Basic information about open access (OA)

What is the difference between “free” content and “open access” content?

Free content usually consists of editorial matter such as tables of contents, covers, advertisements, etc. This content is available to all within IEEE Xplore and it is not supported by article processing fees.

OA content is technical in nature, peer reviewed, supported by article processing fees, and available to all.

What do the terms “green” and “gold” open access refer to?

“Green” open access refers to practice of depositing a version of an article in a repository. Usually, that article version will be freely accessible to the public. If (for example) an author posts the accepted version of his or her NIH-funded article to PubMed Central, that article is said to be available through green open access.

Posting requirements and embargo periods vary by publisher. IEEE allows authors to post the accepted (not final) version of their article to their own website, their employer’s website, or a repository specified by their funding agency. More information on article posting and embargo policies may be found at the IEEE Author Center.

Authors may obtain the accepted version of their article through the Author Gateway.

“Gold” open access refers to articles that are freely available in their final form. Most gold open access articles are supported by article processing charges (APCs), rather than through subscriptions. APCs may be paid by the author, the author’s institution, or a funding agency.

IEEE offers three gold open access options. Authors may publish an individual OA paper in a subscription journal (the “hybrid” option), publish in an OA topical journal, or publish in IEEE Access.

Why should authors publish open access?

Some funder mandates (such as Plan S by cOAlition S) require authors to publish their work in open access journals. Many institutions also encourage their authors to publish OA, and some provide funds to help authors do so.

Are IEEE open access journals compliant with funder mandates such as Plan S?

Yes, all of the new IEEE fully open access journals are compliant with funder mandates as all articles will be published under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) enabling authors to retain copyright.

Do all IEEE journals accept OA articles?

Yes. All wholly-owned IEEE journals accept OA articles. Journals co-sponsored by IEEE and another organization accept OA content when both groups agree that the content is appropriate for the publication.

Do IEEE magazines accept OA articles?

At this time, only IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine accepts OA content.

How does an author select open access?

Authors publishing in fully OA journals must confirm that they accept the OA terms and charges at submission. Authors publishing in hybrid journals will be able to select OA after acceptance, as part of the copyright transfer process.


What fees are charged for OA publication?

As of 1 January 2019, the article processing charge (APC) for hybrid journals is US$2,045. Some journals charge additional fees (e.g. overlength and color page charges). See individual journal author instructions for specific details.

For IEEE Access, the article processing fee is US$1,750.

For all of the new topical journals launching in 2020, the article processing fee will be US$1,750.

For existing IEEE open access publications, please check the author instructions for specific details:

IEEE Photonics Journal

IEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine

IEEE Journal of the Electron Devices Society

IEEE Journal on Exploratory Solid-State Computational Devices and Circuits

IEEE Power and Energy Technology Systems Journal

Does IEEE provide a discount on OA article processing charges to IEEE members?

Yes. IEEE will apply a discount to current IEEE members. IEEE members will receive a 5% discount, and members of IEEE societies will receive a 15% discount. Discounts cannot be combined or applied to any other fees such as over-length article or color page charges.

Does IEEE have an APC waiver policy?

Authors from low-income countries are eligible for waivers and discounts on article processing charges (APCs).

Corresponding authors from low-income countries (as classified by the World Bank) are eligible for a 100% waiver on APCs. Corresponding authors from lower-middle-income countries with a 2017 gross domestic product of less than US$200 billion are eligible for a 50% discount on APCs.

What is the IEEE Refund Policy for APCs?

An author’s open access article processing charges (APCs) may be refunded when alternative funding is provided (e.g. by a funding agency or the author’s institution).

Copyright Licenses

What OA license types are available to authors?

All articles will be published under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY), in which the copyright remains with the author.

What is the CC BY license?

Creative Commons licenses such as CC BY are used by many academic publishers. The CC BY license grants the most liberal reuse rights of all commonly used OA licenses. It allows users to distribute, reuse, modify, and build upon a work as long as proper attribution to the original article is provided. Works published with a CC BY license may be used for commercial purposes.

Some funding agencies require grant recipients to publish with a CC BY license.

What happened to the Open Access Publishing Agreement (OAPA)?

Until June 2019, IEEE offered an alternative open access license, the OAPA. The rights included in the OAPA were similar to those in the CC BY license with two main differences. First, copyright was transferred to IEEE. Second, commercial reuse was prohibited.

In June of 2019, IEEE retired the OAPA. Creative Commons licenses (such as CC BY) are becoming a global standard and are preferred by many funders and institutions. Since the rights granted by the OAPA were largely similar, IEEE simplified its OA options.

At what point does an author select an OA license?

After an article has been accepted, the corresponding author will be prompted to go through the IEEE electronic copyright transfer system. If an author is publishing OA, he or she will be asked to choose the CC BY license. Authors must also indicate if they are government employees in the US, UK, or EU. In some instances, custom licenses are needed for government employees.

Who should authors contact if they have more questions about IEEE’s OA policies and procedures?

Authors with questions or concerns about IEEE copyright policies should contact the Intellectual Property Rights Office at +1-732-562-3966 or copyrights@ieee.org.