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 them. 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 hybrid / 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:

  • With support from your institution or research funder through a read and publish agreement;
  • CC BY and CC BY-NC-ND open access options for authors who are not currently covered by an ACS read and publish agreement, including those publishing using grant or personal funds;
  • A zero-embargo green open access option for authors without access to a read and publish agreement or grant / personal funds for gold open access publication, and who are required to make their accepted manuscript available in a repository immediately upon acceptance;
  • Deposition of the version of record in selected national and funder open access repositories after a 12-month embargo period.

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 hybrid / transformative journal Institution or funder repository Subscription or hybrid / 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.

What open access content is available in ACS journals?

Thousands of new original research articles are made available as open access in ACS journals each year. These are published under a Creative Commons BY or CC BY-NC-ND license and are completely free to access and share.

Visit the Open Access Articles page on the ACS Publications website for a full list of open access research published across our full portfolio of journals.

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