Open access policies for journals

On this page you can find out about Springer Nature’s open access (OA) policies for journal articles published via the immediate (gold) OA and subscription routes.

Our publication policies help our authors achieve a high level of openness with their research and support them in meeting the open access (OA) requirements of their research funders and institutions.

For information about meeting the OA policies of funders and institutions when publishing with Springer Nature, visit our OA funding support service.

If you're looking for information about our OA policies for books and chapters, you can find them here.

OA licensing and copyright

Papers published Open access (OA) in Springer Nature journals

Open access (OA) articles in Springer Nature journals are published under Creative Commons licences. Learn more about the differences in OA licenses, copyright, the rights you retain as an author, and the permissions needed for various uses of your work by visiting Springer Nature’s copyright and licensing guide.

Self-archiving, manuscript deposition, and digital preservation

Self-archiving of papers published open access

Authors publishing via the gold open access route are encouraged to deposit the final published PDF in their institutional repository or any suitable subject repository on publication.

Authors should provide a link from the deposited version to the URL of the publisher's website; in all cases, the requirement to link to the publisher’s website is designed to protect the integrity and authenticity of the scientific record, with the online published version on the publisher’s website clearly identified as the definitive version of record.

  • The version of record of this article, first published in [Journal name], is available online at Publisher’s website:[insert DOI]

Authors are advised to check their funders' deposition requirements to ensure compliance. Read our policy compliance FAQs to learn about how authors can ensure they meet funder self-archiving requirements. 

Publisher deposition of papers published open access

Springer Nature automatically deposits open access articles in PubMed Central (PMC) and Europe PubMed Central (EPMC) on publication, if the article meets the PMC deposition guidelines.

Articles in fully OA journals with full PMC deposition agreement

For authors publishing in our fully OA journals, where the journal has a full PMC deposition agreement we will automatically deposit all articles to PubMed Central. Find the agreement type by journal here. If the journal does not yet have an agreement, or is out of subject scope, we will deposit articles that acknowledge funding from a PMC partner or EPMC funder, or a funder approved by PubMed Central for deposit in compliance with a public or open access policy. To enable us to identify an OA article as eligible for deposit, authors must provide details of the relevant research funder, grant number and recipient name in the structured funding fields provided during the submission process.

Articles in hybrid and Transformative Journals

For authors publishing open access articles in our hybrid and Transformative Journals, as of January 2019 PubMed Central has updated their deposition guidelines. Open access articles are eligible to be deposited in PubMed Central if the journal of publication is currently indexed in MEDLINE and is part of a Selective Deposit agreement (as used by many of our hybrid/Transformative Journals); OR the article acknowledges funding from a PMC partner or EPMC funder, or a funder approved by PubMed Central for deposit in compliance with a public or open access policy. To enable us to identify an OA article as eligible for deposit, authors must provide details of the relevant research funder, grant number and recipient name in the structured funding fields provided during the submission process. Find the PMC agreement type by journal here, and a list of MEDLINE journals here.

Timeline and funder compliance

Please note that there may be an interval of a few weeks between publication and the appearance of an article in PubMed Central and Europe PubMed Central, depending on the time required for PubMed Central to process the deposit and for PMC articles to be mirrored to Europe PubMed Central. Where a journal publishes content online ahead of publication in a print issue (known as advanced online publication, or AOP), open access articles will be deposited to PubMed Central at the point of issue publication, as PubMed Central requires that articles are deposited in their final format.

Authors are advised to check their funders' deposition requirements to ensure compliance. Read our policy compliance FAQs to learn about how authors can ensure they meet all their funders’ self-archiving requirements. If you believe your open access article is eligible to be deposited to PubMed Central but has not been, please contact us, or you can submit an open access article directly to PubMed Central or Europe PubMed Central through their submission systems: PubMed Central and Europe PubMed Central.

Recently launched journals take time to be accepted for indexing in PubMed Central. All in-scope journals will apply for indexing as soon they meet the criteria for content volume that PubMed Central requires, and once a journal is accepted by PubMed Central all past published articles will be indexed retrospectively. During the time before the journal is accepted, however, authors may need to self-archive their open access articles in PubMed Central /Europe PubMed Central in order to meet their funders’ requirements.

