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 new submissions to journals 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.

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. 

Which papers are subject to Plan S requirements?

cOAlition S members will be applying Plan S requirements according to different timeframes. At this point in time, only 7 members are applying Plan S requirements to new submissions from January 2021. If you are submitting a research article to a Springer Nature journal from January 1st and it has been supported by one of these funders then we can support you to ensure you can meet Plan S requirements.


Coalition S Organisation (funder)

Launch date for implementing Plan S-aligned OA policy

Application of Plan S principles

Bill&Melinda Gates Foundation

1st January 2020

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

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)

1st January 2021

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

South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)

1st January 2021

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

Templeton World Charity Foundation (TWCF)

1st January 2021

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

Wellcome

1st January 2021

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

World Health Organization (WHO)

1st January 2021

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

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

1st January 2021

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

*Part of WHO

The remaining cOAlition S members are either applying requirements to new submissions from January 2022, or to the outputs of new funding calls or grants awarded from January 2021, meaning that it will 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. 

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 Tranformative Journals, including all seven funders with requirements for new submissions from January. 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.

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.