Society publishers’ OA output grew four-fold since 2012

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Members of the Society Publishers’ Coalition (SocPC) are making steady and deliberate progress towards open access (OA) publishing, in terms of both individual articles and entire journals, according to a white paper published by the group. The white paper, published in conjunction with Digital Science and Dimensions, shows that published research is being more widely disseminated, and higher impact levels are being reached through increased usage and citations.

The SocPC data clearly show the progress made over the last 10 years. The number of open access journals published by SocPC members has grown steadily and the proportion of paywalled content published in SocPC journals dropped from 95.1% to 78.1% between 2012 and 2022. Among SocPC members, journals publishing exclusively paywalled content have been in sharp decline. Over the last decade, the number of open access journals (defined as member journals publishing between 90% and 100% of their articles as OA) has multiplied nearly five-fold since 2012. The percentage of OA articles published in member journals has grown from less than 5% to nearly 22% in the same period.

In October, Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), a SocPC member, announced that it aims to make all fully RSC-owned journals open access within five years, making it the first chemistry publisher and one of the first society publishers to commit to a fully open access future. When announcing its decision, the RSC highlighted its commitment to inclusion and diversity – partnering with institutions around the world to develop new open access models that do not rely solely on authors paying processing or publication charges. These charges can present significant barriers for researchers, especially in the least developed countries where funds, even to conduct research, are limited.

Another SocPC member, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), made a five-year commitment to transition to full and sustainable open access back in 2020, with a target date set at the end of 2025. This was heavily reliant on its non-APC unlimited OA publication model, ACM Open.

Furthermore, six member societies of the SocPC have flipped their journal portfolios since 2018 through various different approaches to open access, including diamond, collective action and APCs. This includes: The IET – Institute of Engineering Technology, the American Astronomical Society, the American Geophysical Union (all using APCs); IWA Publishing and EMS Press (subscribe to open); and the Association of Cyber Forensics and Threat Investigators (ACFTI) (diamond OA).

SocPC members share the common ambition to see an orderly and sustainable transition to open scholarship, and to improve the efficiency of the scholarly communication ecosystem fairly and sustainably, for the benefit of researchers and society at large. In order to achieve this, SocPC works closely with funders, institutions, and other stakeholders.

View the white paper at

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