Self-archiving of papers published via the subscription route

Springer Nature supports gold OA as the simplest, most open, and most sustainable route to OA and to open science and research. Unlike green OA self-archiving of accepted manuscripts (AM), gold OA provides immediate access to the trusted, enhanced, and publisher-maintained version of record (VOR), and is not reliant on the continued existence of journal subscriptions.

Where articles are published via the subscription route, Springer Nature permits authors to self-archive the accepted manuscript (AM), on their own personal website and/or in their funder or institutional repositories, for public release after an embargo period (see the table below). The accepted manuscript is the version post-peer review, but prior to copy-editing and typesetting, and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. 

You can read about our self-archiving policy below, or to learn more, authors can view sample copies of the exclusive licence to publish (LTP) agreements currently in use for the majority of non-OA research articles in Springer Nature-owned journals in our Nature, Springer and Palgrave Macmillan portfolios. These examples are for reference only; the self-archiving terms in agreements provided to authors following editorial acceptance may vary based on factors such as the author’s status as a US government or UK Crown employee.  

For more information on self-archiving to meet certain funder policy requirements, see Springer Nature’s funder compliance webpage.

Accepted Manuscript terms of use

Use of the AM is subject to an embargo period and our AM terms of use, which permit users to view, print, copy, download and text and data-mine the content, for the purposes of academic research, subject always to the full conditions of use. Under no circumstances may the AM be shared or distributed under a Creative Commons, or other form of open access license, nor may it be reformatted or enhanced. 

Authors should provide the following acknowledgement, and link from the accepted manuscript version to the URL of the published article on the journal's website

  • This version of the article has been accepted for publication, after peer review (when applicable) and is subject to Springer Nature’s AM terms of use, but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record is available online at:[insert DOI]

Authors are able to publish via the gold OA publication route, which means that the published version of record will be immediately available on publication and can be shared under the same CC licence terms applicable to the article.

Embargoes and restrictions on self-archiving of the AM

For information about self-archiving of papers published via the subscription route (green open access), including embargo periods, please consult our table below:


Embargo length (articles)

Deposition of AM permitted in institutional or funder repository after embargo, and author's own personally maintained website*?

Nature Portfolio journals

6 months


Hybrid/transformative academic journals on platform

6 months


Springer hybrid/transformative and subscription journals

12 months


Palgrave Macmillan hybrid/transformative and subscription journals

12 months


* Authors publishing in the Springer and Palgrave Macmillan portfolios may share the AM to their personally maintained website immediately on acceptance, with no embargo. Springer Nature authors publishing across all of our imprints are also able to immediately share their research articles peer-to-peer via our SharedIt initiative. SharedIt allows authors and subscribers to provide read-only access for non-subscribers through shareable links. For further information, please visit our webpage here.

Self-archiving of papers containing Rights Retention language

Springer Nature only ever assesses manuscripts on their editorial merit. If primary research manuscripts contain Rights Retention Strategy (RRS) language, they will not be rejected on the grounds of its inclusion, and we will not remove that text before publication if it is included in a section that is a normal part of the published primary research article.

Authors should note, however, that manuscripts containing statements about open licensing of accepted manuscripts (AMs) can only be published via the immediate gold open access (OA) route, under a compatible OA licence (e.g. CC BY), to ensure that authors are not making conflicting licensing commitments, and can comply with any funder or institutional requirements for immediate OA. 

Authors who opt to publish via the subscription route will be required to sign our standard subscription licence terms, which only allow the AM to be shared after an embargo period. The subscription licensing terms are incompatible with any attempt to assert prior rights to the AM, and require authors to confirm that Springer Nature’s standard licensing terms will supersede any other terms that the author or any third party may assert apply to any version of the manuscript.

Therefore, authors who wish their research to be immediately openly accessible or whose research is supported by a funder that requires immediate OA (e.g. according to Plan S principles) should select to publish via the gold OA route.


For information on sharing preprints, please see our preprint policy on the Springer Nature Editorial Policies page.

Digital preservation

Springer Nature ensures that publications are preserved and available for future scholars, researchers, and students. Find out more about archiving agreements with Digital Preservation organisations here.

Article processing charges

What is an APC and what are authors paying for?

