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Plan S funders launch tool for checking journal compliance

Funders seek feedback on tool ahead of Plan S implementation in 2021

Coalition S, the group of funders behind the Plan S open-access initiative, has released a tool that enables researchers to check whether an academic journal meets the requirements of the initiative, in an attempt to make it easier for researchers to comply.

From 2021, Coalition S funders will mandate that papers they have supported have to be made openly available immediately via publishing routes that meet certain requirements. The journal checker tool, which is still in beta testing, will indicate whether and how researchers could comply by publishing in a given journal, such as through open publication in the journal itself or by making a version of the paper openly available separately through an institutional platform.

“In this first release, the tool provides information on a basic set of Plan S requirements: whether a given journal offers a route to open-access compliance with a CC-BY (or equivalent) licence and no embargo, and the ability to retain sufficient copyright to enable open access,” Coalition S said on 18 November.

Coalition S is seeking feedback on the tool so that it can be tweaked before researchers have to start complying with Plan S from January. Interim Coalition S coordinator Robert Kiley told Research Professional News that there may be a learning curve but that his team hoped to address any problems identified before the start of the Plan S implementation.

Kiley said the index might not cover “every single journal on the planet” but that it was still “quite extensive” and was intended to be transparent so that researchers could see how it worked. It should make complying with Plan S much easier for researchers, he said: “We’re going to take away all that complexity and give them a single interface.”