Open Access & Self Archiving

Open Access & Self Archiving

Open access refers to free, unrestricted online access to research outputs such as journal articles and books. Open access content is open to all, with no access fees.

There are two main routes to making your research openly accessible:

  • Publishing your article fully open access, often referred to as gold open access, via the open access route on a publisher’s platform. Gold open access makes the final version of an article freely and permanently accessible for everyone, immediately after publication. Copyright for the article is retained by the authors and most of the permission barriers are removed. Authors are required to pay an article processing charge (APC) to facilitate open access publication.
  • Publishing your article via the traditional subscription route but archiving a version of the manuscript in an open access repository, making it freely accessible for everyone after a set embargo period - often described as green open access.  Unlike gold open access the version deposited must be the author accepted version (prior to copyediting and typesetting) rather than the final published pdf. The copyright for these articles remains with the publisher of, or the society affiliated with, the title and there are restrictions as to how the work can be reused. 

Authors may need to take specific actions to achieve compliance with funder and institutional open access mandates. If your research is supported by a funder that requires immediate open access (e.g. according to Plan S principles) then you should select the gold OA route, and we will direct you to the compliant route where possible. For authors selecting the subscription publication route, the journal's standard licensing terms will need to be accepted, including self-archiving policies. Those licensing terms will supersede any other terms that the author or any third party may assert apply to any version of the manuscript.

Open access licensing
Open access articles are published under a CC BY license (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License). Under Creative Commons, authors retain copyright in their articles. The CC BY license allows for maximum dissemination and re-use of open access materials and is preferred by many research funding bodies. Under this license, users are free to share (copy, distribute and transmit) and remix (adapt) the contribution including for commercial purposes, providing they attribute the contribution in the manner specified by the author or licensor (read full legal code). All Springer Nature journals with an open access option offer intergovernmental organisation (IGO) versions of Creative Commons licences on request, where required by the author’s employer.

Visit our open research site for more information about Creative Commons licensing.

Post Acceptance

The corresponding author will be prompted to choose Open Access or Standard publication and complete the relevant forms via the Springer Nature online signing portal following acceptance.

Open Access Publication 
If authors opt to publish via the open access route then the corresponding author must complete an open access License to Publish (LTP) form on behalf of all authors, and will be contacted to arrange payment of the associated Article Processing Charge (APC).

Please note this process must be completed prior to publication and failure to do so will result in delay of publication.

Government employees from the United States, Canada and the UK who wish to publish open access are required to complete the open access form relevant to them.

The cost for open access publication in BJC is:

2023: 3,790 EUR/ 4,690 USD/ 3,290 GBP for a full article or review, and 3,510 EUR/ 4,350 USD/ 3,230 GBP for comments and correspondence (VAT or local taxes will be added where applicable).

Please note with regards to payment that usual credit terms are 30 days from receipt of invoice. Failure to pay your invoice within the stated credit term may result in the open access status of the paper being rescinded, with the paper being placed behind the paywall. You may also be subject to such penalties as restrictions on your ability to publish with Springer Nature in the future, involvement of a third party debt collection agency and legal proceedings.

For any questions relating to pricing please see the Springer Nature Journal Pricing FAQs page.

Standard Publication 
If authors opt to publish via the standard subscription publication route then the corresponding author must complete the standard Licence to Publish form when prompted.

Government employees from the United States, Canada and the UK are required to complete the license to publish form relevant to them.

Waiver of institutional open access policies
Please note that Harvard University FAS, Princeton, University of Hawaii at Manoa, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the University of Rhode Island and the Georgia Institute of Technology have enacted Open Access policies that conflict with our own policy for articles published via the subscription route. If any corresponding or contributing authors are from these institutions, you will need to provide a waiver from the institution of every affected author, which can be obtained from the institution. This waiver should be submitted along with your final files. This requirement does not apply to articles published via the open access route.

Retrospective open access
Authors who initially opted to publish their paper under the subscription model in a hybrid journal may be able to retrospectively pay an article processing charge (APC) to make their paper open access. To request retrospective open access for an article that has already been published, please contact the Open Research Support Team at with your Article’s title, DOI and Journal name.

Self-archiving and digital preservation

Self-archiving of papers published open access
Authors publishing via the open access route are encouraged to deposit the final published PDF in their institutional repository or any suitable subject repository on publication.
Authors should provide a link from the deposited version to the URL of the published article on the journal's website; in all cases, the requirement to link to the journal’s website is designed to protect the integrity and authenticity of the scientific record, with the online published version on the journal’s website clearly identified as the definitive version of record.
Authors are advised to check their funders' deposition requirements to ensure compliance. Read our policy compliance FAQs to learn about how authors can ensure they meet funder self-archiving requirements. 

Self-archiving of papers published via the subscription route
Where articles are published via the subscription route, Springer Nature permits authors to self-archive the accepted manuscript (the version post-peer review, but prior to copy-editing and typesetting) on their own personal website and/or in their funder or institutional repositories, for public release after an embargo period of six months after first publication.

Publisher deposition of papers published open access
Springer Nature automatically deposits open access articles in PubMed Central (PMC) and Europe PubMed Central (EPMC) on publication, if the article meets the PMC deposition guidelines.
Please note that there may be an interval of a few weeks between publication and the appearance of an article in PubMed Central and Europe PubMed Central, depending on the time required for PubMed Central to process the deposit and for PMC articles to be mirrored to Europe PubMed Central. Where a journal publishes content online ahead of publication in a print issue (known as advanced online publication, or AOP), open access articles will be deposited to PubMed Central at the point of issue publication, as PubMed Central requires that articles are deposited in their final format.
Authors are advised to check their funders' deposition requirements to ensure compliance. Read our policy compliance FAQs to learn about how authors can ensure they meet all their funders’ self-archiving requirements. If you believe your open access article is eligible to be deposited to PubMed Central but has not been, please contact us, or you can submit an open access article directly to PubMed Central or Europe PubMed Central through their submission systems: PubMed Central and Europe PubMed Central.

Digital preservation
Springer Nature ensures that publications are preserved and available for future scholars, researchers, and students. Find out more about archiving agreements with Digital Preservation organisations here.

Availability of research data
Springer Nature helps authors make their research data as open as possible by supporting practices for sharing and archiving data. Find out more about our policies and services here.