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Research Services

We can advise and support you on all these issues. In the unlikely event we are unable to answer your query we will direct you to someone in the University who can.

Plan S - Making full and immediate Open Access a reality

What is Plan S? Launched in September 2018, Plan S is an initiative for Open Access publishing. It calls for all scientific publications produced as a result of research funded by public grants to be published in compliant open access journals or platforms.

What does the S stand for?  According to Robert-Jans Smit who spearheaded the initiative, the S could stand for science, speed, solution or ... shock! Publicly funded research is still (even in an online world) subject to publisher embargo periods and huge subscription costs preventing immediate and fair access to information that has already been paid for by public taxes. Hybrid journals which allow you to publish gold (by paying an APC charge) or green (by delaying a version of the research to be made available after an embargo period enforced by the publisher) only contribute to this issue. Thus the publisher receives money from the APC charge and money through the subscription costs for the journal. 

Who supports Plan S? The plan is supported by cOAlition S an international consortium of a group of national research funders, European and international organisations and charitable foundations.

How does this affect me? If you are funded by Wellcome Trust, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation or European Commission then this will affect you as they are just a few examples of the many organisations that have changed their open access policy based upon their support for Plan S.

What does the plan entail? Plan S has one target and ten principles.

“With effect from 2021, all scholarly publications on the results from research funded by public or private grants provided by national, regional and international research councils and funding bodies, must be published in Open Access Journals, on Open Access Platforms, or made immediately available through Open Access Repositories without embargo.”

When did Plan S come into effect?  January 2021.

Wellcome Trust Open Access Policy

The policy came into effect on 1st January 2021 and was updated to align with cOAlition S. Here's what you need to know if you are funded by them.

Publication Costs

  • Wellcome Trust will continue to support article processing charges (APCs) for open access journals that are indexed by the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and comply with the requirements set out by Coalition S.  
  • Payment of APCs must be taken from the Wellcome Trust Open Access block grant.
  • After 1 January 2021, Wellcome Trust will no longer support open access publication in subscription journals and applicants will not be permitted to include this cost in grant applications.  However, from 1 January 2021 until 31 December 2024, authors will able to publish open access in subscription journals if they are part of an approved transformative open access agreement.
  • Wellcome Trust will no longer pay for non-open access costs, e.g. colour or page charges.

PubMed Central and Europe PMC

  • All research articles must be made freely available in PubMed Central and Europe PMC by the final publication date and must be published under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC BY).  
  • Authors can publish under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerviatives licence (CC BY-ND) with the agreement of Wellcome Trust.
  • For research articles published in journals that are not open access, researchers can meet the requirements by archiving a copy of the author accepted manuscript in PubMed Central and Europe PMC with a CC BY licence and without an embargo.


  • Authors are strongly encouraged to upload preprints (i.e. the non-peer reviewed, submitted version) in an online platform that is indexed in Europe PMC and under a CC BY licence.
  • Where a preprint has a significant benefit to public health, uploading to an online platform is required.


  • All research articles supported by Wellcome Trust must include a statement that explains how others can access any data, software, or materials that underpin the research.

New Conditions on Research Grants

  • Wellcome Trust grants will include a condition that grantholders automatically apply a CC BY licence to all author accepted manuscripts that report original research.
  • Research articles submitted for publication must include an approved statement acknowledging Wellcome Trust funding
  • Authors or their institutions must retain copyright and retain rights necessary to make all research articles immediately available under a CC BY licence.


The following sanctions may be applied for non-compliance:

  • Wellcome Trust will not accept new grant applications.
  • Suspension of funding in extreme cases.

Plan S Journal Checker Tool

Wellcome Trust OA policy: Retention of Intellectual Property (IP) Rights

Wellcome Trust requires all funded authors to retain the necessary IP rights to comply with their OA Policy. There are three publishing routes you can follow in order to comply with the policy:

Route 1
Publish in a fully open access journal or platform under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence. Journal takes responsibility for archiving the version of record in Europe PMC.
Route 2
Publish in a subscription journal that is not part of an approved transformative agreement and you the author take responsibility to make the AAM freely available in Europe PMC under a CC-BY license without embargo.
Route 3
Publish in a journal that is part of an approved transformative agreement and under a CC BY licence. Publisher takes responsibility to make the version of record freely available in Europe PMC at the time of publication under a CC-BY license.


Follow these steps to ensure compliance

  1. Use the Journal Checker Tool to check if your preferred journal enables you to comply with the policy and which route you should take.
  2. Apply a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license to all Author Accepted Manuscripts (AAMs) arising from submissions to peer-reviewed journals that report original research. 


Where an author submits an original research article for review, the AAM must include the following statement:

This research was funded in whole, or in part, by the Wellcome Trust [Grant number]. For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.

Wellcome recommends this statement is included in

  • any cover letter that accompanies the submission
  • in the acknowledgements section of the manuscript

If a funded author permits others to own copyright (e.g. an unfunded co-author), it is the grantholder’s responsibility to ensure that a CC BY licence is applied to an AAM.


Preferred routes?

Although 1 and 3 are the preferred routes to compliance, route 2 will allow funded authors to continue to publish in any journal they wish, as long as the journal accepts that the AAM is made available in Europe PMC under a CC BY licence and without an embargo.

If a subscription journal refuses to accept a submission that makes clear that the AAM will be licensed under a CC BY licence, Wellcome advises grantholders to reconsider where they publish their research. Wellcome asks authors to contact them with the journal details, which will allow the Journal Checker Tool to be updated.


Exception to the CC BY licence requirement

Wellcome funded authors can request an exception to the route 2 requirement of a CC BY licence and ask for individual articles to be published under a Creative Commons No-Derivatives licence (CC BY-ND).

To apply this exception, funded authors must submit a CC BY-ND exception form. The request must be approved by Wellcome in advance of submission. If agreed, the submitted manuscript must include the following statement, which should also be included in any accompanying cover letter.

This research was funded in whole, or in part, by the Wellcome Trust [Grant number]. For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a CC BY-ND public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.


The San Francisco's Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) recognizes the need to improve the ways in which researchers and the outputs of scholarly research are evaluated.

The University of Dundee is committed to DORA and has signed the declaration.