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Plan S, an initiative launched in September 2018 by Science Europe, continues with the target of open access scientific publication initiated by Horizon 2020. The specific aim of the plan is to speed up the open access publication process, in order to ensure all publications funded by public grants are published on open access platforms or journals from 1 January 2021. The plan will be binding for beneficiary researchers.

The plan is structured around ten principles:

  • Authors should retain the copyright of their publications, which should be published under an open access licence such as Creative Commons;
  • Coalition members should establish solid criteria and requirements for open access platforms and journals that meet the requirements;
  • They should also offer incentives to create compatible open access platforms and journals whenever they do not already exist;
  • Publication fees should be paid by funders or universities, not by individual researchers;
  • These publication fees should be standardized and limited;
  • Universities, research organizations and libraries must align their policies and strategies;
  • The deadline may be extended beyond 2020 for books and monographs;
  • Open access archives and repositories should be recognized for their importance;
  • Open access hybrid journals do not meet the key principle;
  • Coalition members must monitor and sanction compliance with this Plan.

Plan S is generating a wave of reactions both for and against: while the scientific community applauds the transition to a new communication system, other sectors such as publishers with a consolidated subscription model, or even scientific societies that support journals in their subject area, are unsure of a disruptive change of model.