CHORUS: making it easier for you to comply with open access policies

Exploring how the CHORUS system helps with the access, compliance, discovery and preservation of your articles

CHORUS article banner

As a researcher, you are increasingly required to comply with open access policies, either from your institution or your funder. This can be a complex affair and, in many cases, means additional work.

Publishers are keen to help, and do many things to support authors. The most visible form of support is that we have re-engineered our publishing process to ensure authors are offered the choice to publish gold open access with the appropriate user license.

However, this choice is not always easy or possible for authors, so we have other, invisible services helping you too. For example, there is a helping hand in the form of CHORUS which results in a copy of your manuscript being automatically opened at the right time whilst also providing helpful reporting and tracking tools to institutions and funders.

What is CHORUS?

Originally developed as a response to a memo issued by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the CHORUS service leverages existing infrastructure to help with the access, compliance, discovery and preservation of peer-reviewed articles. Elsevier is a founding member of CHORUS and, along with fellow publishers, actively developed and piloted the CHORUS service to provide a low-cost compliance service for open access.

For you as an author, CHORUS reduces the additional time you need to spend trying to comply with open access requirements. It does this by building in simple, automated steps throughout the publication process which ensure that your manuscript is tracked and that your funder is automatically aware of your research article and can track its compliance status.

At Elsevier we support CHORUS for all of our journals. This means we host the manuscript on ScienceDirect, making these publicly accessible automatically after the embargo period expires. In 2017 we made more than 6,000 manuscripts publicly available for authors funded by US partner funding agencies. In addition, Chorus has expanded geographically and is now opening manuscripts in Japan and Australia too.

How does it work?

CHORUS is actually pretty simple and essentially has five parts:

  1. Identification: Your article is more than just a nicely-formatted summary of your research project. It also contains important data which not only helps to identify you as the author, but provides citation and funder information. CHORUS uses a cross-publisher database curated by CrossRef to identify all articles written by authors affiliated with its funder and university partners.
  2. Providing access: After publication, if your article is published open access anyone can automatically access it on ScienceDirect. If it is subscription, then via CHORUS your manuscript will be automatically made publicly available after embargo. Additionally, the service will direct users to the best available version, so if someone is entitled to read your final published article, this is what they will always see.
  3. Showcasing:  It is also important that your article is discoverable and an additional service of CHORUS is to also showcase your research alongside other articles funded by the same agency. The CHORUS search portal is just another way your article is made discoverable.
  4. Preservation: CHORUS also ensures your article is publicly available permanently via preservation partners CLOCKSS and Portico.
  5. Tracking compliance: Your funder and your institution, can also track your research with a real-time data feed on a dedicated dashboard. This makes your life easier in that you shouldn’t be chased to report; this work has already been done for you!

The purpose of CHORUS is to make open access compliance really easy for authors.  All you do is submit your article for publishing in the normal way. Behind the scenes our publishing systems are working hard in all the ways outlined in the following infographic. But don’t worry if it looks complicated… the whole process is invisible to you, and saves you time and tedious administration.

Elsevier Chorus Infographic

How is CHORUS evolving?

CHORUS began life by working with agencies that fund over 50 percent of US federally-funded research. So it no surprise that such a service is of interest to funders located outside of the US and to institutional repositories too. Japan and Australia are now live. Your country could be next!


Written by

Christopher Tancock

Written by

Christopher Tancock

Christopher Tancock is Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier's Editors', Authors' and Reviewers' Updates and works on related communications projects. Based in Oxford, Chris has degrees in European studies and linguistics and  is founder of Pint of Life, a new initiative which delivers free life-saving skills into the local community.

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