cOAlition S endorses several strategies to encourage subscription publishers to transition to full and immediate Open Access (OA). These approaches are referred to as “Transformative Arrangements” and include Transformative Agreements, Transformative Model Agreements and Transformative Journals.

The criteria outlined below focus on Transformative Journals. This document is an addendum to the Implementation Guidance for Plan S.

Criteria for Transformative Journals


A Transformative Journal is a subscription/hybrid journal that is committed to transitioning to a fully OA journal. In addition, it must:

  • gradually increase the share of OA content and
  • offset subscription income from payments for publishing services (to avoid double payments).

cOAlition S funders may decide to facilitate this transformation financially for those journals which adhere to the criteria outlined below [1].

Specific criteria for Transformative Journals

  • A Transformative Journal will need to demonstrate an annual increase in the proportion of OA research content of at least 5% points in absolute terms, and at least 15% in relative terms, year-on-year[2]
  • A Transformative Journal must clearly and publicly announce on the journal website its commitment to transition to full OA and agree to transition to full Open Access as soon as possible and in any event no later than when 75% of its research content is published Open Access. The publisher must also acknowledge that financial support from cOAlition S funders will end at the latest by 31 December 2024.
  • A Transformative Journal must fulfil the requirements for publication venues detailed in Part III of the Plan S Implementation Guidance and make all the OA content available in accordance with the Plan S requirements.
  • The Transformative Journal must implement transparent pricing for the OA content published under this model[3], and ensure that institutions purchasing a subscription to a Transformative Journal will pay only for remaining subscription content[4].
  • The Transformative Journal must regularly update its authors on the usage, citations, and online attention of their published articles.
  • The publisher of the Transformative Journal must provide an annual public report to cOAlition S, reporting on progress and demonstrating compliance with the requirements for Transformative Journals. The report must provide information on the usage – including downloads, citations, altmetric data – of OA articles compared with the subscription content published in the Transformative Journal. This annual report should also be made accessible on the journals’ public website.

Further information


[1] As stated in the Plan S Implementation Guidance, cOAlition S members may, but are not obliged to, provide funding to support publication fees of journals covered by such arrangements. Where cOAlition S members provide funding to support publication fees of journals covered by such arrangements, this funding will cease on the 31 December 2024.

[2] Growth in OA proportions will be assessed either on a rolling 3-year historic basis or each calendar year. Transformative Journal-status will be lost if the criteria are not met.

[3] Price and Service Transparency Frameworks

[4] See the Royal Society’s model as good example of transparent subscription pricing.