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ACS Expands Open Access

Publishing: New open-access journal, more licensing options for authors in 2014

by Britt E. Erickson
November 1, 2013 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 91, Issue 44

ACS’s New Open-Access Initiatives

ACS Central ScienceACS’s first pure open-access, peer-reviewed journal will be launched in 2014.

ACS Editors’ Choice—One article published in a subscription-based ACS journal will be made openly accessible every day beginning on Jan. 1, 2014.

ACS Author Rewards—Corresponding authors of articles published in ACS journals in 2014 will get a $1,500 credit per article, which can be used to pay for open-access fees starting in 2015 and until 2017.

ACS AuthorChoice—Existing program will be expanded for new features, including more licensing options.

SOURCE: ACS Publications

The American Chemical Society, a major publisher of scientific journals in chemistry and related fields, is making big changes to its open-access policies beginning in 2014. For the first time, ACS, which publishes C&EN, will launch a peer-reviewed journal that is free for readers and authors. The society will also offer more licensing options for authors and a reward system to help authors pay for open-access fees in traditional, subscription-based ACS journals.

The new open-access journal will be called ACS Central Science. Many details have yet to be released, but ACS says it will be a highly selective, peer-reviewed journal that will publish “multidisciplinary research from across the broad spectrum of the chemical sciences.” The publication will be led by a prominent scientist and active researcher, who is likely to be named next spring.

ACS Central Science is expected to publish hundreds of open-access research articles during its early years, says Susan King, senior vice president of the ACS journals publishing division. The journal is also expected to feature commentary and analysis of global trends in science R&D, technology, education, and policy.

In addition, ACS will begin making one article from across its 44 subscription-based journals freely available each day beginning on Jan. 1, 2014. The articles will be of broad public interest and will be nominated by the more than 400 ACS journal editors who are active researchers.

ACS is also expanding the options in its current fee-based open-access program. Authors who publish in subscription-based ACS journals have had the option since 2006 to pay a fee to make their article freely available immediately upon publication. In 2014, authors will have an expanded menu of licensing options to allow the final published article of record to be openly available. Authors will also be able to choose between immediate or 12-month delayed open access, which will carry different fees. Additional details, including discounts for ACS members, are available at

Furthermore, ACS is introducing a reward system that will give credits to corresponding authors of each paper published in ACS journals in 2014. These credits—valued at $1,500 per article published—can be used to pay for any ACS open-access option beginning in 2015 and until 2017.

Some open-access advocates have long viewed ACS as moving too slowly toward universal access. “ACS is probably the most conservative publisher in the galaxy,” says Peter Murray-Rust, a molecular informatics expert at Cambridge University and a critic of ACS policies on open access.

“We are seeing a changing landscape. We are seeing more drive for open access from institutions and from funding agencies,” King says. “These bold, new, and expanded open-access programs from ACS reinforce our drive for sustainable universal access to the results of scientific research.”

ACS publishes about 40,000 journal articles each year. To date, authors and funding agencies have paid fees to make only about 1% of those articles available free as open access. ACS hopes the initiatives “will encourage more authors to select open-access publishing options for ACS journals,” says ACS Publications Division President Brian Crawford.


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