Open access license policy

We are continuously working with our authors to provide the best range and choice of user license options which define how readers can reuse open access articles published on our platforms such as ScienceDirect.

There are two distinct types of licenses which need to be defined during the open access publication process:

  • Author agreement:
    In order for us to do our job of publishing and disseminating your research article we need publishing rights. For open access articles we use an exclusive licensing agreement in which authors retain copyright in their article. (Read more).
  • User license:
    Users or readers of your article also need to be clear on how they can use the article. Our policy for gold open access articles is detailed below.

For all open access articles, published in either an Elsevier Open Access journal or in one of our established journals which support open access, Elsevier offers a selection of Creative Commons user licenses. The choice is dependent on the journal in which you choose publish. Please refer to the journal's homepage for specific details.

creative commons logoHow to choose a license

It is important to understand what each user license permits and to check if your funding body requires a specific license. Once selected, Creative Commons licenses are non-revocable. For further details about what to consider before selecting a license see the Creative Commons website.

Below is a quick reference guide of the permitted reuse of your article by readers on our platforms such as ScienceDirect under the different user license options available in our proprietary titles:

Current User LicenseSelection Read, print & download Redistribute  or republish the final article (e.g. display in a repository) Text & data mine
Translate the article
Reuse portions or extracts from the article in other works 'Sell ' or re-use for "commercial purposes"
CC BY 4.0Yes 

 Yes 

Yes Yes Yes Yes 
CC BY-NC-ND 4.0Yes Yes Yes 

Yes 

*for private use only and not for distribution
Yes No
CC BY-NC-SA 4.0*Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Elsevier user license Yes NoYes Yes NoNo
*The CC BY NC-SA user license is only available for specific society owned titles that have chosen to make this license available.

Please note: For authors publishing gold open access your Accepted Author Manuscript (AAM) and Preprint will also be governed by the same user license you have chosen for your final published journal article.  For CC BY-NC-ND, CC BY-NC-SA and for the Elsevier user license permitted 3rd party reuse of open access articles is only applicable for non-commercial purposes. For further details on the rights granted to Elsevier see our copyright information.

Open Archive Articles

Elsevier also provides access to archived material through our Open Archives. Articles which are part of an open archive are made freely available from ScienceDirect after an embargo period which begins from the final publication date of the article. For these articles we use an Elsevier user license.

Green Open Access

Elsevier has a Green Open Access policy, which outlines how authors can self-archive their accepted author manuscript (AAM) or preprint on their personal website or institutional repository.


When an institution has an open access policy or mandate that requires authors to post, and an agreement with Elsevier to use journal specific embargo periods which typically range from 12-24 months, then they can also facilitate author self-archiving.