International Initiatives


Plan S (S for shock) is a Science Europe initiative launched in September 2018 through the cOAlition S, a consortium created by the European Research Council (ERC) and made up of research funding agencies from 12 European countries (Austria, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom), as well as the European Commission itself, the Gates Foundation, and agencies in Jordan and Zambia.

Plan S requires that scientific publications from 2021 that are a result of research financed with public funds should be published in open access journals or platforms and that they comply with its ten principles:

  1. Authors or their institutions must maintain the copyright of their publications, which must be published under an open licence, preferably the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY).

  2. The funding agencies will develop criteria and requirements that open access journals and open access platforms and repositories must fulfill.

  3. When quality open access journals or platforms do not exist, funding agencies will provide incentives to establish and support them. Funding agencies are also committed to providing support to open access infrastructures when necessary.

  4. Open access publication fees will be covered by funding agencies or research institutions, not by individual researchers.

  5. Funding agencies support the diversity of business models for open access journals and platforms. The application of open access publication rates should be transparent and moderated.

  6. Funding agencies will support governments, universities, research organizations, libraries, academies and academic societies so that their strategies, policies and practices are aligned.

  7. The above principles will apply to all types of academic publications, but it is understood that monographs and book chapters will need more time to adapt to the changes required.

  8. Funding agencies will not support the "hybrid" publishing model, although they will accept it temporarily for a limited time and only as part of a transformative agreement.

  9. Funding agencies will supervise the fulfillment of their mandates and will sanction the beneficiaries who do not fulfill them.

  10. Funding agencies must evaluate research results on the merit of the work itself, regardless of other journal metrics such as the impact factor.

 Plan S also has an Implementation Guide and a Technical and Requirements Guide.


Plan A was launched on April 20, 2020 by the Open Scholarship Initiative (OSI), an international coalition that advises the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on its roadmap for open science.

Plan A covers the period 2020 - 2025 and proposes that the global academic communication community cooperates and collaborates in four main categories of action: studies, infrastructure development, creating a common ground of work, and education and outreach.

It also proposes that measures be taken to improve the relevance of open research for researchers and increase the value of open research for society through other actions such as:

  • Opening and centralizing all research related to climate change.
  • Creating relevant information access portals on some health-related topics.
  • Creating research programmes for low-income regions and institutions.
  • Working to improve existing programmes in order to improve participation and engagement of researchers.

More information:

Hampson, G. (2020). OSI Policy Perspective 2: Common ground in the global quest for open research. Open Scholarship Initiative. 



Plan U is an initiative that arose anonymously and spontaneously in response to Plan S and which was officially formalized in June 2019. This Plan suggests that funding agencies should demand that the researchers deposit the research work on preprint servers before publishing the final peer-reviewed version. This would achieve immediate and universal open access to research results, as well as accelerate research thanks to early dissemination of results, and create new opportunities for peer review and evaluation of research.

The main advantage of Plan U over Plan S is based on the fact that it encourages research funding agencies and scientists themselves to regain control over the management of publication processes, currently in the hands of the publishing industry. Thus, costs would be cut thus allowing the construction of public infrastructures for the dissemination of knowledge with effective systems of peer review and research evaluation.

More information:

Sever R, Eisen M, Inglis J (2019) Plan U: Universal access to scientific and medical research via funder preprint mandates. PLoS Biol 17(6): e3000273