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Open Access Copyright and Licensing: A Guide for Authors

This post is part of a five-part series published in celebration of International Open Access Week 2022. We encourage you to explore the entire series below, which offers valuable insights and resources in support of advancing transparency and inclusion in the scientific community through open access.

OPEN ACCESS WEEK 2022 BLOG SERIES
Celebrate Open Access Week 2022 with ACS Publications
Fostering a Climate of Open Science
Open Access Copyright and Licensing: A Guide for Authors
The Journey to Open Access: Past and Present
Looking Ahead: The Future of Open Access

Which Licensing Option is Right for You? 

As global support for open access publishing continues to grow, it is more important than ever as an author to understand the options for protecting your published work and determining the extent to which others may use, share, or build upon your research.  

When publishing open access in an ACS journal, you will sign a Journal Publishing Agreement upon acceptance of your manuscript. As part of this process you’ll have the choice of two Creative Commons (CC) licenses—CC-BY or CC-BY-NC-ND—which will allow you to share your work publicly while still maintaining copyright. Below is an overview of each licensing option to help determine which is best for you. 

CC BY: Attribution 

CC BY Licensing Option

CC BY is the less restrictive of the two licensing options offered by ACS Publications. Under a CC BY license, others can share, modify, and expand upon your work, both for commercial and non-commercial purposes. Even so—and this is where the “BY” comes into play—others must attribute you as the original author and creator of the published work. 
 

CC BY-NC-ND: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 

CC BY-NC-ND Licensing Option

The CC BY-NC-ND licensing option contains more limitations: others are permitted to share your work, but they can only do so for non-commercial use (NC) and they cannot modify or expand upon the work in any way (ND). As with CC BY, others are required to credit you as the original author.  

If you are unsure which licensing option to choose, it is best to start by confirming any licensing requirements already established by your research funder. You can also easily check this on the ACS Journal Finder by indicating your funder and/or institution in the search tool.  

To learn more about licensing options, visit the Creative Commons website.   

Additional Resources 

How to Publish Open Access with ACS

ACS Read + Publish Agreements

Open Access Pricing

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