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 is supported by a funder with immediate OA requirements and you are submitting to a Springer Nature journal that offers a choice of gold OA or subscription publishing then you must select gold OA at the point of acceptance in order to comply. For authors selecting the subscription publication route our standard self-archiving policies will continue to apply, including embargo periods, which are not compatible with Plan S requirements for immediate OA and CC BY licensing. 

UKRI authors: Note that, for a limited time, there is alternative guidance for UKRI-funded corresponding authors submitting to Nature, Nature research journals, and Palgrave Macmillan transformative journals from 1st April until 31st December 2022. For more information, please see the UKRI FAQ below.

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, and authors can submit to our titles with every confidence that they will be able to meet the new UKRI requirements that apply to submissions from April 2022. 

Nature and Palgrave Macmillan hybrid and Transformative journals
In the case that a post April 1st submission is accepted for publication in a Nature or Palgrave journal in 2022, UKRI corresponding authors will have two options to guarantee compliance with the new UKRI open access policy requirements:

  • Immediate gold OA publication, making use of UKRI OA publication funds, where available, to cover the costs of the APC: The published version of record of your article will be immediately openly available to everyone via the journal website under an open licence, enabling greater reach and impact for your research.
  • Publish via the subscription route, and self-archive the accepted manuscript (AM): Upon editorial acceptance, request a UKRI exceptional publishing agreement from the journal, enabling you to permanently deposit the AM in your funder or institutional repositories, for immediate release under a CC BY licence upon publication of the version of record.

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. In recognition of our desire to put in place a transformative agreement with UK institutions, Springer Nature is guaranteeing the above 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. Jisc have approved TJ status for these titles as of July 2022, and as such UKRI-funded authors are eligible to make use of UKRI OA publication funds, where these are available from their institution, to cover the costs of immediate gold OA publication if desired.

Springer hybrid and Transformative journals, and fully OA journals

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 where available.

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.