PLOS Open Access membership

Kyle Brady
Monday 27 September 2021

With the number of publisher deals growing, we wanted to showcase one particular publisher agreement which may have slipped under the radar – PLOS Community Action Publishing and Flat Fee model.

The publisher agreements we have signed up to broadly come into three main categories:

  1. Read and Publish deals which grant open access publishing on top of read access to journals. These tend to be the larger more traditional subscription based publishers. The idea is that publishers will gradually shift business models to open access and away from subscriptions. For these deals we usually pay an upfront yearly fee for the open access element and this grants  open access to St Andrews corresponding authors with no additional OA fees. Examples include: Springer, Wiley, Taylor and Francis, OUP and CUP.
  2. Prepay deals which aim to streamline the payment process by providing a dashboard to manage Article Processing Charges and usually grant a small discount at the same time. These tend to be used by fully open access publishers who derive revenue solely from APCs. Examples include PeerJ, BioMed Central and MDPI.
  3. Publish deals. Currently only PLOS falls into this category, but others may follow this in future. The publisher charges the institution an upfront yearly fee and this confers unlimited open access publishing to St Andrews corresponding authors.

PLOS Community Action Publishing and Flat Fee model

The Community Action Publishing model covers PLOS Medicine, PLOS Biology, PLOS Sustainability and Transformation, providing St Andrews corresponding authors with unlimited Open Access publishing at no additional cost.

Community Action Publishing is a type of “collective action” business model that can equitably distribute the cost of selective, Open Access publishing among institutions rather than charging high APCs to individual authors” (

The Flat Fee model covers PLOS ONE, PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS Digital Health, PLOS Genetics, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, and PLOS Pathogens. Also included in the FF model are new journals recently launched by PLOS:  PLOS Climate, PLOS Water, and PLOS Global Public Health. Through the Flat Fee model St Andrews corresponding authors can publish open access without having to pay any additional publication fees. This is because the institution has already paid an upfront fee which is based on historical publication trends.

For more information about the PLOS CAP and Flat Fee agreement and how to benefit from the deal visit the OA memberships webpage.

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