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What is Open Access?

Open access (OA) refers to the method of making research openly and freely available to anyone who seeks to access and read it. Open access content published by ACS is subject to the same rigorous peer review and high publishing standards as all other research published by the Society.

As a reference, open science refers to the broader movement to make research and its dissemination open and accessible at all stages of the research process to facilitate collaboration and transparency—referring to anything from raw data and lab notes to research processes, preprints, and scholarly published articles. Open access is a mechanism of open science, referring to the idea of making scholarly published content freely available under specific terms or licenses that enable reuse.

How does ACS facilitate open access?

ACS’s open access program—ACS AuthorChoice—helps authors meet the changing requirements of their institutions and funders, while supporting the broader dissemination of science. We offer authors an array of options to publish open access, ensuring they have means to meet these increasing requirements, including those that have adopted Plan S principles.

ACS offers fully open access journals, in which 100% of articles are published under an open access license and are free for all to read.

In addition, all 60+ ACS journals publish open access articles, otherwise known as hybrid journals. In other words, these subscription journals offer authors the ability to publish open access via an article publishing charge (or APC). Here are ways that authors can cover APCs.

The principal ways that ACS facilitates open access:

1. Authors may have their APCs covered by an ACS Read + Publish Agreement.

2. Authors not covered by an ACS Read + Publish Agreement can choose an ACS AuthorChoice option that will facilitate unrestricted web access to the final published article, the Version of Record, for a one-time fixed payment and the use of a Creative Commons public use license. Read below for information about author-driven open access options and exclusive discount programs.

How can I make my article open access?

When you choose to publish an article open access in an ACS journal, you have the flexibility to:

  • Take advantage of discounts for affiliation with subscribing institutions, ACS membership, and residence in certain countries
  • Reduce your cost of open access publication by choosing a 12-month delayed open access option
  • Upgrade to a Creative Commons license (CC-BY public use license for a fee) – note that CC-BY-NC-ND is applied at no extra cost upon receipt
  • Have ACS submit the final published article for deposit in selected national or funder repositories, when required by an approved funding agency
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How will I know if an article is open access?

All ACS open access content includes an “ACS AuthorChoice” label. This content can be accessed openly and freely by anyone, anywhere in the world.