How to make publications Plan-S compliant

What is Plan S?

Plan S is an initiative of cOAlition S, an international group of research funders including NWO and the European Commission. The aim is to accelerate the transition to open access.

Which funders are involved in the Netherlands?

NWO incorporated Plan S into its own grant rules: All publications that result from calls for proposals published by NWO as of 2021 will have to meet Plan S’s demands for open access. The same rules will apply to ZonMW’s Talent Programmes (Veni, Vidi, and Vici), Rubicon, and Open Competition. ZonMW will soon present the open-access policy for its other programmes.

It is expected that the European Commission (funding programme H2020 and its successor Horizon Europe) including the European Research Council (ERC) will also implement these rules.

What are the new demands for open access?

All peer-reviewed scientific articles, including review papers and conference papers, that are based on research resulting from an NWO call as of 2021 must be available immediately with a CC BY licence or, as an exception, a CC BY-ND licence.

To make a scientific article compliant with Plan S, follow one of these routes:

  1. Publish it in a DOAJ-listed, full open-access journal that meets NWO’s quality requirements;
  2. Publish it open access in a journal under a transformative agreement between the Dutch universities and publishers (currently 11000 journals), or in a transformative journal; or
  3. Publish it in any other journal and simultaneously publish it in an OpenDOAR-registered repository (for UT authors: UT Research Information). The version that is open in the repository is either the accepted author manuscript (after peer review, but without final editing and layout of the publisher) or the final published pdf. The Rights Retention Strategy lets researchers open up NWO-funded publications in such a repository without an embargo, and with a CC BY licence.

COAlition S is developing a Journal Checker Tool that will allow researchers to check if a journal or platform meets the requirements of Plan S. The 200 largest academic publishers were informed about the upcoming Rights Retention Strategy, and asked to communicate their position so the Journal Checker Tool can correctly present open-access options to NWO-funded authors. The Journal Checker Tool will become available in November.

Books, edited collections, and chapters.

NWO’s new rules also contain further specifications for open-access books, edited collections and book chapters. OAPEN Foundation will administer an open-access book repository for NWO. When you publish a book, NWO’s Open Access Book Publication Fund can cover the cost (up to €10.000).

How can I cover the cost of open-access articles?

When you publish open access in a DOAJ-listed open-access journal, you can pay from your grant’s budget, provided that the cost of your open-access publication was already included in your project proposal.

When you publish open access in a journal that is part of a transformative agreement or in a transformative journal, the costs are usually fully covered. Currently, submitting UT authors can publish open access at a 100% discount in almost 10,000 journals under a transformative agreement. To receive the discount, make sure to use your utwente email address when you submit your paper to the journal. For specific requirements, check the UT Journal Browser. It lets you search for scientific journals in your field and select journals with discounts for UT authors. Once the Journal Checker Tool is available, it will soon after be incorporated in the UT Journal Browser.

When you publish open access in any other journal, your research group will have to pay in full. In that case, you will also have to open up your publication in UT Research Information, which is free of charge.

What if I don’t meet the open-access demands?

If, on completion of your project, the publications in your final report are not available in open access through one of the above routes, NWO can withhold 2.5% of your grant’s budget.

I would like some help

Any questions about publishing? Please contact the information specialist of your faculty. For practical information about open-access publishing at the University of Twente, please visit

For questions regarding research funding opportunities, please contact the Grants Advisors of the Grants Office.

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