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Atala hairstreak butterfly © Kenneth Setzer

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 and our primary research journals are transitioning to fully open access.

The journals with Transformational Journal status are:

  OA research articles published in 2020  Total research articles in 2020  % of OA in 2020 Target % of OA for 2021 Target number of OA research articles for 2021 (based on the same Total research articles published as in 2020)
Biology Letters   46  186  25  30  55
Journal of the Royal Society Interface  71  261  27  32  84
Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences  47  321  15  20  63
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences  159  564  28  33  187

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. 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, Australia Research Council). Learn more about publishing an open access article.

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. Holders of Royal Society eligible grants (at the time of submission) receive a full fee waiver on APCs, when they are one of the authors for any article accepted for publication in a Royal Society journal. In some circumstances, Royal Society Open Science and Open Biology offer assistance with APC fees.

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 and history of science) or 24 months ago (physical sciences) from online issue publication are freely available. For Biographical Memoirs all issues are now freely available.

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

Period Status
1665 - 70 years ago Free
69 - 11 years ago Not free
10 years from current year - 1 (or 2*) years ago Free
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.

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.

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