Plan S

What is Plan S?

A group of national research funding organisations formed cOAlition S in September 2018, an initiative which aims to make full and immediate open access a reality. Plan S consists of one target and ten principles to meet to enact this aim.

If you are applying to a cOAlition S member organisation, you will need to be aware of the open access conditions for any publications you create.

cOAlition S is made up of national funders, including UKRI, charitable organisations including the Wellcome Trust, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, TDR, ASAP, Howard Hughes Medical Association and Templeton Media, plus the European Commission.

To comply with Plan S, all articles that result from research funded by cOAlition S funders must be published open access without any embargo period by one or more of the following routes:

  • Gold Open Access: Publishing in an OA journal or on an OA platform such as Open Research Europe – cOAlition S funders will pay for publishing in fully gold OA journals but will not pay for ‘hybrid’ OA in subscription journals that are not undergoing a transition to full OA in a timescale approved by cOAlition S.
  • Green Open Access: Publishing in a subscription journal and making either the final published version or author’s accepted manuscript openly available in a repository, such as WIRE, immediately upon publication.
  • Transformative Agreement: Publish open access in a subscription journal under a transformative agreement - cOAlition S funders will pay for OA publishing under transformative agreements. A transformative agreement is where a journal transitions from subscription access to complete open access over a set period of time. University of Wolverhampton takes part in a number of transformative read and publish deals.


  • All publications must be openly available immediately with a CC BY licence or equivalent. (In exceptional cases, it may be possible to use a more restrictive licence if agreed by your funder.)
  • Authors must publish in journals that allow the author to retain their intellectual property rights so that they can share the accepted manuscript or final published version of their article in a repository immediately upon publication. Funder grant agreements will provide advice on how to retain your rights during the publication process, including statements you can include in publishing contracts.

Individual cOAlition S funders will determine the impact and actions required from grantees. So far Wellcome Trust, UKRI and Horizon Europe have announced details of their Plan S compliant policies for journal articles (see below), with other funders to follow by January 2022. You can check if your funder is part of cOAlition S on the cOAlition S website.

Additionally funders will release requirements for open access publishing of monographs and long form publications soon.

Until full details of policies are available, advice is to continue to check funder open access policies before submission to journals or book publishers.

An early version of a Journal Checker Tool has also been made available by cOAlition S to help authors find compliant journals in which to publish. This service is currently a "beta" service and will be developed further as more funder policies are announced. Where authors discover journals that will not allow compliance with Plan S, funders encourage these be reported for inclusion in the Journal Checker Tool.

UKRI open access policy

The policy requires immediate open access for peer-reviewed research articles submitted for publication from 1 April 2022. The accepted manuscript should be placed in a compliant repository under a CC BY licence with no embargo from the publication date, or the article should be published as gold open access. The journal must allow the author to retain all rights in the manuscript.

Monographs, book chapters and edited collections published on or after 1 January 2024 must be free to view and download within 12 months of publication. The accepted manuscript should be placed in a compliant repository, or the publication should be published as gold open access. A CC BY licence is preferred, but other licences will be acceptable. However, if a longform publishing contract is signed prior to this date that prevents the author from conforming with the policy, the author may apply for an exception from the policy.

Where researchers think they will be unable to meet the requirements for publications as outlined above, they can approach their funder for an exemption from the policy, however it should not be assumed that the exemption will be granted. Applications for exemptions will be made through an online form on the funders’ website which should be available soon.

If you are in receipt of UKRI funding, please consult the full open access policy for details of how to meet the requirements. More details will be made available by UKRI.

Wellcome Trust policy

The policy requires immediate open access for peer-reviewed research articles made freely available through PubMed Central (PMC) and Europe PMC by the official final publication date or by gold open access publication under a CC BY licence.

All original scholarly monographs and book chapters authored or co-authored by Wellcome grantholders as part of their grant-funded research, must be made freely available through NCBI Bookshelf PubMed Central (PMC) and Europe PMC as soon as possible and no later than within 6 months of the official final publication date or through gold open access.

Wellcome Trust allow use of grant funding to pay for gold open access journal publishing, except where a hybrid journal is not part of a transitional agreement. Funding is also available for monograph publishing.

See the Wellcome Trust webpages for more information.

Horizon Europe policy

The policy requires immediate open access for peer-reviewed publications (including journal articles and longform publications and formally published theses) either as the version of record or as an accepted manuscript in a machine readable document, in a trusted repository, under a CC BY licence. (Long form publications, such as monographs and edited books, can also be shared under CC BY-NC and CC BY-ND through arrangement with the funder). Also, the details of any results or tools needed to validate the findings must be made available through the repository record, including how to access them, unless legitimate interests or constraints apply.

Trusted repositories include those registered in OpenDOAR, such as WIRE.

N.B. Publishing via gold open access without deposit in a repository will not fulfil the obligations of a grant beneficiary. Deposit in a repository is mandatory.

Horizon Europe will only reimburse costs of publishing in fully open access journals, and provide a compliant open access publishing platform through Open Research Europe.

See the Horizon Europe Open Science webpages for more information.

More information on gold open access, including transitional deals available to University of Wolverhampton authors

If you have any queries regarding how to publish in a way that will meet Plan S requirements, please contact the Scholarly Communications Team.