Introduction to Open Access

Plan S

Plan S is an initiative for Open Access publishing that was launched in September 2018, and updated in May 2019. The plan is supported by cOAlition S, an international consortium of research funders. Other entities, including the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), support the approach but are not part of the Consortium (see list of consortium members and supporters).

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.

Plan S sets out 10 guiding principles, including for example:

  • the use of open licenses (e.g. CC-BY)
  • a ban on publication in hybrid journals
  • transparency on publication costs
  • possibility for publishers to have a grace period until end of 2014 if they sign transformative agreements
  • revision of the research assessment (no more use of impact factors).

The practical aspects of this plan are described in an implementation guidance that lists 10 development items, two of them related to the infrastructure (repositories...)

Impact for UNIGE researchers

Only persons who have obtained funds from cOAlition S organizations are directly affected by Plan S. Research funded by the SNSF is not currently concerned, except in the case of co-financing or collaboration with European research groups. It should be noted that sanctions for researchers who have not complied with the conditions of Plan S are expected.

Am I concerned?

Members of cOAlition S (as of July 10th 2019)

  • Austria: Austrian Science Fund
  • European Commission: European Research Council
  • Finland: Academy of Finland
  • France: Agence Nationale de la Recherche
  • Ireland: Science Foundation Ireland
  • Italy: Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare
  • Luxembourg: Luxembourger National Research Fund
  • Netherlands: Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research
  • Norway: Research Council of Norway
  • Poland: National Science Centre
  • Slovenia: Slovenian Research Agency
  • Sweden: Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development (Formas)
  • Sweden: Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (Forte)
  • Sweden: Vinnova
  • Jordan: Higher Council for Science and Technology
  • Zambia
  • United Kingdom: United Kingdom Research and Innovation
  • United Kingdom: Wellcome Trust
  • United States: Gates Foundation


In Switzerland, the national Open Access strategy is obviously part of this major paradigm shift, and all publicly funded publications shall be made Open Access not after 2024. Swissuniversities, in charge of the implementation of this strategy, is negociating with major international publishers (Wiley, Springer, Elsevier, etc.) to offer Swiss researchers the necessary conditions to publish their research results.

Impact For archive ouverte UNIGE

Institutional repositories, like Archive ouverte UNIGE, are adequate tools to achieve the immediate Open Access desired by Plan S. Authors are encouraged to deposit their publications, regardless of where they were originally published (subscription journal, OA platform, etc.), in the final version of the manuscript (Author Accepted Manuscript) or in the published version (Version of Record).

Plan S is aiming a high level of services from institutional repositories, and technical adaptations are necessary in the Archive ouverte to meet all requirements (terminology, metadata, licenses...)