By developing the “Rights Retention Strategy”, cOAlition S has taken the next step towards the realisation of Plan S. The aim is to make Open Access without embargos possible for all publications.

Many publishers require authors to sign exclusive publishing agreements which restrict what authors can do with their research publications, including making them Open Access in line with their funders’ requirements. To address this problem, cOAlition S has developed a „Rights Retention Strategy“ which will enable researchers to continue to publish in their journal of choice, including subscription journals, and provide Open Access in compliance with Plan S.

As of 2021 CC BY licence without embargo

According to Plan S of cOAlition S, all peer-reviewed research publications arising from FWF projects funded starting from 1 January 2021 must be openly available (Open Access) under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence without an embargo.

Open Access can be achieved by three routes:

  • Publication in an open access journal/platform
  • Publication in a subscription journal which is part of a transformative Open Access agreement or is designated as a transformative journal
  • Publication in a subscription journal where either the final published version ( VOR - Version of Record) or the manuscript accepted by the publisher (AAM - Author Accepted Manuscript) is deposited in a repository by the authors and thus made openly available under a CC BY licence and without any embargo period

“Rights Retention Strategy” for researchers

cOAlition S has developed the “Rights Retention Strategy” to help researchers with the implementation of the third option. By adapting the funding guidelines, researchers should be able, without too much trouble, to make at least the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) openly available in a repository under the Creative Commons Attribution CC BY licence without an embargo.

Over the next few weeks, cOAlition S will be contacting the relevant publishers of research articles and encouraging them to modify their policies accordingly.

Finally, all this information will be collected in the openly available Journal Checker Tool (JCT) by the end of 2020. Researchers can then check if a particular journal complies with Plan S and how they can proceed.

Further information on Plan S and its implementation by the FWF will follow in the coming months.

You can find further information on the “Rights Retention Strategy” at


Katharina Rieck

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