Open Access

Elsevier is moving fast to meet the different demands for Open Access

Open access is an integral part of our commitment to a collaborative, inclusive and transparent world of research where authors, researchers and academic institutions can share knowledge and build on each other's work to advance outcomes.

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We offer a wide range of open access options to fit the diverse needs of institutions, funders, academic societies and researchers around the world. We listen to our customers and collaborate with them to achieve their research goals. We do so without ever compromising on the things they trust us for: quality, rigorous peer review and research integrity.

By testing and learning from our open access pilot agreements with institutions around the world, we continue to evolve the open access options we offer.

Fundamentally our mission — to help researchers and healthcare professionals advance science and improve health outcomes for the benefit of society — means we will always support researchers accessing the knowledge they need, regardless of the model under which it was published.

Fast facts on open access

Open Access collaboration

Acting fast to our fast-growing Open Access

Our fast-growing open access offer

  • We want to ensure that researchers have as many open access publishing options as they do subscription, reflecting our belief in author choice.
  • As one of the fastest-growing open access publishers in the world, nearly all of Elsevier's 2,650 journals now enable open access publishing, including 500 fully open access journals.
  • We commit to the transformative journal criteria. We are piloting transformative journal status for more than 160 journals from across our portfolio. You can see the full list of transformative journals and targets and visit the relevant individual journal home pages for more information.
  • In 2020 Elsevier published 81,000 gold or pay-to-publish OA articles an increase of 65% over 2019, making us one of the largest open access publishers in the world.

Up-to-date information to finding the right solutions

Finding the right solutions for our authors, librarians and institutions

Accessibility to beyond

Beyond OA: Other free access initiatives from Elsevier

View Open Access infographic

Frequently asked questions

Elsevier is one of the fastest-growing Open Access publishers in the world. Nearly all of Elsevier's 2,600 journals now enable Open Access publishing, including 500 journals which are fully Open Access journals.

We recognize that in recent years, a growing number of researchers have chosen to publish Open Access. This shift has challenged every publisher to adapt and respond to new publishing needs, we have done so while ensuring published research remains trusted and high quality.

One of the ways in which Elsevier supports access to research financed through journal subscriptions is through Green Open Access. All Elsevier journals allow authors to use Green Open Access

Elsevier also makes subscription articles completely free to access in specific situations:

  • We offer free access to relevant research for health emergencies, including the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Patients and caregivers are provided with papers related to medicine and healthcare upon request to help them better understand the latest research on their conditions.
  • Through Research4Life, institutions in 120 low- and middle-income countries receive affordable access to nearly 100,400 peer reviewed resources. As founding member, Elsevier provides over a quarter of that content, as well as access to the abstract and citation database Scopus, and trainings for librarians.

NB: Green Open Access is when authors share a public version of their article, for example in their institution or funder’s repository, which would otherwise only be available to paying subscribers.

Open access publishing is supported by the pay-to-publish model, where authors (or others on their behalf) pay an Article Publishing Charge (APC) to enable the article to be made publicly available immediately on publication.

We set APC prices based on the following criteria:

  • Journal quality
  • The journal’s editorial and technical processes
  • Competitive considerations
  • Market conditions
  • Other revenue streams associated with the journal such as advertising

Elsevier’s APC prices are set on a per journal basis. Fees range between c$150 and c$9900 US Dollars, excluding tax, with prices clearly displayed on our APC price list and on journal homepages.

Where articles are not supported by the pay-to-publish model, they are typically supported by subscription fees paid for by readers.

We set journal subscription list prices based on the following criteria:

  • Number of subscription articles
  • Journal quality
  • The journal’s editorial and technical processes
  • Competitive considerations
  • And other revenue streams such as commercial contributions from advertising, reprints and supplements

We are constantly striving to be more transparent in all aspects of what Elsevier does, including pricing. We try to support requests for information within the bounds allowed by financial reporting requirements and competition rules.

For authors:

  • We provide the price of publishing Gold Open Access on each journal homepage and in a central list.
  • We automatically  notify authors who are entitled to free or discounted Gold Open Access, for example where there is an agreement with their institution or funder.
  • We automatically notify authors who are entitled to free or discounted Gold Open Access because they are in a lower- or middle-income country. Our APC waiver policy explains this process.

For librarians:

  • We provide a range of information on our website about our pricing competitiveness; how our pricing corresponds to quality; and publishing model uptake across subscription and open access.
  • We publicly announce significant agreements, including our open access pilots
  • We provide a list of our journal subscription prices
  • We describe the process we follow to calculate list prices
  • We describe the process to ensure we do not double dip . We also show the number of articles that are published Gold Open Access, and the number which are financed through subscriptions, on each journal homepage, to allow librarians to validate this.

We do not double-dip. We can be reimbursed for an article in two ways – through an Article Publishing Charge (APC) or a subscription – but we never charge for the same article twice. We have a strict no double-dipping policy.

As part of our commitment to inclusion and diversity in science, we believe it is critical to support researchers from low and middle-income countries to publish Gold Open Access, if they wish to do so. When publishing in fully Open Access journals, we fully waive all open access charges for authors from 69 countries (Group A) and give a 50% discount for authors from 57 countries (Group B).

For other authors, we offer a choice of journals with open access publishing charges ranging from $150 to $9,900. We will also consider requests for accommodations on a case by case basis for authors who are required to publish open access but do not have the financial means to do so. We also provide high quality subscription publishing venues, so authors always have a choice of how they publish.

We see growth in the number of articles published through both gold open access and the subscription model. Subscription volumes rose by over 7% in 2020 compared to the previous year, for instance. However, we still price competitively, despite the fact that our article volumes in both gold and subscription content continue to grow. Elsevier’s average price change has been the lowest amongst major competitors in the last 13 years due to moderate historical price changes and this strong volume growth. At the same time, we maintain high-quality content.

Subscription fees are based on a range of factors, including volumes, the quality of a journal, journal usage and market and competitive considerations. The number of articles published Gold open access has no bearing on the way we price subscription fees.

Explore more

Open access journals
Find an overview of all open access journals published by Elsevier.

View the list of gold open access journals

Open access books
Find out about our open access book publishing options.

Read more here

Open Archive
Elsevier provides free access to archived material in selected Elsevier journals.

View the list of Elsevier open archive journals

Journal Embargo Finder
Search tool to find the embargo period for your Elsevier journal.

Find journal embargo periods

CHORUS
Elsevier is a founding member and supports the CHORUS service, providing a low-cost compliance service for open access.

Read more here