Open Access

Elsevier is moving fast to meet the different demands for Open Access

Open access is an integral part of our commitment to a collaborative, inclusive, and transparent world of research where authors, researchers, and academic institutions can share knowledge and build on each other's work to advance outcomes.

I'm interested in...

We offer a wide range of open access options to fit the diverse needs of institutions, funders, academic societies, and researchers around the world. We listen to our customers and collaborate with them to achieve their research goals. We do so without ever compromising on the things they trust us for: quality, rigorous peer review, and research integrity.

By testing and learning from our open access pilot agreements with institutions around the world, we continue to evolve the open access options we offer.

Fundamentally our mission, to help researchers and healthcare professionals advance science and improve health outcomes for the benefit of society, means that we will always support researchers accessing the knowledge they need – regardless of the model under which it was published.

Fast facts on open access

Open Access collaboration

Acting fast to our fast-growing Open Access

Our fast-growing open access offer

  • We want to ensure that researchers have as many open access publishing options as they do subscription, reflecting our belief in author choice
  • As one of the fastest-growing open access publishers in the world, nearly all of Elsevier's 2,700 journals now enable open access publishing, including 600 fully open access journals
  • We commit to the transformative journal criteria. We are piloting transformative journal status for more than 160 journals from across our portfolio. You can see the full list of transformative journals and targets, and visit the relevant individual journal home pages for more information
  • In 2021 Elsevier published 119,000 gold or pay-to-publish OA articles an increase of 46% over 2020, making us one of the largest open access publishers in the world.
  • We support authors by providing them with advice on how they can comply with funding body open access policies.

Up-to-date information to finding the right solutions

Finding the right solutions for our authors, librarians and institutions

Accessibility to beyond

Beyond OA: Other free access initiatives from Elsevier

  • We offer free access to relevant research for health emergencies, including the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Patients and caregivers are provided with research papers related to medicine and healthcare upon request to help them better understand the latest research on their conditions
  • We ensure everyone can access a collection of the work from each year’s Nobel Prize winners
  • We open the archives for 140 journals, including Cell Press research journals, after 12 months
  • Through Research4Life, institutions in 120 low and middle income countries receive affordable access to nearly 100,400 peer reviewed resources. As a founding member, Elsevier provides over a quarter of that content, as well as access to the abstract and citation database Scopus, and training for librarians
  • We automatically apply waivers or discounts to articles in fully gold OA journals for which all authors are based in a low-income country

View Open Access infographic

Frequently Asked Questions

Elsevier is one of the fastest-growing Open Access publishers in the world. Nearly all of Elsevier's 2,600 journals now enable Open Access publishing, including 500 journals which are fully Open Access journals.

We recognize that in recent years, a growing number of researchers have chosen to publish Open Access. This shift has challenged every publisher to adapt and respond to new publishing needs, we have done so while ensuring published research remains trusted and high quality.

One of the ways in which Elsevier supports access to research financed through journal subscriptions is through Green Open Access. All Elsevier journals allow authors to use Green Open Access

Elsevier also makes subscription articles completely free to access in specific situations:

  • We offer free access to relevant research for health emergencies, including the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Patients and caregivers are provided with papers related to medicine and healthcare upon request to help them better understand the latest research on their conditions.
  • Through Research4Life, institutions in 120 low- and middle-income countries receive affordable access to nearly 100,400 peer reviewed resources. As founding member, Elsevier provides over a quarter of that content, as well as access to the abstract and citation database Scopus, and trainings for librarians.

NB: Green Open Access is when authors share a public version of their article, for example in their institution or funder’s repository, which would otherwise only be available to paying subscribers.

Elsevier’s APCs are set on a per journal basis, fees range between approximately $150 and $9,900 US Dollars, excluding tax, with prices clearly displayed on our APC price list and on journal homepages.

Adjustments in Elsevier’s APCs are under regular review and are subject to change. We set APCs based on the following criteria which are applied to open access articles only:

  • Journal quality (as measured by journal quality Field Weighted Citation Impact Tier);
  • The journal’s editorial and technical processes;
  • Competitive considerations;
  • Market conditions;
  • Other revenue streams associated with the journal.

A small percentage of titles may support more than one APC, for example when a journal supports one or more article types that require different APCs.

We do not vary the APC prices for our proprietary journals based on the user license chosen by the author. However, we also publish journals on behalf of learned societies or other third parties that reserve the right to determine their own prices and pricing policies. Any deviations in pricing from Elsevier’s standard APC price list per journal will be clearly displayed on the journal’s homepage.

