Open Access

Make your research freely available to readers around the world

What is open access?

Open access is one of the core elements of open science, making research articles openly and freely available to anyone who seeks to access, read, and build upon it. This is typically facilitated by article publishing fees, which in most cases are paid for by an author’s research grant, a research funder, or through an ACS read and publish agreement.

Open access research articles published in ACS journals are subject to the same rigorous peer review and high publishing standards as all our content.

There are two common paths to make your articles available in open access: the ‘gold’ and ‘green’ routes.

How can I publish open access with ACS?

ACS publishes a family of fully open access journals containing 100% free-to-read articles, and more than 60 Transformative Journals which offer authors the choice to publish open access.

We provide multiple ways you can make your research articles available via open access:

Selected articles may also be made free to read for a limited time underneath the ACS Editors’ Choice program.

You can find out more about our open access policies here.

What’s the difference between Gold and Green open access?

Gold open access involves making the final published article (the ‘version of record’) immediately available online, with no charges for readers, upon payment of an article publishing charge (APC).

Green open access involves archiving a version of the manuscript (usually the version prior to any peer review or typesetting) in an institutional or subject repository. This often happens after a set amount of time from when the article is published in a journal (an ‘embargo period’), though ACS also offers an option for immediate self-archiving (‘zero-embargo green open access‘).

Authors who publish a Gold open access article can also choose to archive the version of record in a repository immediately upon publication.

There are other differences between Green and Gold OA:


Gold OA Zero-embargo green OA Green OA with 12-month embargo
Published in: Fully open access or transformative journal Institution or funder repository Subscription or transformative journal
Embargo: None None 12 months after first publication in a journal
Manuscript version: Version of record Accepted manuscript
Creative Commons License: CC BY or CC BY-NC-ND CC BY None required
Publishing Fees: APC paid by the corresponding author, research funder, or institution (often under a read and publish agreement) ADC paid by the corresponding author No fee

How can I make an existing ACS article open access?

Whether you need to meet a funder mandate, or you want to make your previously-published research articles more widely available, ACS gives you the option to apply an open access license to your research article. Find out more.

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