The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has committed to making all of its journals publicly available within the next five years. It is the first chemistry publisher to adhere to the 100% open access model and hopes to fund the move in a way that avoids individual authors paying article processing fees (APCs).
Scientific journal publishers traditionally rely on journal subscription fees to cover the cost of their activities. But in recent years, there has been increasing pressure to share scientific knowledge freely, regardless of readers’ ability to pay.
For example, the Plan S movement in Europe has campaigned for funders to ensure that researchers they support publish their findings in open access journals. This has led to the European Research Council and UKRI grantees being asked to publish their work in open access journals. Meanwhile, in the United States, all government-funded research will need to be published in open access as of 2026. These actions have seen an increasing number of journals move toward open access models.
Open access journals generally require authors to pay the APC one-time to publish their papers. This covers the costs associated with managing the peer review process and maintaining the scholarly record, and means anyone can read the journal’s content without having to pay a subscription.
But in declaring its commitment to the fully open access model, RSC noted that it hopes to negotiate new “institutional or funder level” agreements, in which institutions pay a fixed price so that their researchers can publish in RSC journals without paying individual APC fees. These deals will take into account regional differences so that institutions in poorer countries are not expected to pay the same rates as they do in richer countries.
RSC publishes 44 journals across the chemical sciences, most of which still operate with a subscription model.
Clearly, moving to full open access is great in terms of making research as widely available as possible to everyone, without barriers to reading. “In fact, one of the best things about advertising in my opinion was the fact that RSC is well aware of this challenge, and is committed to exploring new and other open access models to ensure that this does not turn out, says computational biochemist Len Kamerlin, who works at Uppsala University in Sweden Move to handicap. for publication.
“It should also be noted that while those most affected are indeed researchers from countries where funds for research are very limited, even in nominally rich countries, access to research funds is highly variable, and APCs can be a major barrier to publication. ,” she adds. I fully support RSC’s goal of ensuring that the majority of the global author community is covered through deals at the enterprise or funded level, and I commend RSC for taking this major step in the transition toward full open access, while also addressing equity concerns very high on the agenda.”
Floris Rutjes, a synthetic organic chemist from Radboud University in the Netherlands and president of the European Chemical Society, says he was ‘pleasantly surprised’ when he learned of RSC’s new commitment to open publishing, calling it a ‘huge step forward’. In pursuit of open science.
“A few years ago, I was involved in negotiations between Dutch universities and the Graduate Center for a new transformative deal at the national level, which was rather complicated with reading and publishing components for different journals and lengthy negotiations,” says Rutges. This situation will become clearer after switching to a full open access system. From a researcher’s point of view, I hope there will remain agreements between the RSC and university libraries so that fees for APCs are paid by the libraries and not by the researchers themselves as is often the case when publishing in open access journals.”
In a statement, RSC’s director of publishing, Emma Wilson, noted that it is “essential” to the organization that all authors retain the same ability to publish no matter where they are located. “We aim for a future in which [open access] Publication makes the authors’ work globally available, she said. As we have seen with Covid research, enabling this level of openness and international cooperation can be a catalyst for accelerating innovation and discovery, creating a better and more sustainable future for all.
“This is an exciting move for the RSC Research Center and for our growing portfolio of highly respected journals,” added University of Strathclyde chemist Duncan Graham, who chairs the RSC Publishing Council. The move to open access will mean that RSC can ensure that everyone around the world has the same ability to read and build on all of the important research published in RSC journals while still maintaining the high standards of quality and reputation that our community depends on.”
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