Nature Communications Goes OA

Starting October 20, the journal will only accept open-access research submissions, making it Nature’s first and only all-OA title.

Sep 23, 2014
Bob Grant

WIKIMEDIA, PLOSNature Communications, which publishes brief scientific reports from a variety of disciplines, will now be 100 percent open access (OA), according to its publisher, Nature Publishing Group (NPG). “We want to be leaders in open research, and this move accelerates our commitment to drive open access forward,” said Sam Burridge, managing director for open research at NPG, said in a statement. “We are now taking a decisive step. We continue to see demand from authors for subscription publishing options, but we also see a need for a high quality, multidisciplinary, open-access journal.”

Launched in 2010, Nature Communications previously adhered to a hybrid model, publishing fewer than half of its studies as open-access articles and the remainder as subscription content. At present, researchers can choose an open-access option when submitting a manuscript to the journal, selecting one of three publishing licenses: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY), the more restrictive Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-ND), or Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA). Authors pay a fee of $5,200 to publish a study under a CC BY license, and $4,800 for each of the other two. As of October 20, CC BY will be the default license, with authors having the options of publishing under the other licenses without a fee difference, according to NPG. It is unclear as to what the new fee will be.

The move by London-based NPG toward more open-access scientific literature is in accordance with the UK government’s recent push make all of the research it funds with taxpayer contributions freely accessible by the public.

“I am delighted that Nature Communications is to become a fully, open-access journal, and one that defaults to publishing content under the CC BY license,” said Robert Kiley, who leads on the implementation of the Wellcome Trust’s OA policy, in the statement from NPG. “The decision by NPG to make this journal fully OA also provides evidence that hybrid OA—in which a journal makes content available under both OA and subscription models—can be a transitional phase. We hope that this will encourage other hybrid OA journals to transition to full OA.”

Update (September 23): After this article was published, Nature Publishing Group's Amy Bourke responded to The Scientist, noting the flat article processing charge (APC) to publish in Nature Communications: $5,200.