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A number of scientific research institutions and funders require authors to retain the rights to post their accepted manuscripts immediately upon acceptance for journal publication. In fact, soon all researchers who receive U.S. federal funding will be required to make original research articles (either the accepted manuscript version, or the version of record) and the underlying data freely available without barriers or delays (including embargo periods), commonly referred to zero-embargo green open access (OA). Already, more than 90% of ACS authors under these mandates have a simple and funded pathway to publish gold OA in ACS journals either through an institutional read and publish agreement or an alternative funding support.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2023, the Publications Division of the American Chemical Society will introduce the article development charge (ADC). The ADC provides a new option for this small subset of authors to satisfy funder requirements for zero-embargo green OA and ensures a sustainable means of covering the costs associated with the services provided from submission through to final editorial decision. The new option expands the choices beyond the free 12-month embargo route for those authors who do not already benefit from a read and publish agreement, or who do not have access to other funding for gold OA publication.

Authors who are required to follow a zero-embargo green OA policy now have the option to pay the ADC once their manuscript is sent for peer review. The ADC covers costs associated with organizing, developing, and maintaining the high-quality scholarly peer review process and multiple other publishing services provided by a vast global network of editors and reviewers. This rigorous process assures that all authors who publish with ACS Publications can remain confident their manuscripts have been accepted by the most trusted and prestigious journals in the field of chemistry, regardless of the pathway they choose to publication.

Funders, institutions, and publishers alike acknowledge there is a need to cover the costs incurred to support high quality scholarly publishing activities. ACS Publications receives more than 200,000 manuscript submissions each year. Organizing and maintaining a rigorous editorial and peer review process for manuscripts in a timely manner is a massive yet necessary undertaking. The new ADC ensures that these operations can be maintained while also providing authors with a cost-effective pathway to compliance with public access mandates. To provide equitable access to publishing services and support to researchers worldwide, ACS Publications will automatically apply waivers or discounts to manuscripts submitted by corresponding authors from all countries that currently receive special country pricing for article publishing charges (APCs).

This option does not replace ACS’ existing open OA options, which extend to the final version of the article which includes formatting and other changes that occur during the production process. Gold OA involves making the final published article (‘version of record’) immediately available online, with no charges for readers, upon payment of an APC. Zero-embargo green OA involves posting the accepted manuscript in an open access institutional or subject repository immediately upon acceptance for publication in a journal upon payment of the ADC. Unlike an APC, the ADC does not cover expenses related to final production, digital distribution, discovery, promotion, and hosting of the version of record or maintaining post-publication updates. The version of record remains the ‘gold standard’ as it reflects the final definitive and discoverable article and research shows that this version is greatly preferred and more trusted by readers. In cases where authors later decide to publish their article as open access, the ADC payment they have made will be deducted from the cost of the open access article publishing charge. Click here to explore all of ACS Publications’ pathways to open access.

We expect a very small number of authors to elect the ADC: about 200 per year. While this pathway would currently apply to a small subset of authors, ACS Publications continues to explore options to help authors share their work widely and adhere to funders and institutions’ shifting mandates around immediate OA. As the industry moves beyond being solely focused on a subscription-based model, ACS Publications leads the way in exploring alternatives for how we sustain rigorous peer review while supporting open science.

If you’re not sure whether your research funder has a zero-embargo green open access mandate that covers your current research, we encourage you to check the terms of your grant or to contact your funding body for confirmation.

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