Download APC prices

Subscription prices

Elsevier publishes subscription articles whose publication is funded by payments that are made by subscribing individuals or institutions. Subscription prices are set independent of open access articles and open access articles are not included when calculating subscription prices. Subscription prices are calculated and adjusted based on the following criteria:

  • Article volume
  • Journal quality (as measured by journal quality Field Weighted Citation Impact Tier)
  • Journal usage
  • Editorial processes
  • Competitive considerations
  • Other revenue streams such as commercial contributions from advertising, reprints and supplements

These criteria are applied only to subscription articles, not to open access articles, when setting list prices. For specific information please see our subscription price list for librarians and agents.

Purchasing options

Elsevier provides a range of purchasing options for subscription articles which are tailored for a wide variety of people. These include:

  • For libraries and institutions: There are a number of subscription options available which are tailored according to the specific customer situation and reflect a number of factors. For customers who purchase collections these considerations include competitive considerations, market conditions, the number of archival rights they purchase, and agreement specific factors like agreement length, currency and payment terms. Collection prices are adjusted on an annual basis, and any adjustment is based on factors including competitive considerations, market conditions, the number, quality, and usage of subscription articles published, and on technical features and platform capabilities. Open access articles are not included in these calculations. Click here for more details
  • Individuals: Researchers who are not affiliated to an institution, or who would simply like convenient access to a title not available from their library, can take advantage of our personal access options. These options include credit card based transactional article sale and article rental.
  • For more information on our free and low-cost access programs click here.

We are constantly striving to be more transparent in all aspects of what Elsevier does, including pricing. We try to support requests for information within the bounds allowed by financial reporting requirements and competition rules.

For authors:

  • We provide the price of publishing Gold Open Access on each journal homepage and in a central list.
  • We automatically  notify authors who are entitled to free or discounted Gold Open Access, for example where there is an agreement with their institution or funder.
  • We automatically notify authors who are entitled to free or discounted Gold Open Access because they are in a lower- or middle-income country. Our APC waiver policy explains this process.

For librarians:

  • We provide a range of information on our website about our pricing competitiveness; how our pricing corresponds to quality; and publishing model uptake across subscription and open access.
  • We publicly announce significant agreements, including our open access pilots
  • We provide a list of our journal subscription prices
  • We describe the process we follow to calculate list prices
  • We describe the process to ensure we do not double dip . We also show the number of articles that are published Gold Open Access, and the number which are financed through subscriptions, on each journal homepage, to allow librarians to validate this.

We do not double-dip. We can be reimbursed for an article in two ways – through an Article Publishing Charge (APC) or a subscription – but we never charge for the same article twice. We have a strict no double-dipping policy.

As part of our commitment to inclusion and diversity in science, we believe it is critical to support researchers from low and middle-income countries to publish Gold Open Access, if they wish to do so. When publishing in fully Open Access journals, we fully waive all open access charges for authors from 69 countries (Group A) and give a 50% discount for authors from 57 countries (Group B).

For other authors, we offer a choice of journals with open access publishing charges ranging from $150 to $9,900. We will also consider requests for accommodations on a case by case basis for authors who are required to publish open access but do not have the financial means to do so. We also provide high quality subscription publishing venues, so authors always have a choice of how they publish.

We see growth in the number of articles published through both gold open access and the subscription model. Subscription volumes rose by over 7% in 2020 compared to the previous year, for instance. However, we still price competitively, despite the fact that our article volumes in both gold and subscription content continue to grow. Elsevier’s average price change has been the lowest amongst major competitors in the last 13 years due to moderate historical price changes and this strong volume growth. At the same time, we maintain high-quality content.

Subscription fees are based on a range of factors, including volumes, the quality of a journal, journal usage and market and competitive considerations. The number of articles published Gold open access has no bearing on the way we price subscription fees.

Explore more:

Open access journals
Find an overview of all open access journals published by Elsevier.

View the list of gold open access journals

Open access books
Find out about our open access book publishing options.

Read more here

Open archive
Elsevier provides free access to archived material in selected Elsevier journals.

View the list of Elsevier open archive journals

Journal embargo finder
Search tool to find the embargo period for your Elsevier journal.

Find journal embargo periods

Elsevier Policies
Learn more about our policies

Read more here

Elsevier is a founding member and supports the CHORUS service, providing a provide a low cost compliance service for open access.

Read more here