As costs are involved in every stage of the publication process, from administrating peer review to copy-editing and hosting the final article on dedicated servers, authors are asked to pay an article processing charge (APC) in order for their article to be published open access under a Creative Commons licence.

APC waivers and discounts for financial need

Springer Nature offers APC waivers and discounts for papers published in our fully open access journals whose corresponding authors are based in the world’s lowest income countries as defined by the World Bank. See here for further information.

Requests from other authors for APC waivers and discounts will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and may be granted in cases of financial need.  All applications for discretionary APC waivers and discounts should be made at the point of manuscript submission; requests made during the review process or after acceptance are unable to be considered. 

To request a waiver or discount:

  • OA journals on Please start your submission and request a waiver or discount as part of the submission process. Contact us if you have any questions.
  • All other OA journals. Please start your submission and request a waiver or discount as part of the submission process. Contact us if you have any questions.

We are unable to grant requests to waive APCs just on the basis of the research topic explored  (for example COVID-19 or SARS) where there is no evidence of a financial need. If, however, you are in financial need and unable to support the costs of the APC, we would be happy to assess your eligibility for a waiver or discount under our standard policies for fully OA journals, described above.

APC waivers are not offered for open access publication in hybrid and transformative titles, as authors without the funds to publish open access in these journals can publish via the subscription route.

APC waivers for substantial critiques of articles published in OA journals

Where authors are submitting a manuscript that represents a substantial critique of an article previously published in the same fully open access journal, they may apply for a waiver of the article processing charge (APC).

In order to apply for an APC waiver on these grounds, please contact the journal editorial team at the point of submission. Requests will not be considered until a manuscript has been submitted, and will be awarded at the discretion of the editor. 

APC waivers and refunds for publisher errors

Springer Nature will refund an article processing charge (APC) if an error on our part has resulted in a failure to publish an article under the open access terms selected by the authors. This may include the failure to make an article openly available on the journal platform, or publication of an article under a different Creative Commons licence from that selected by the author(s). A refund will only be offered if these errors have not been corrected within 30 days of publication.

If you become aware of an error in the open access status or licensing of your article, please contact the central Open Research customer support team immediately at this email address.

APCs will not be refunded when articles are retracted as a result of author error or misconduct.

Springer Nature's commitment to consistent and sustainable pricing for hybrid/Transformative Journals

We annually review our journal price lists to ensure our pricing remains consistent and sustainable across our whole journal portfolio. Open access articles are assessed separately from subscription articles and a subscription price only reflects access to subscription articles. For more information please visit our open research information for Librarians space

Other OA policies

Retrospective open access for hybrid and Transformative Journals *

Authors who initially opted to publish their paper under the subscription model in a hybrid or Transformative Journal may be able to retrospectively pay an article processing charge (APC) to make their paper open access. To request retrospective open access for an article that has already been published, please complete our retrospective open access order form, by following the link below:

* As gold OA publication remains a new development for our Nature Research titles, retrospective open access is only available for primary research published in these journals from January 2021. We will keep our position on retrospective OA for these titles under review.

Springer Nature policies and compliance with funders' open access mandates

Authors may need to take specific actions to achieve compliance with funder mandates. These may include self-archiving, opting into our manuscript deposition service, and/or choosing open access publication with a compliant Creative Commons licence if publishing in a hybrid or Transformative Journal. 

Authors are strongly advised to check their funder's open access requirements, particularly regarding manuscript deposition, embargo periods, and licence mandates. To learn more about meeting funder and institutional open access requirements please use the following resources:

Certain research funders require that articles are published under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY) . For further information and guidance on OA funding and policy, please see here and check the following list of funders with guide to funder licence requirements for OA articles.

Authors, funders, and institutions with queries about open access compliance are advised to contact the open access support service at

Hybrid and Transformative Journals; open access decision process

An author's decision to pay an APC to make their article open access does not influence editors' or reviewers' decisions about an article. Authors publishing in Springer Nature hybrid/Transformative Journals are not asked to confirm whether they would like to publish their article open access until after it has been accepted. All submitted articles go through the same rigorous process of editorial consideration and peer review, thereby ensuring that the high standards the scholarly community has come to expect from Springer Nature journals are maintained.

Availability of research data

Springer Nature helps authors make their research data as open as possible by supporting practices for sharing and archiving data. Find out more about our policies and services here.