The rules on where you can publish are changing: do you know what they are?

29th Mar 2022

From 1st April, new rules come in to force which means that UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) joins other major funders - including SFI and Wellcome - in only allowing publication of research they have funded in journals which are compliant with Plan S.

Whether or not a journal is compliant depends on several factors, including the institution in which you work. However, the main factor is the degree to which a journal is committed to Open Access content. Here are some examples and tools:

Post-publication update (31/3/22): We are aware that since our initial checks of the journals listed were carried out via the Journal Checker Tool on 15 March 2022, the data have been updated that makes more of the journals listed compliant. Please check the tool for the most up-to-date information on a journal's compliance with the new policy. 

Post-publication update (14/4/22): In the original version of this article, we mistakenly included journals which exclusively publish review articles. These have now been removed. Plan S solely applies to primary research pubulications, and therefore reveiw articles fall out of scope. Please see page 8 of the UKRI Open Access Policy.


More information about Plan S and cOAlition S

Plan S is an initiative for Open Access publishing that was launched in September 2018. The plan is supported by cOAlition S, an international consortium of research funding and performing organisations.

The key commitment of Plan S is as follows: “all scholarly publications on the results from research funded by public or private grants provided by national, regional and international research councils and funding bodies, must be published in Open Access Journals, on Open Access Platforms, or made immediately available through Open Access Repositories without embargo.” (see


More information about compliant neuroscience journals

Please use the Journal Checker Tool and undertake your own checks on journals, since the results depend on the specific circumstances of your own research, including your institution and your funder. The information given below is just illustrative.

Having assessed a list of 20 prominent UK and international neuroscience journals with the Journal Checker Tool, here is what we found.  These results have limitations including:

  • If the journal is a transformative journal, or has a transformative agreement, the outcome will depend on circumstances of your individual research
  • Even if your funder is committed to Plan S, each funder can differ with their requirements.
  • Be aware that journals may be non-compliant due to funder requirements, even if the journals offer a transformative journal route or the ability to make individual papers Gold OA.
  • The number of submissions to a specific journal allowed per year may depend on the level of transformative agreement that your institution has with the publisher.
  • This summary table may miss some nuances in terms of ‘how close’ a journal is to being compliant with Plan S (e.g. has CC BY-NC-ND -, but has an embargo period). 
  • This information is solely based on that from Journal Checker tool; it has not been verified by looking at the relevant Journal websites
  • Nor is it an exhaustive list
  • There is some ambiguity, hopefully clarified with funders over next few months, about the role of co-authors, e.g., if the lead/senior/corresponding author does not have same funder/institute and hence restrictions as you.
Table 1: Examples of journals and their compliance status. The information in this table was compiled in March 2022 and may change at any time, e.g. if a journal signs a transformative agreement.
  Route to compliance
  Compliant with Plan S? Open Access Route Transformative Journal Route Transformative Agreement Route Self Archiving Route
Annual Review of Neuroscience No        
Brain Maybe     *  
Brain and Neuroscience Advances Yes *     *
Cell  Maybe   *    
Current Biology Maybe   *   *
eLife Yes *     *
EMBO Journal Maybe   *   *
eNeuro Yes *     *
European Journal of Neuroscience (EJN) Maybe     *  
Journal of Neuroinflammation Yes *     *
Journal of Neuroscience No        
Nature Neuroscience Maybe   *    
Neuron Maybe   *    
Neuroscience No        
Open Biology Yes *     *
PLoS Biology Yes *     *
Progress in Neurobiology No        


Table 2: Example of how compliance varies according to institution. The information in this table was compiled in March 2022 and may change at any time, e.g. if a journal signs a transformative agreement.
  Does this journal have a Transformative Agreement with the institution?
  Brain EJN
University of Bristol yes yes
University of Cambridge yes yes
University of Oxford yes yes
University of Edinburgh yes yes
University of Nottingham yes yes
University of Sussex yes yes
University of Glasgow yes yes
University of Birmingham yes yes
Imperial College London no yes
UCL yes yes
King's College London yes yes
University of St Andrews no yes
University of Manchester no yes
University of Reading yes yes
University of Dundee yes yes
DeepMind no no
Bristol Robotics Laboratory no no
Harvard University no no
John Hopkins University no no


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