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When you choose to publish with PLOS, your research makes an impact. Make your work accessible to all, without restrictions, and accelerate scientific discovery with options like preprints and published peer review that make your work more Open.

Benefits of Open

When science becomes more Open, we all advance.

Why Open Access matters

Most publishers own the rights to the articles in their journals–not the authors. Anyone who wants to read the articles pays a fee to access them. Institutions and libraries help provide access to paywalled research through costly negotiations. Even then, no part of the article can be reused by researchers, students, or taxpayers without permission from the publisher, often at the cost of an additional fee.

Open Access returns us to the values of science: to help advance and improve society.

By providing immediate and unrestricted access to the latest research, we can accelerate discovery and create a more equitable system of knowledge that is open to all.

I think Open Science has huge benefits, the more people you reach the better. Science should be as transparent and accessible as possible because it should be reproducible and confirmed by others, that is what gives science its power
Elias Nerad

Share your research with the world

Under an Open Access, CC-BY license, you own the copyright to your work. So you’re free to share it anywhere, anytime, with anyone. There is never a fee for readers to access, download, or share your article more widely.

Get noticed

Research shows you’re more likely to be cited when your work is more discoverable and visible. Open Access helps you get noticed and get credit. Open Access articles are also fully indexed, easily searchable, machine-readable, and open to text and data mining so anyone can find them online

Collaborate to accelerate discovery

Your work is immediately available in its entirety and free to reuse and remix with attribution. Without delays or barriers, your work helps open opportunities. When researchers can read and build on the findings of others without restriction, science advances faster.

Inform the future

Open Access allows everyone to benefit from your advancements, not just a select group of other researchers. Students, funders, policymakers, and readers from around the world all have a stake in science. By increasing visibility and access to research, we can amplify its power to inform, educate, and enlighten. 

How it works at PLOS

PLOS applies the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to everything we publish. Developed to facilitate Open Access, this license lets authors maximize the impact or their research by making it available for anyone, anywhere in the world to find, read and reuse. Under this license, authors agree to make articles legally available for reuse, without permission or fees, for virtually any purpose. Anyone may copy, distribute or reuse these articles, as long as the author and original source are properly cited.

I think it is really important that peer reviewed scientific discoveries be made freely available to the public so that they have the most impact and influence on moving science forward. The more people that have access to the work, the more people that can work to advance the findings.
Pamela Skinner
PLOS Preprints Author

Thousands of journals have adopted policies that embrace some or all of the Open Access core components. But not all Open Access is created equal.

Open doesn’t mean….

Open to some readers

Open after an embargo period

Open for a limited time


Learn more about the different levels of Open Access.

The “HowOpenIsIt?®” Open Access Spectrum (OAS) guide, created together with SPARC and the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), illustrates the continuum of Open Access features to evaluate when choosing a journal.

Access is just the beginning…

Open is about more than just being able to read or share an article. It’s about providing the right context to understand it. The resources to replicate it. The tools to collaborate and make science better. And building the framework for more equitable participation and distribution of knowledge.

Learn how Open Science practices like preprints and published peer review help make every stage of your research transparent so you can make a bigger impact.


There are many other organizations, such as SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Institute) and the Open Society Foundations that work tirelessly for progress in Open Access. You can find additional free resources to help you learn more or to advocate for Open Access journals at your institution using the Open Access Directory.


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