Access to Research

Publishing gold open access: what is the difference?

From before submitting to the best fitting journal, to the moment your article is published, we explain the steps to publishing Open Access

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If the journal of your choice is an open access journal, or if you wish to publish open access in a journal offering this option, some requirements differ from those you encounter when publishing in a subscription only titles:

Open Access



Upon publication articles are immediately and freely available to the wide public.

Articles are made available to subscribers as well as developing countries and patient groups through one of Elsevier's access initiatives.

The final version of articles can immediately be posted to an institutional or subject repository, or to the author's own website. These articles need to bear a CrossMark and link back to the final article on Elsevier's site.

A draft version of the article may be posted voluntarily to own websites or institutional repositories. If posting is mandated, then the mandating organization first needs an agreement with Elsevier.


Costs associated with publishing are covered by the Open Access Publication Fee, payable by authors, their institution or their research funder.

Costs associated with publishing are covered by a subscription fee.


Copyright remains in general with the author(s). See our author agreement for details. The author chooses a Creative Commons license which defines permitted reuse. Rights are determined by a copyright transfer, where authors retain scholarly rights to post and use their articles, and contracts with subscribing libraries.

Details on fees and licenses are clearly explained on our website in the Guide for Authors of each individual journal.

When you wish to publish the article open access, check the Open Access Publication Fee and the licensing options. Also check with your funding body or institution regarding possible reimbursement. Once you are up to date and comfortable with the financial and licensing side, you are ready to submit the document. This process is the same as submitting a manuscript to a subscription journal: you login to the Elsevier Editorial System, enter the article info, check your pdf and approve it. The corresponding author will receive the submission ID by email and can thus follow the process.

Please note when you submit your paper to a journal which supports open access publishing: even though you are asked to indicate if you want to publish open access in an early stage, you take the final decision on publishing open access or under subscription on acceptance of the manuscript.
With Elsevier, the process of peer-reviewing and acceptance is the same: we are committed to high quality for both subscription and open access publishing. Different is the open access post-acceptance flow:

  • You will be asked to sign a Creative Commons license of your choice. Elsevier gives authors a choice of Creative Commons user licenses which determine how readers can use your article. We suggest that authors think carefully about which license best suits their research and see the journal's guide for authors for the selection available. Details on different CC licenses on
  • Next step is the Open Access Publishing Fee. This fee is either prepaid according to a funding body agreement or an institutional agreement, or it is paid by the author, who can usually get this reimbursed by the institution or funding body.
  • To qualify for the benefits of your funding body you can identify yourself as being funded by them.

After the corresponding author has approved the proof, the manuscript will become an article. It will

  • get a DOI, issue and page numbers,
  • receive the CrossMark® logo,
  • be immediately free to access and download from ScienceDirect,
  • be clearly labeled as open access and the Creative Commons license information shown on ScienceDirect.
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