Commercial publishing giant Elsevier is converting 160 subscription-based journals to fully open access models. The move comes as the European open access initiative Plan S enters a crucial new stage.

The Coalition S movement behind Plan S noted that it has registered 160 Elsevier publications as ‘transformative journals’ – committing them to turning fully open access. Transformative journals must increase the proportion of their research articles that are immediately free to read by at least 5% per year. They must also commit to remove subscription fees as soon as 75% of their papers are published open access.

Coaltion S – a group comprising more than 20 major research funders – has stipulated that researchers receiving their support must publish their work in repositories or open access journals that are immediately free to read. While the initiative was first announced in 2018, the terms were fully implemented from 1 January this year.

Elsevier states that of its 2600 journals, more than 500 are already open access.