Guided Open Access

Guided Open Access (OA) is a new initiative designed to make the process of publishing open access  simpler, quicker, and more efficient. Ultimately our aim is to help authors publish their work in the most suitable journal with just a single submission.

We will be trialling Guided OA as a pilot on three Nature research journals beginning January 2021: Nature Physics; Nature Genetics; and Nature Methods.

Hear more from our editors about Guided Open Access here 





How does it work?

Instead of authors submitting manuscripts to a specific journal, those picking Guided OA will be presenting their work to a group of journals whose editors will work together to efficiently identify the most appropriate home.

This collaborative approach is designed to remove the need for multiple submissions and to more quickly provide a greater level of feedback to authors.

Under the new process, authors will only have to submit their manuscript once to the journal of their choice. The editors will assess its suitability for both the journal the article was submitted to, as well as two other associated journals. Editors continue to uphold the same rigorous standards as they would for a direct submission to their journal. They will evaluate each manuscript for scientific merit and to ensure it is potentially suitable for publication in one of the three journals, before arranging peer review. Following peer review, the editors will make a recommendation regarding which, if any, of the participating journals may be most appropriate for publication. An Editorial Assessment Charge is payable for all Guided OA submissions passing this initial quality check and entering the Guided OA review process, regardless of whether the article is published in any journal included in the Guided OA pilot.

All Guided OA authors will receive a detailed Editorial Assessment Report, combining our in-house editor’s recommendations as well as peer reviewer feedback. The author can then choose to proceed with revisions at the recommended journal, with a top-up APC payable on acceptance (note that papers may still be rejected after peer review, in accordance with our standards). If authors decide not to take up the journal recommended, they can leave the Guided OA workflow with their Editorial Assessment Report to submit the article to another publication. To support rapid peer review elsewhere, we will support journal-to-journal release of verified reviewer reports and reviewer identities, pending reviewer consent. For articles accepted in a Nature research journal, the APC for Guided OA (including both the initial Editorial Assessment Charge and the top-up APC payment) will be 50% less than the direct APC1.

Download an infographic of the new Guided Open Access process



Benefits of Guided OA

Every author gets feedback from experts in the field. 

  • Every suitable manuscript that passes an initial quality check will receive an expert editorial assessment which will be informed by one round of external peer review.
  • The assessment and peer review reports will be provided to the author as a structured Editorial Assessment Report (download a sample here). This will provide an assessment of the experimental framework, with detailed feedback on how to increase the rigor and reproducibility of the research and align with open research practices, as well as our editorial guidance on how to navigate and interpret the reviewer reports.
  • The author can choose to continue to resubmit with revisions to the recommended journal, or to take their manuscript and the Editorial Assessment Report to resubmit at another journal.
  • Authors receive clear and constructive recommendations, enabling them to get their article to the highest standard and published as quickly as possible. Over half of rejected authors say they would like a personal recommendation from an editor on what they should do with their manuscript2.

A significantly more efficient process for our authors.

  • Under Guided OA, authors can reduce the time it takes to get published by being considered by three journals at the same time with just a single submission.
  • The process is managed seamlessly across journals by our Guided OA editors, providing our authors with a recommendation for a journal that would be happy to receive a revision for all research that is scientifically sound. This is a fundamentally more efficient process for both authors and peer reviewers.

A reduced APC for OA in a Nature research journal. 

Costs for Guided OA could be substantially lower than the standard APC for OA articles published in the Nature research journals, due to a split APC payment approach1:

  • An Editorial Assessment Charge of €2190 is payable for all articles passing an initial quality check and entering the Guided OA review process.
  • A top-up APC is payable at the journal your article is accepted into (€2600 for authors publishing in a Nature research journal or Nature Communications or €800 for publication in a Communications journal).

How do I participate?

With the arrival of Guided OA, authors submitting to Nature Physics, Nature Genetics and Nature Methods will now have three ways to publish: 

  • The traditional subscription route under which publishing charges are paid by the subscription fees levied on libraries and other institutions.
  • Direct OA, where authors must pay an APC once an article is accepted for publication.
  • Guided OA where authors submit only once, and the editor takes responsibility for finding the right home from three associated journals. An Editorial Assessment Charge, and a top-up APC, discounted from the Direct OA APC price, are payable (see costs below).
  • Ready to submit? Read more about all publishing options at Nature PhysicsNature Genetics or Nature Methods.



Guided Open Access

Editorial Assessment Charge

Guided Open Access

Top up APC

Guided Open Access

Total APC

Direct Open Access


Nature research journals (Nature Physics, Nature Methods and Nature Genetics from January 2021) €2190/$2690/£1890 €2600/$3190/£2170 €4790/$5880/£4060 €9500/$11200/£8500
Nature Communications €2190/$2690/£1890* €2600/$3190/£2170 €4790/$5880/£4060 €4530/$5560/£3920
Communications journals €2190/$2690/£1890* €800/$990/£660 €2990/$3680/£2550 €2680/$3290/£2290

*The Editorial Assessment Charge associated with Nature Communications and Communications journals in the table above shows the first part of the split APC for manuscripts submitted to Nature Physics, Nature Genetics or Nature Methods, where the recommended journal in the Editorial Assessment Report is Nature Communications or one of the Communications journals.

Information for authors covered by Transformative/OA agreements

If you are affiliated with an institution participating in a Fully OA agreement or Transformative agreement that includes Nature portfolio journals, you will not be eligible for Guided OA, where fees are applied before acceptance (Editorial Assessment Charge). Direct OA is available to you by selecting the open access option once your paper has been accepted, with your fees covered by the agreement. Please check our OA agreement pages for further information about what fees are covered.

Finding funding for OA

Many organisations offer funding to support the costs of OA publication. Visit our open access funding page to check whether your institution or research funder makes OA funding available.


1 Note that publication in Nature Communications or any of the Communications journals through Guided OA results in a modestly higher charge than the APC payable for direct submission to these journals

2 Springer Nature rejection analysis, 2017, not published