO will incorporate the new requirements of Plan S in the new calls that will be published from 1 January 2021 onwards, and will thus apply to all publications resulting from those calls. This timeline will provide sufficient time for the careful implementation of the plan. NWO will continue to consult with stakeholders in the Netherlands. Also NWO believes that the extended timeline for implementation should be used to enable more funders to join Plan S: expanding the coalition remains a key consideration.



Source: NWO