Plan S – the full and immediate Open Access initiative

Last September 2018, an international consortium of research funders – referred to as cOAlition S and that includes the FNR, Luxembourg’s national funder – released the Plan S initiative that aims to make scientific publications fully and immediately Open Access (OA). After a period of consultation from the research community and publishers, the final and revised principles and implementation guidelines were published last week.


Plan S states that:

"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."


As a researcher, if you are fully or partially funded by the FNR or by another funding agency part of cOAlition S (for grants awarded as of January 2021), you will be required to:

  • Publish in an OA venue (OA journal or OA platform); or publish in a subscription journal and make it fully open and immediately available on ORBilu; or publish OA in a subscription journal under a transformative arrangement.

  • Publishing in a ‘hybrid’ (or mirror/sister) journal will not be allowed, except if a transformative arrangement is in place.

  • No embargo periods are allowed (i.e. fully open and immediate access on ORBilu).

  • Retain your author rights by publishing under an open licence, preferably the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY).


We recommend you read the full principles and implementation guidelines about Plan S on


What about Plan S and your research publications?


While the principles set in Plan S are great news for the visibility of your research, some of you might be concerned about where you will be able to publish, how negotiations will undergo with the publishers, whether it might affect negatively your career if you cannot publish in journals with high ‘prestige’, etc. Here are a few answers compiled from the guideline:


  • cOAlition S will support the development of a tool to help identify which journals and platforms are Plan S compliant.

  • Authors will not need to negotiate individually with publishers – funders will ensure this by including the requirements in the funding contracts or agreements.

  • Uploading your work on ORBilu in open access and immediately upon publication will allow you to comply with Plan S (as long as you respect the other principles).

  • To ensure you can publish in OA journals or platforms, funders commit to support OA publication fees (APC) and will require publishers to be transparent about their costs and prices.

  • Research assessment will ignore the prestige of the journals in which work is published – funders support the principles of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), that shift the focus on the intrinsic merits of a work rather than on the publication channel, journal metrics (e.g. impact factor) or the publisher.

  • Monographs and book chapters will also have to comply with Plan S but the timeline will be a separate and longer process than for journal articles (cOAlition S will issue a statement by the end of 2021).


We recommend you read the full principles and implementation guidelines about Plan S on