FAQs: complying with funder OA article policies

Springer Nature’s subscription journals are compatible with the vast majority of funders’ open access and self-archiving policies.

Gates Foundation

As of January 1st, 2017, the Gates Foundation requires immediate open access under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence for all peer-reviewed research publications resulting from their funding. The foundation has also confirmed that review articles are included in the policy.

Gates-funded researchers whose grant agreements have a start date prior to January 1st, 2015 are not required to comply with the policy.

The majority of Springer Nature journals offer an immediate (gold) open access option with a CC BY licence, meaning that authors will be able to comply with the open access requirements of the Gates Foundation when publishing in these titles. The following journal groups are compliant:

  • All BMC journals
  • All SpringerOpen journals
  • All Nature Research fully open access journals (including Nature Communications, Scientific Reports, Scientific Data, and Nature Partner Journals)
  • All hybrid journals on the nature.com platform (authors must select OA option)
  • Majority of Springer hybrid journals (authors must select Open Choice option)
  • Majority of Palgrave Macmillan hybrid journals (authors must select OA option)

A small number of Springer Nature titles do not offer a Gates-compliant publication option:

  • Nature, the Nature-branded research and review titles (excluding Nature Communications do not offer an immediate (gold) open access option. Creative Commons licences are occasionally used for specific types of papers in the Nature Research titles at the editor's discretion: please see our Creative Commons licences policy.
  • Certain society-owned and external partner journals published by Springer Nature also do not offer an immediate OA option. For details of the OA status of individual titles see the latest price list.
  • A small number of Springer’s society-owned and external partner hybrid open access journals offer an immediate OA option but publish content under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial licence (CC BY-NC) rather than CC BY. Details of CC licence options for Springer hybrid titles can be found on individual journal websites.

Why don’t all Springer Nature journals offer an immediate (gold) open access option for authors?

At the moment we believe the subscription model is still the best way to provide sustainable and widespread access to journals with low acceptance rates such as Nature and the Nature-branded research and reviews titles.

We continue to extend access to the Nature journals via our Springer Nature SharedIt content-sharing initiative, which provides authors with shareable links to view-only versions of their published papers; via our liberal self-archiving policy, which permits authors to self-archive their accepted manuscript six months after first online publication; and through our collaboration with the Research4Life programme to provide access to institutions in low-income countries.

Can authors publishing in Nature-branded research titles comply with the open access policies of other research funders?

Authors publishing in subscription-based Nature-branded research titles can comply with all other funder open access policies worldwide. Our liberal self-archiving policy encourages authors to deposit the accepted version of their manuscript in an institutional or subject repository, to be made openly available six months after publication, and we also permit archiving of pre-prints at any time.

Please contact openaccess@nature.com for further information.

Contact us

For further advice on what funding is available to you and guidance in approaching funders and institutions, please send us an email. 


Further resources

Funding sources for open access articles

Check whether your institution or research funder makes OA funding available for journal publication

Funding sources for open access books

Check whether your institution or research funder makes OA funding available for monographs, edited collections, and chapters.

Open access funding and policy checklist for articles

Identify potential sources of APC funding and ensure your publication meets all the OA requirements of your funders and institutions.

Open access article funding FAQs

Learn about the types of APC funding available, as well as how to secure such funding and meet eligibility requirements.

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