Plan S compliance for Springer Nature authors

From January 2021, if your research has been funded by certain members of cOAlition S, you may be required to make sure that your primary research articles are immediately openly accessible on publication under a CC BY licence. 

At Springer Nature, we are enabling our authors to comply with these requirements through gold OA publication and are delighted to offer a gold OA option in all of our research journals, as well as via a number of Transformative Agreements that support authors with funding for OA publishing. Read on to discover whether your paper is affected and how we can support you.

For more general information on complying with funder OA policies, please see our Funding OA FAQs. For information on our open access policies, such as Creative Commons licensing, retrospective open access, self-archiving embargoes, and our accepted manuscript terms of use; see our Springer Nature open access journals policy page.

How can I comply when publishing in a Springer Nature journal?

At Springer Nature, we are enabling our authors to comply with the requirements of Plan S through gold OA publication, which means that the published version of record will be immediately accessible on publication under a CC BY licence.

We are delighted that a gold OA option now exists in all of our research journals and that we have a number of agreements in place to support authors with OA publishing:

  • Fully OA journals: Springer Nature publishes over 600 fully OA journals that publish all research via the immediate gold OA route.
  • Transformative Journals: enabling immediate gold OA options for primary research in over 1,700 titles, including Nature and the Nature research journals.

  • Transformative Agreements: collaborating with funders/institutions to enable centralised funding for OA payments for authors in participating/eligible institutions. The majority of Springer Nature hybrid journals are covered by Transformative Agreements.

We are also pleased that cOAlition S is clear that where immediate open access to the final published version exists as an option then their authors will be encouraged to select that route as it is their preferred option that the version of record is made open access, not least because “it is...the version maintained and curated by the publisher, who has the responsibility to ensure that any corrections or retractions are applied in a timely and consistent way." Gold OA is also needed to deliver the broader transition to open research. If your research article has immediate OA requirements under the applicable Plan S funder policy and you are submitting to a Springer Nature journal that offers a choice of gold OA or subscription publishing then you should select gold OA at the point of acceptance,  in order to comply with Plan S funding requirements. 

Which papers are subject to Plan S requirements?

cOAlition S members are applying Plan S requirements according to different timeframes. At this point in time, ten members are applying these requirements to new submissions and a further three are applying them to all new grants awarded after the 1st of January 2021.


If you are submitting a primary research article to a Springer Nature journal which has been supported by one of the funders below, it may be subject to Plan S requirements, and we can support you to ensure you are able to comply.


Coalition S Organisation (funder)

Launch date for implementing Plan S-aligned OA policy

Application of Plan S principles

Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (ASAP)

1st January 2021

All primary research articles submitted for publication from 1/1/2022

Austrian Science Fund (FWF)

1st January 2021

All new grants awarded after 1/1/2021

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

1st January 2021

All primary research articles submitted for publication from 1/1/2021

FORTE (Sweden)

1st January 2021

All new grants awarded after 1/1/2021

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)

1st January 2022

Primary research articles submitted for publication from 1/1/2022*

National Science Centre, Poland (NCN)

1st January 2021

All new grants awarded after 1/1/2021

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)

1st January 2021

All primary research articles submitted for publication from 1/1/2021

South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)

1st January 2021

All primary research articles submitted for publication from 1/1/2021

Templeton World Charity Foundation (TWCF)

1st January 2021

All primary research articles submitted for publication from 1/1/2021

United Kingdom Research & Innovation (UKRI)

1st April 2022

All primary research articles submitted for publication from 1/4/2022

Wellcome

1st January 2021

All primary research articles submitted for publication from 1/1/2021

World Health Organization (WHO)

1st January 2021

All articles submitted for publication from 1/1/2021

Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases** (TDR)

1st January 2021

All primary research articles submitted for publication from 1/1/2021

*Articles submitted by HHMI lab heads with a major contribution from an HHMI lab, see policy for details

**Part of WHO

The remaining cOAlition S members are either applying requirements to the outputs of new funding calls awarded from January 2021, or the timeframe has not yet been announced, meaning that it may be some time before these grants result in submissions to journals. You can view a full table with timescales on the Plan S website.

How do I fund the APC for gold OA publication?

For articles made immediately accessible via the gold OA route, an article processing charge (APC) is paid to cover the services provided by the journal. It is a core Plan S principle that APCs, where applicable, are paid by funders or research institutions, not individual authors. In many cases, for Springer Nature authors, APCs could be covered by a Transformative or OA Agreement funded by their institution. Sometimes, authors will need to rely on the funder of their research or their institution to provide funds for the relevant APC. 

You can find details below of the publishing routes available that are commonly funded for cOAlition S authors; authors who are UKRI-funded should refer to the FAQ below on UKRI’s OA funding.

Journal Type

APC funding options

Fully OA journals

cOAlition S funders will support APCs for compliant fully OA journals such as those published by Springer Nature. Your institution may also have an OA agreement or membership with us that could cover your APC.

Transformative Journals

The majority of cOAlition S funders will support APCs for Transformative Journals. Your institution may also have a Transformative Agreement with us that could cover your APC.

Hybrid journals

Your institution may have a Transformative Agreement with us that could cover your APC. Unlike Transformative Journals, cOAlition S members will not directly fund individual APCs for hybrid journals that do not have Transformative Journal status*. If you are not covered by a Transformative Agreement, you can check our list to see whether your APC can be supported by your institution or by other research funders that have supported the research.

*As of January 2021, a small number of journals published by Springer Nature have not yet adopted Transformative Journal status, but may do so in future, so authors are advised to check Transformative Journal status immediately before submitting.

How can UKRI authors submitting from 1st April 2022 remain compliant?

Springer Nature shares UKRI and Jisc’s goals of enabling a full transition to immediate OA for primary research. 


UKRI-funded authors submitting to Springer Nature journals within our existing Jisc Springer Compact Transformative Agreement (TA) as well as our fully OA journals can continue to publish in these titles and utilise UKRI OA funds.


For our journals which are currently not part of our TA with Jisc (Nature, Nature research journals, Palgrave journals), discussions are continuing with UK institutions and Jisc,  with the aim of having a TA agreement in place from January 2023. 


We appreciate however that the lack of a formally agreed funding mechanism for these titles from 1st April will be concerning for potential authors and so, in recognition of our desire to put in place a transformative agreement with UK institutions, Springer Nature will guarantee a compliant route to publication for UKRI-funded corresponding authors submitting to these titles from 1st April until 31st December 2022, enabling us to register them as Jisc-approved Transformative Journals. 


Our application for Jisc Transformative Journal status for journals in the Nature or Palgrave portfolio is in progress. In the case that a post April 1st submission is accepted for publication in a Nature or Palgrave journal in 2022 and a UKRI corresponding author wishes to make use of our guarantee of compliance with UKRI requirements, they can contact Springer Nature’s author support team (OAfundingpolicy@springernature.com). Authors can therefore submit to our titles with every confidence that they will be able to meet UKRI requirements.    

Who can I speak to for more information?

If you have any questions about Plan S compliance that aren’t answered here, please contact our OA funding and policy support service for assistance.