Open Access publishing

  1. The Royal Society, open access and free access

  2. Transparent pricing policy

  3. How can I publish my article open access?

  4. How can I save 25% on my article processing charges?

  5. The benefits of open access publishing

  6. Compliance with funders

  7. What our authors say about open access publishing

  8. A selection of open access articles

  9. Author charges

  10. Further information

The Royal Society, open access and free access

In keeping with our role as the UK's national academy of science, The Royal Society is committed to the widest possible dissemination of research outputs. We offer the following types of open and free access to our journal articles;

Gold open access:
Through our open access programme, authors may have their article made freely available to all, immediately upon publication, by payment of an article processing charge. Such articles are covered by a Creative Commons license allowing redistribution and re-use, and we deposit them in PubMedCentral on the author's behalf.

We also offer an open access membership programme that enables academic and research institutions, funders and corporations to actively encourage open access in scholarly communication. Our membership programme grants a saving of 25% on all article-processing charges, allowing authors to publish more content as open access, growing the institution's research exposure and citation of articles.

Green open access:
Authors may deposit a pre-print of their article in a repository at any time. A final, accepted manuscript version (post-print) may be deposited in an institutional or not for profit repository once accepted for publication, however access to the full text must be embargoed for 12 months from publication. For more information and definitions of these terms please see the licence to publish. This is compliant with the vast majority of funders including HEFCE (REF 2020), RCUK, NIH and Wellcome Trust (see SHERPA/RoMEO).

Free access:
Recent articles more than 12 months old (biological sciences) and 24 months old (physical sciences) are freely available to all. Recent articles are defined as those published within the last 10 years.

Developing world access:
We are partners in a number of international schemes operated by the UN and WHO to make scientific journal articles available immediately and free of charge to the world's poorest nations. We currently belong to the following schemes: PERii/INASP, HINARI, AGORA and OARE.

We have been members of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association since 2011.


Transparent pricing policy

Since 2012 we have implemented a more transparent pricing policy in which the price of each journal is tied to the number of non-open access articles published in that journal. Each journal now publishes the relevant article counts annually. We recognise the legitimate concerns of the research community that publishers of hybrid open access journals should take full account of the income they receive from article charges when setting subscription prices and believe that this model represents a coherent and viable way forward.


How can I publish my article open access?

Publication in Open Biology
Open Biology publishes articles covering biology at the molecular and cellular level. It is a fully open access journal. More details are available on the Open Biology web pages.

Publication in Royal Society Open Science
Royal Society Open Science publishes articles in any area of science. It is a fully open access journal and free to submit for an introductory period

Open access in other Royal Society journals
For other journals, we provide an open access option. This is an 'author-pays' model which enables authors to publish in our subscription-based journals on an open access basis. It operates alongside our established subscription model which takes into account open access income. Under the open access option submission of an article is free, but if it is accepted for publication, the authors are asked to pay a fee to have their article made open access immediately upon publication. Please note that the article will not be published as open access until payment is received. If payment is delayed the article will retrospectively be made open access.


How can I save 25% on my article processing charges?

If your institution is a member of our Open Access Membership Programme, you, as submitting author, will qualify for a 25% discount on article processing charges when you choose to publish your article as open access. Find out if you belong to a member institution here and remember to state that you are from a member institution during the submission process.


The benefits of open access publishing

Through open access publication, authors benefit in a number of ways:

  • the potential for greatly increased dissemination and citation
  • the same standards of high-quality, rapid peer-review and production
  • publisher deposit of the article in PubMedCentral on behalf of the author
  • liberal licensing and re-use policy through Creative Commons license CC-BY 4.0
  • satisfies the requirements of research funders requiring open access publication, such as the HEFCE (REF 2020), RCUK, NIH, Wellcome Trust and many others - see SHERPA/RoMEO

Compliance with funding bodies

Our open access policies are fully compliant with the requirements of a range of funders including the HEFCE (REF 2020), Wellcome Trust, NIH, HHMI, RCUK, European Commission, MRC, NERC, STFC, ESRC, EPSRC and BBSRC.  For a full list of funders with open access requirements, please visit the SHERPA/JULIET website.


What our authors say about open access publishing

"We have been very pleased with being able to exercise the open access option for our recent Biology Letters article. We chose the open access option in order to improve the accessibility of our article and, based on the feedback I have received, I think the article has been much more widely read than it may have been otherwise. Everything seemed quite straightforward, and we particularly appreciated the timeliness of the manuscript review and production process."
Michael W Miller, DVM, Ph.D, Colorado Wildlife Research Center, USA

"We chose the open access option to guarantee free access to our Proceedings B article , which we believe is of general interest. As media coverage was astonishingly high, this choice proved to have been a good decision. The process was absolutely perfect and everything worked without any complications."
Dr Jan Henning Sommer, Nees Institute for Biodiversity of Plants, University of Bonn, Germany

"We chose the open access option for our recent article in Biology Letters because we think it makes a big difference to the impact of the article. The open access option is fabulous! Moreover, the service we received was flawless."
Dr Lucia Regolin, Department of General Psychology, University of Padova, Italy


A selection of open access articles

Access open access articles from your journal of choice by clicking on the journal name below

Royal Society Open Science(all open access)
Open Biology (all open access)
Proceedings B
Biology Letters
Philosophical Transactions B
Proceedings A
Philosophical Transactions A
Journal of the Royal Society Interface
Interface Focus
Notes and Records


Author charges

The open access fee is (£1700/$2975/€2380) per article*.

* The article processing charge for Open Biology is (£1200/$2160/€1560).

VAT may be applicable for these services. The open access fee includes any page charges (up to a journal's maximum, if applicable) and colour.

Corresponding authors from member institutions receive a 25% discount to these charges.

In considering our open access services, authors should be aware that some articles are already free to access upon publication:

  • editorials, corrections and retractions - all journals
  • reviews - Interface, Proceedings A and Proceedings B
  • meeting reports - Biology Letters
  • introductory articles and prefaces - Philosophical Transactions

In addition, the above article types are free to access from publication on PubMedCentral for Biology Letters, Interface, Open Biology, Philosophical Transactions B and Proceedings B.


Further information

For more information about our open access programme, see:

Open access FAQs.

Open Biology FAQs.

Alternatively, please contact the editorial team member for your chosen Royal Society journal.