Helping learned societies transition to Open Access and explore Plan S-compliant business models

New Project | 1 February 2019

Wellcome, in partnership with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), have engaged Information Power to explore a range of potential strategies and business models through which learned societies can transition to Open Access and adapt and thrive under Plan S.

Plan S, developed by the European Commission in partnership with Science Europe, seeks to move to a world where all research findings are made Open Access (OA). 

As the number of researchers covered by Plan S-compliant funding increases it will, in time, put pressure on the business models of many learned societies, which rely on hybrid journal publishing not only to cover their publishing costs, but to generate revenue for other important activities they undertake such as hosting meetings/conferences and awarding fellowships and other grants.

Robert Kiley, Head of Open Research at Wellcome said, “Wellcome and UKRI recognise the value learned societies play in supporting researchers and contributing to a vibrant research ecosystem. We are keen for them to be successful in transition to OA in line with Plan S.  We are delighted to partner with ALPSP to explore – via the team at Information Power – a diverse array of potential strategies and business models through which learned societies can adapt and thrive to this changing landscape.”

The team– including Alicia Wise, Lorraine Estelle, and Hazel Woodward at Information Power plus additional expert Yvonne Campfens – will document and develop a range of transition approaches and business models for Learned Society publishers to consider.  These will be developed in dialogue with Society publishers, libraries and consortia, funders, Society members, and Society publishing partners. Pilots with two Society publishers will bring some of the approaches and models to life.  The final report will be published in July 2019, and all materials will be available under a CC-BY licence.

About Wellcome Trust:

Wellcome exists to improve health by helping great ideas to thrive. We support researchers, we take on big health challenges, we campaign for better science, and we help everyone get involved with science and health research. We are a politically and financially independent foundation.

About UKRI

UK Research and Innovation is a new body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £6 billion, UKRI brings together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England. We work with our many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas.


The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) is an international membership trade body that supports and represents not-for-profit organizations and institutions that publish scholarly and professional content.  With over 300 members in 30 countries, membership also includes those that work with these publishers. Our mission is to connect, inform, develop and represent the international scholarly and professional publishing community.

About Information Power:

Information Power Ltd has provided consultancy services in the research information space since 1985. The team works with funders, libraries, consortia, publishers, agents, vendors, and universities to advance learning, research, and scholarly communication.