Spotlight on Open Access

5 surprising facts you may not know about Elsevier and open access

You may be surprised to learn that Elsevier not only publishes open access, but that we are a leading open access publisher.

Here we shine a light on the 5 things you may not have known about Elsevier and open access (OA).


Too busy to read? Then download the infographic version below:

Infographic: 5 surprising facts about Elsevier and open access

Fact 1: Elsevier Publishes Open Access

We are one of the leading open access publishers. We published over 34,000 open access articles in 2018, a 26% increase on 2017, and we are making thousands more available through green open access.

Our open access options include:

Gold open access:

After publication, the final article is published open access on ScienceDirect and is immediately free to access for everyone. Authors can choose to publish their article with either a commercial (CC BY) or noncommercial (CC BY NC ND) user license.

We publish:

Green Open access:

After publication, a draft version of an article can be made publicly available after a time delay (also known as an embargo period). No fee is required to be paid by authors, as green open access is supported by the subscription model.  Author manuscripts should display a CC BY NC ND user license.

  • All our journals provide an option for authors to self-archive
  • 118 journals feature an open archive
  • We support CHORUS partners with open manuscripts

Uptake of open access across the industry

In 2018 there were an estimated 2.1 million subscription and 0.5 million open access articles published worldwide.

Over the same year, open access represented an estimated 20% of the total amount of articles produced.

At Elsevier, we published 470,000 articles in 2018, 34,000 of which were open access.

Fact 2:
Our APC prices are value for money

Elsevier’s article publishing charges (APCs) are comparable with other publishers.

We publish the best quality open access articles (based on field-weighted citation impact) for both open access and hybrid titles, while our APCs remain at or below industry average.

Our APC price list is publicly available and downloadable here.

At Elsevier we do not charge subscribers for open access publications and only take into account subscription content when pricing subscription titles.

Chart: APC price list vs field-weighted citation impact


Chart key: APC price list vs field-weighted citation impact

Fact 3:
We are making it easier to find and use OA content

Articles on ScienceDirect are tagged with "Open Access" and you can search, browse and set up alerts for open access journals.

You can also search for open access articles within hybrid titles using the "contains open access" filter.

All open access articles on ScienceDirect are also clearly labelled with a user license to help users understand how the article can be reused.

Scopus indexes over 3,700 open access journals from more than 5,000 publishers.

It is now possible to search for open access on an article level within Scopus.

Search OA articles

Fact 4: Elsevier supports green open access

Researchers are increasingly required by funders to make their research open access.

Across the world different funders require their funded researchers to do this in a variety of different ways, in the majority of cases policies favour green open access:

There is a clear focus on green open access worldwide

Map:Green and Gold access worldwide

Quick links to policies

Elsevier is helping to make compliance easier for researchers - we have established a number of agreements with funding bodies and we also support CHORUS for a number of CHORUS partners.

We also recognize that a number of open access policies are focused on green open access - to help support this we:

Fact 5: We encourage authors to share their data

Elsevier is enabling researchers to store, share, discover and reuse data. We have:

  • 55,000 users each month utilizing open data tools which include Mendeley Data and Hivebench
  • 1.6 million links from published articles to datasets stored in 65 external data repositories
  • 10.4 million datasets from over 30 repositories indexed and findable on Mendeley Data
  • Help researchers to digitalize their data on Hivebench with 10,000 complete electronic notebooks created with 25,000 experiments recorded.

Although the benefits of open research data are well known, in practice, confusion remains within the researcher community around when and how to share research data. A new report from Elsevier and CWTS reveals more about the challenges of open data.

View open data report