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Free content

Open access

Open access articles, denoted by an open padlock symbol, may be accessed by anyone free of charge.

Two of our journals, Royal Society Open Science and Open Biology, are fully open access. Some articles in our other journals are also open access.

Each year, during Open Access Week, we make all of our published content free to access.

Authors can elect to publish their article as open access during the submission process. If you are an author, learn more about publishing an open access article.

If you represent an academic institution, you may be interested in our open access membership scheme.

Journal archive

The Royal Society’s Philosophical Transactions, launched in 1665, was the world’s first scientific journal. It established the fundamental principles of scientific priority and peer review.

Most of our oldest content is now freely available, specifically, all papers older than 70 years. In addition, papers published between 10 years ago and either 12 months ago (biological sciences) or 24 months ago (physical sciences) are freely available.

Please refer to the table below for an overview of the freely available content in our journals.

Period Status
1655 - 70 years ago Free
69 - 11 years ago Not free
10 years from current year - 1 (or 2*) years ago

1 (or 2*) years ago and current year

Not free

* 1 year for biological sciences and 2 years for physical sciences

Package subscribers receive free lease access to the full journal archive, while their subscription remains active. If you are interested in purchasing perpetual access to the non-free content in our archive please see our archive purchasing options.

Highlights from the archive include:

Free article types

In addition to articles designated as open access, the following article types are free to access:

  • Editorials (all journals)
  • Reviews (Biology Letters, Interface, Proceedings A and Proceedings B)
  • Introductory articles and prefaces (Philosophical Transactions A and B, Interface Focus)
  • Dedications (Philosophical Transactions A and B)
  • Corrections, retractions and expressions of concern (all journals)

Access to the developing world

In keeping with our role as the UK's national academy of science, we offer free access to readers in the world's poorest nations.

Free trial access

We offer access to our content on a free trial basis. Please complete this form to register for a trial to the journal(s) of your choice.