What is open access?

Open access (OA) refers to free, unrestricted online access to research outputs such as journal articles and books. OA content is open to all, with no access fees.

There are two main routes to making research outputs openly accessible. One involves publishing articles or books via the OA route on a publisher’s platform (often referred to as gold open access). The other involves archiving a version of the manuscript in an OA repository (often described as green open access). Content published via the gold OA route is accessible immediately on publication, while manuscripts deposited via the green OA route may, in many cases, be made accessible only once a self-archiving embargo period has elapsed. The terms for onward sharing and re-use of OA content will depend on the licence under which it has been made available.

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Open access options

In line with the aims and policies of major funding bodies worldwide, Springer Nature facilitates open access in the following ways:



  • Freely available on our platforms
  • Open access immediately upon publication
  • Freely available somewhere other than the publisher’s website, e.g. in a subject or university repository, or the author’s personal website
  • Open access after an embargo period (though an embargo will not apply in all cases)
  • Version of record, i.e. publisher’s typeset PDF
  • Not necessarily the version of record - it could be the typeset PDF or the author’s final version after peer review but before copyediting and typesetting
  • Usually associated with an article processing charge (APC) or book processing charge (BPC)
  • No open access fee for authors
  • CC BY licence allows unrestricted reuse of the article providing the author(s) and original source are properly cited
  • CC BY is the default licence for the majority of Springer Nature fully open access titles
  • Other licences are available
  • Rights/re-use may be limited

Open access policies

Learn more about our policies for journals, books and data.

Questions? Please contact us.

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