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Open access publishing

We support open access publishing as part of our commitment to the widest possible dissemination of research outputs.

Two of our journals, Royal Society Open Science and Open Biology, are fully open access. Our four research journals, Proceedings AProceedings BBiology Letters and Interfaceare Transformative Journals moving to a fully open access model when 75% of articles are being published open access. We also provide open access options for our other journals. Under this scheme, your article will be published with a Creative Commons licence and be made freely and re-usable and available to all. 

As part of our developing open access journey, we launched Royal Society Read & Publish in January 2021. If you are the corresponding author from an institution signed up to one of our Read & Publish agreements, all open access fees and invoices are automatically covered by your library. To read more about Royal Society Read & Publish, please download our PDF flyer

Benefits of open access publishing

Authors who choose open access publication are likely to benefit from increased dissemination and citation.

We apply exactly the same standards of high-quality, rapid peer review and production to all papers, whether they are available under open access or subscription only.

If you choose open access, for relevant journals we will deposit the article in PubMedCentral on your behalf. You’ll also benefit from a liberal licensing and re-use policy through Creative Commons licence CC-BY 4.0.

Compliance with funder open access policies

Royal Society journals are compliant with all funders open access policies (including cOAlition S, Wellcome Trust, ERC, HHMI, Horizon Europe, UKRI, NSF, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Australia Research Council). For a full list of funders with open access requirements, please visit the SHERPA/JULIET website

Example: Plan S
An article can be compliant in the following ways:

  1. Published in an open access journal
  2. By deposit of the Author Accepted Manuscript in an institutional or subject repository with zero embargo and CC-BY licence
  3. As part of a transformative agreement in the author's country
  4. Published in a Transformative Journal
  • All Royal Society journals (both hybrid open access and fully open access) are compliant by route 2
  • Royal Society Open Science and Open Biology are compliant by route 1
  • Proceedings AProceedings BInterface and Biology Letters are compliant by route 4
  • We have transformative agreements in several countries (route 3), which means that corresponding authors covered by such agreements can publish open access without payment of an article processing charge 
For Plan S funded authors only 

You are required by your funder to make your article open access.  
Please check whether your institution is in a Read & Publish deal with us (list). If so and if you are the corresponding author, your open access charges are already covered by your institution and there is nothing further to pay. 
Otherwise, if you wish to publish in Proceedings A, Proceedings B, Biology Letters or Interface these are Transformative Journals and your funder will pay the APC. If you wish to publish in any other journal, you will need to make your accepted manuscript version immediately available in your institutional repository under a CC-BY licence.   

Article processing charges (APCs)

Submission of an open access article is free, but if it is accepted for publication, the authors are asked to pay a fee to have their article made open access immediately upon publication, unless the corresponding author belongs to an institution signed up to one of our Read & Publish agreements. The charges are:

GBP Pound sterling USD United States dollar EUR Euro
Royal Society Open Science £1200 $1680 €1440
Open Biology £1500 $2100 €1800
Biology Letters £850*  $1190* €1020*
All other journals £1700 $2380 €2040

*We are pleased to announce that for manuscripts submitted to Biology Letters from January to March 2022, the APC for open access publication will be reduced to £850.

Please note that the article will not be published as open access until payment is received. If payment is delayed the article will retrospectively be made open access. VAT may be applicable for these services. The open access fee includes any page charges (up to a journal's maximum, if applicable) and colour.

We are committed to transparent pricing to ensure that, for open access articles, we do not receive both an article processing charge and subscription income.

Waivers

For journals where open access publication is mandatory, we provide a generous waiver policy (see Open Biology and Royal Society Open Science). For journals where open access is only optional, we do not provide this fee waiver, but the content is free to access in lower to middle-income countries

If you are the corresponding author from an institution signed up to one of our Read & Publish agreements, all open access fees and invoices are automatically covered by your library. 

Royal Society research grant-holders* receive a full fee waiver on APCs (and page charges, where relevant) when they are one of the authors for articles accepted for publication in any of the journals. It is necessary to request this waiver option via the online submission system, and the grant should be current/active at the time of initial article submission.

* The following schemes are eligible: University Research Fellows, Dorothy Hodgkin Fellows, Research Professors, Henry Dale Fellows, Industry Fellows, Newton International Fellows (excluding NIFS funded by the BA), Leverhulme Senior Research Fellows, Wolfson Merit award holders, Leverhulme Africa Award holders, 
DFID Africa Award holders and FLAIR Fellowship.

If your institution belongs to one of our Open Access Membership Programmes, you can benefit from discounts of up to 25% on article processing charges.

Retrospective open access

We offer authors the option for an article previously published on a subscription basis to be converted to open access. On payment of the current APC, the article is made available under our open access licence - we will take into account previous page charges for the article and reduce the APC accordingly. If you are interested, please contact the journal where the article was published, quoting the article DOI or title.

Preprints and accepted author manuscripts

Authors may deposit a preprint of their article in a repository at any time.

A final, accepted manuscript version may be posted on their personal or institutional web site and loaded onto an institutional or subject repository ('green open access') once accepted for publication (under a CC-BY licence where funders require it). For more information, please see our licence to publish.

Free content

We provide free access to historical articles to members of the public and free access to current articles to researchers in the developing world.

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