Enabling open access to knowledge
Advancing open access to serve researchers, science and society.
Open access at Elsevier
Open access is a key part of our commitment to a collaborative, inclusive, and transparent world of research where quality knowledge can be shared and built upon to advance outcomes.
As a global leader in open access, we offer a wide range of options to fit the diverse needs of researchers, institutions, academic societies and funders around the world. We listen to our customers and collaborate with them to achieve their research goals and we do so without compromising on the things they trust us for: quality, rigorous peer review and research integrity.
In the spotlight: Open access stories
Open access is just one element of the way we partner with you to drive open science. Together we can create a more inclusive, collaborative and transparent world of research.
Free access initiatives
From researchers and students using content published in our books and journals on a daily basis to a patient who needs critical information about their treatment, Elsevier has a range of access options to ensure that everyone can access the important information they need.
Frequently asked questions
Elsevier is one of the fastest-growing open access publishers in the world. Nearly all of Elsevier's 2,800 journals now enable open access publishing, including 760+ journals which are fully open access journals.
All Elsevier journals allow authors to use Green Open Access. 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.
Elsevier also makes subscription articles completely free to access in specific situations:
We offer free access to relevant research for health emergencies, as we did during 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(opens in new tab/window), 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.
We strive to offer researchers value for money, and we are committed to pricing our journals competitively with an underlying principle of pricing lower than the market for like-for-like quality.
Open access content and subscription content are priced separately. 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:
The journal’s editorial and technical processes
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$10,100 US Dollars, excluding tax, with prices clearly displayed on our APC price list(opens in new tab/window) 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
The journal’s editorial and technical processes
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.
We provide the price of publishing gold open access on each journal homepage and in a central list(opens in new tab/window)
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 based in a low — or middle-income country — our APC waiver policy explains this process
We provide a range of information(opens in new tab/window) 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 no researcher should be prevented from publishing in their journal of choice because of financial barriers. We support researchers from low- and middle-income countries to publish fold 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(opens in new tab/window)) and give a 50% discount for authors from 57 countries (Group B(opens in new tab/window)).
For other authors, we offer a choice of journals with open access publishing charges ranging from $150 to $10,100. 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.
Finally, we provide high quality subscription publishing options, so authors should never face a cost barrier to publishing in their journal of choice.
We strive to offer researchers real value, and we are continuing our commitment to pricing our journals competitively with an underlying principle of pricing lower than the market for like-for-like quality.
We see growth in the number of articles published through both the gold open access and subscription models. Subscription volumes rose by over 7% in 2020 compared to the previous year, for instance. However, we still price competitively: 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.
Our prices for subscription articles and APCs are set completely separately. Subscription fees are based on a range of factors, as noted above.