COAR joins a growing chorus of voices (1,2) denouncing a new authors’ fee introduced by the American Chemical Society (ACS), which charges authors $2,500 US for the right to deposit their accepted manuscript into a repository without an embargo period.

COAR strongly objects to this charge for the following reasons:

  • Authors own their manuscripts and should retain their rights. Authors typically hold the copyright to their research, but too often transfer those rights to publishers when publishing their manuscript. When authors retain the copyright to their manuscript, they have the right to disseminate and use their own manuscript as they choose. If authors’ rights are retained, publishers do not own an article accepted manuscript (AAM) and researchers should not be duped into paying a fee to exercise a right they already have.
  • This fee is in direct contravention with the ethos of open science, scholarship and equity. Science is about sharing and advancing knowledge and open access policies are being designed very carefully to ensure that all researchers are able to do so, even if they do not have funding to pay to publish their articles.
  • ACS is charging $2,500 while providing no added value. There is not a fee for an extra service offered. It requires no extra work on the side of the publisher, but rather is an attempt to develop a new revenue stream, while at the same time they will be receiving funds from subscriptions and pay-to-access for this same article.
    ACS is creating a false impression about compliance with funder policies. There is no charge for complying with funder OA policies. Nor is there any charge for depositing manuscripts in OA repositories. A fee is only required if you want to publish in an ACS journal and sign over your rights.

Repositories are and should always be free for researchers to access and deposit their work!!!

Repositories are critical for ensuring that the research community can freely access and contribute to the full corpus of scientific knowledge. This fee erects unnecessary and artificial barriers for researchers.

COAR strongly encourages others in the scholarly community to raise their objections to this fee, and in particular, urges ACS authors and all researchers to refuse to sign over the rights to their Article Accepted Manuscripts, or pay any charges to share a work that they already own.