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NWO announces implementation guidelines for Plan S


Plan S – an initiative of European research funders to accelerate the transition to open access – will apply to all new NWO calls published as of 1 January 2021. To give researchers sufficient time to prepare, NWO is already announcing how it will implement the guidelines for Plan S in its grant rules.

Since 2015, NWO already had a policy which requires open acces publication for research it has funded. Today, NWO is announcing how it will implement the new requirements of Plan S. These are summarised in the open access policy framework that will become an integral part of NWO’s grant rules as of January 2021. With this policy framework, NWO is giving effect to the Plan S implementation guidelines as published by cOAlition S on 31 May 2019.

For more information download: Implementation of Plan S [PDF, 121 KB]

Three routes

Publications resulting from calls put out after 1 January 2021 must be available immediately (with no embargo) with an open copyright (CC BY) licence in open access according to one of the following routes:

  • Publications in an open access journal or platform registered in DOAJ
  • Publications in a subscription journal and simultaneous archiving of at least the author version in a registered open access repository
  • Publication in a journal under a VSNU/UKB transformative agreement or in a transformative journal approved by cOAlition S.

The Netherlands well prepared

The Netherlands is well prepared for Plan S. A considerable proportion of the publications resulting from NWO funding fall under the transformative agreements that Dutch universities have made with various publishers. It was recently announced that a similar contract was concluded with Elsevier. Moreover, a sizeable proportion of the Dutch articles are already published in fully open access journals or otherwise shared via the green route. More than 60% of the publications resulting from NWO funding are already open access, according to a recent analysis by CWTS. The implementation of Plan S has been the subject of consultation between NWO and a large number of stakeholders in the Netherlands. NWO remains alert to any potentially negative consequences and will monitor the effects of Plan S annually.


The new policy regulation also contains further specifications regarding open access for books, anthologies and book chapters. These have been part of NWO’s open access policy since 2009. The conditions (and exceptions) have now been clarified. NWO recently opened a new funding instrument to cover open access book publication fees. In that context, NWO announced its collaboration agreement with OAPEN Foundation, which will administer the open access book repository for NWO.

Plan S

The immediate, unfettered access to scholarly publications and the possibility of (re)using them is an essential condition for a well-functioning academic system. Open access ensures greater (digital) dissemination and findability of research results and thus a greater potential impact on science and society. In September 2018, cOAlition S, an international group of research funders including NWO, announced Plan S. The aim is to accelerate the transition to open access. After a large international consultation round, cOAlition S announced the final implementation plan in May 2019. NWO has now incorporated this plan into its own grant rules.

Source: NWO announces implementation guidelines for Plan S | NWO