Open access at the Nature Portfolio

Nature and the Nature research journals – now with immediate gold open access options for all primary research

We are fully committed to open research and the benefits this brings for researchers, institutions, funders and the wider public. For authors who wish to publish their research open access, the Nature Portfolio will now offer open access options for all primary research submitted from January 2021.1

From January 2021 we will:

  • Offer open access options for all primary research, including for Nature for the first time in its 150-year history.
  • Launch our first transformative agreement for Nature and the Nature research journals with Max Planck Digital Library, enabling open access with fees covered for authors at participating institutions.
  • Launch a Guided Open Access pilot on three Nature research journals, offering authors the chance to be published across multiple Nature portfolio titles with just a single submission, reducing effort and increasing efficiency for all. 

What is open access (OA)?

Under the OA model, an article is made immediately available online when published, and is free to read for anyone in the world, rather than only to subscribing readers or institutions. The article is made available under a Creative Commons CC-BY license, which allows for anyone to reuse, share, or build upon the work.

In our fully OA journals (such as Nature Communications and Scientific Reports), all articles are made OA on publication. In a Transformative Journal (including Nature and the Nature research journals from January 2021), authors can choose between gold OA or subscription publication, based on their preferences, funder or institutional requirements for OA, and the availability of APC funding.

Payment for publication is typically made by the authors’ institutions or funding bodies, who pay an Article Processing Charge (APC) when the research is accepted. APCs vary from title to title, starting from €1,570 in Scientific Reports to € 9,500 in Nature.

Why publish OA in the Nature Portfolio?

Open approaches accelerate the progress of science. 

  • OA is immediately accessible and highly discoverable: anyone, anywhere can read, reuse and build on your work.
  • Previous research shows the OA advantage for researchers: OA articles are cited on average 1.6 times more than non-OA articles, downloaded 4 times more often and attract 2.5 times more attention, as measured by news and policy mentions.2
  • Editorial rigour, with even greater reach: our OA options build on the foundations of our strong in-house editorial expertise. OA articles follow the same stringent standards. 
  • Funder compliance: many funders and institutions now require articles to be published OA as part of the conditions of funding. We are enabling OA options for all primary research to enable our authors to meet these requirements, this includes Plan S.

Options for OA at the Nature Portfolio 

At Springer Nature, we have been innovating in open research for two decades. At the Nature Portfolio that includes:

  • Launching Scientific Reports in 2011: home for all original research from across the natural and clinical sciences. Now the 7th most-cited journal in the world, it attracted more than 350,000 citations in 2019 and receives widespread attention in policy documents and the media.
  • Through Nature Communications, creating the first Nature OA journal, publishing papers that significantly advance the natural sciences. Since becoming fully OA in 2014, it is the most cited multidisciplinary open science journal in the world.
  • Ensuring deposition of data and code alongside the research article to maximise transparency and reuse. Our active encouragement of data deposition has boosted data availability associated with published papers from around 50% to over 80% in some disciplines.
  • Encouraging authors to submit protocols to the Protocols Exchange  – an open sharing platform – providing valuable detailed reporting on the analytical and experimental design as well as statistical analyses.
  • Offering transparent peer review, publishing peer reviewer comments alongside the paper should the authors wish to do so. 
  • Developing new OA journals to support the growing need for rigorous OA journals, including the Nature Partner Journals in collaboration with preeminent scientists, and our Communications journal series.

New for 2021: introducing Transformative Journals

From January 2021, authors submitting to Nature and the Nature research journals will be able to choose to publish their primary research using either the traditional publishing route or immediate gold OA with an APC of €9500. These journals are making an active commitment to open research: we will increase the number of articles each year we publish OA, with the eventual goal of becoming fully OA. A journal that commits to this process is known as a Transformative Journal (TJ). This will enable our authors to comply with funding requirements, including Plan S. Find out more about Transformative Journals

Nature and the Nature research journals will be the first highly selective journals to offer their authors an immediate OA publishing option in this way. With more than 280 professional in-house Editors, more than 50,000 submissions each year, and an acceptance rate of less than 10%, the exceptional research in these journals has a profound effect on the disciplines to which it relates and the wider world. Research published in Nature and the Nature research journals is cited on average around 12 times more and downloaded by institutional users around 34 times more than papers in a typical journal. Find out more about the Nature research journals  

Guided OA pilot

The guided open access pilot is now closed for submissions, and we are evaluating the pilot. We will be providing further information in due course.

Funding for open access

Many organisations offer funding to support the costs of OA publication.

Max Planck Digital Library agreement: if you are an author based in Germany you may be able to publish OA in Nature and the Nature research journals with your fees covered. Find out more about our agreement with MPDL

BIBSAM agreement: If you're a corresponding author affiliated with a participating Swedish institution, you may be eligible to publish OA in Nature and the Nature research journals with your fees covered. Find out more about our agreement with BIBSAM.

If your institution has an open access agreement with Springer Nature, you may be able to publish OA in the wider Nature portfolio with fees covered. Find out more

Visit our open access funding page to check whether your institution or research funder makes OA funding available.


1Applies to new primary research submissions at Nature Portfolio journals from January 2021. For the Transformative agreement with Max Planck Digital Library, articles accepted from January 2021 may be published OA. See the agreement page for authors for further information.

2 Within the first three years of publication. Springer Nature hybrid journal OA impact analysis, 2018.