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When you choose to publish with PLOS, your research makes an impact. Make your work accessible to all, without restrictions, and accelerate scientific discovery with options like preprints and published peer review that make your work more Open.

Open Access

Open Access (OA) makes research accessible immediately upon publication with no restrictions. Anyone with internet access can find, read, mine, cite and share OA articles at no cost to them. Choosing to publish under an OA license advances information equity by making your research more visible, useful, and more transparent.

Why Open Access matters

Most publishers own the rights to the articles in their journals. Anyone who wants to read the articles pays a fee for access. Institutions and libraries help provide access to paywalled research through costly negotiations. Even then, no part of the article can be reused by researchers, students, or taxpayers without permission from the publisher, often at the cost of an additional fee.

Open Access returns us to the values of science: to help advance and improve society. By providing immediate and unrestricted access to the latest research, we can accelerate discovery and create a more equitable system of knowledge that is open to all.

How it works

At the heart of Open culture is a simple legal device: the Creative Commons-Attribution (CC BY) license.

CC BY licensing balances the importance of scholarly credit, with the need to share research broadly and rapidly. Under a CC BY license, authors retain the copyright for their work while at the same time granting permission for anyone, anywhere in the world to read, share, reuse or remix the work for any purpose, as long as the original author is properly credited.


Be useful
Increase your reach and maximize your impact on the field. Open Access licensing improves discoverability and extends reach, giving every researcher, policymaker, or educator the opportunity to not just read and learn from, but also use and apply your work.

Be free
Share without restriction. When you publish Open Access, your research is freely available to the public right from the very start. That means you can showcase your results sooner, meet funding deadlines and increase the impact of your research.

Be a leader
Advance your career and build a reputation. Routinely publishing under an Open license helps to cultivate a reputation for quality, collaboration and leadership.

Access is just the beginning ...

Open is about more than just being able to read or share an article. Openness is the key to reproducibility and replication, increased collaboration and innovation, and more equitable participation and distribution of knowledge.

Not all access is Open Access is equal

Thousands of journals have adopted policies that embrace some or all of the Open Access core components. But not all Open Access is the same.

Open doesn’t mean….

Take the first step

You can apply Open Access licensing to any aspect of your research―not just a formal research article. Use CC BY to share research components like data and methods (including protocols, preregisted study designs, and code). Or ensure fairness and transparency in the peer review and publishing process with tools for allocating credit, sharing preprints, and publishing peer reviews.


The PLOS Open Science Toolbox

The future is Open

The PLOS Open Science Toolbox is your source for sci-comm tips and best-practice. Learn practical strategies and hands-on tips to improve reproducibility, increase trust, and maximize the impact of your research through Open Science.

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Learn more about Open Access

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