IPLC Response to the Article Development Charge Proposed by the American Chemical Society – Ivy Plus Libraries

“The 13 Ivy Plus libraries are both surprised by and united in opposition to the zero embargo option announced by the American Chemical Society (ACS) on 21 September 2023. This unexpected new charge is a clear challenge to both authors’ rights and the developing scholarly communications ecosystem. According to this policy, an Article Development Charge (ADC) of $2,500 would be charged to authors who seek to retain and exercise the right to deposit a pre-publication version of their article in an open repository once their manuscript enters the ACS peer review process….”

COAR’s response to the American Chemical Society’s new fee for repository deposit – COAR

“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 and 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….”

ACS Article Development Charge – Google Docs

“Recently, the American Chemical Society (ACS) has introduced a new authors’ fee that charges authors $2,500 US for the right to deposit their accepted manuscript into a repository without embargo period. 

This fee is unacceptable for several reasons: …”

American Chemical Society (ACS) and authors’ rights retention | Plan S

“In this post I shall describe how the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) new zero embargo policy perpetuates an increasingly out-of-touch and outdated position taken by some publishers, who aim to prevent researchers from retaining their rights to use their own work as they choose….”

Council of Australian University Librarians and Open Access Australasia Statement on the American Chemical Society’s new Article Development Charges

“The Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) and Open Access Australasia wish to express our joint concerns over the recent introduction of the Article Development Charge (ADC) model by the American Chemical Society (ACS). At the heart of CAUL’s mission is the commitment to facilitate connection and collaboration, and optimise collective knowledge, expertise, and resources, to achieve strategic outcomes at scale in priority areas for the university library sector. As an advocacy organisation for Open Access, Open Access Australasia is committed to working towards diverse approaches to open access that support equity – both to read and publish research. We believe that the equitable pursuit of knowledge and its dissemination should be at the core of any scholarly publication model. While we recognise that publishers need to evolve in the changing landscape of scholarly communication, the current ADC approach taken by ACS raises serious concerns….”

The American Chemical Society Offers a New Twist on the Article Processing Charge: An Interview with Sarah Tegen – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Will the author have the option of withdrawing at this point, if s/he doesn’t have funds to cover the ADC? Or does the author commit to the ADC payment before the manuscript is sent out for review?

We expect a very small number of authors to elect the ADC — in the range of about 200 per year out of 200,000 annual manuscript submissions.  If an author cannot pay the ADC, they can continue on their publishing journey, but they will need to wait to post their accepted manuscript for 12 months.

Is the ADC the same amount as the APC paid by funded authors? If not, how is the difference calculated? 

The ADC is a flat fee of $2,500 for our hybrid journals, and it covers the costs associated with the many publishing services provided from submission to final editorial decision. This includes organizing, maintaining, and investing in the high-quality scholarly peer review process and multiple other services provided by an expansive global network of editors and reviewers. These costs are significant, comprising more than 50% of the overall cost of publishing the final version of record. …

To ask what is such an obvious question that it might be stupid: how does an unfunded author (who therefore presumably can’t afford an APC) benefit from being charged an ADC instead? 

Assisting authors to get published is our North Star, and we’re introducing this ADC option to help authors navigate shifting funder mandates. Funders, institutions, and publishers agree there is a real cost to scholarly publishing, and choosing an OA option is entirely voluntary. The ADC ensures the long-term integrity and quality of content published in ACS journals. We also provide cost-free pathways to publish for all authors.  

Through the read and publish agreements we have with thousands of institutions worldwide, we have shielded authors from the costs of meeting funder requirements for gold OA. These enable authors to post the final version of record to repositories immediately after publication. ACS Publications already allows those authors who cannot publish via the gold OA route to post the accepted manuscript to a repository 12 months after publication at no cost. Authors may also choose to publish through subscription access journals at no cost to them.

For authors not covered by a read and publish agreement or another pathway, our zero-embargo green OA pathway will provide an additional option to immediately share the accepted manuscript while offsetting the costs incurred to ensure the quality, value, and integrity of the research during the publishing process.”

Unlike an article publishing charge (APC), the ADC does not cover expenses related to final production, digital distribution, discovery, and hosting of the version of record or maintaining post-publication updates. For those authors who later decide to publish fully OA, the amount of the ADC will be deducted from the cost of the gold APC. Authors will not pay more than the APC required for gold OA. ADC waivers or discounts will be automatically applied to papers from corresponding authors from all countries that currently receive special country pricing for APCs….”

Publisher Wants $2,500 To Allow Academics To Post Their Own Manuscript To Their Own Repository

As a Walled Culture explained back in 2021, open access (OA) to published academic research comes in two main varieties. “Gold” open access papers are freely available to the public because the researchers’ institutions pay “article-processing charges” to a publisher. “Green” OA papers are available because the authors self-archive their work on a personal Web site or institutional repository that is publicly accessible.

The self-archived copies are generally the accepted manuscripts, rather than the final published version, largely because academics foolishly assign copyright to the publishers. This gives the latter the power to refuse to allow members of the public to read published research they have paid for with their taxes, unless they pay again with a subscription to the journal, or on a per article basis.

You might think that is unfair and inconvenient, but easy to circumvent, because the public will be able to download copies of the peer-reviewed manuscripts that the researchers self-archive as green OA. But many publishers have a problem with the idea that people can access for free the papers in any form, and demand that public access to the green OA versions should be embargoed, typically for 12 months. There is no reason for academics to agree to this other than habit and a certain deference on their part. It’s also partly the fault of the funding agencies. The open access expert and campaigner, Peter Suber, explained in 2005 why they are to blame:

Researchers sign funding contracts with the research councils long before they sign copyright transfer agreements with publishers. Funders have a right to dictate terms, such as mandated open access, precisely because they are upstream from publishers. If one condition of the funding contract is that the grantee will deposit the peer-reviewed version of any resulting publication in an open-access repository [immediately], then publishers have no right to intervene.

Accepting embargoes on green OA at all was perhaps the biggest blunder made by the open access movement and their funders. Even today, nearly 20 years after Suber pointed out the folly of letting publishers tell academics what they can do with their own manuscripts, many publishers still demand – and get – embargoes. Against this background, ACS Publications, the publishing wing of the American Chemical Society, has come up with what it calls “Zero-Embargo Green Open Access” (pointed out by Richard Poynder):

A number of funders and institutions require authors to retain the right to post their accepted manuscripts immediately upon acceptance for publication in a journal, sometimes referred to as zero-embargo green open access (OA). More than 90% of ACS authors under these mandates have a simple and funded pathway to publish gold OA in ACS journals.

For those not covered by an institutional read and publish agreement or through other types of funding, ACS offers the option to post their accepted manuscripts with a CC BY license in open access repositories immediately upon acceptance. This option expands this small subset of authors’ choices beyond the existing option to wait 12 months to post at no cost.

Great news? Well, no, because a hefty new fee must be paid:

The article development charge (ADC) is a flat fee of $2,500 USD and is payable once the manuscript is sent for peer review. The ADC covers the cost of ACS’ pre-acceptance publishing services, from initial submission through to the final editorial decision.

That is, if academics publish a paper with the ACS, their institution must pay $2,500 for the privilege of being allowed to post immediately the accepted manuscript version on their own institutional server – something that should have been a matter of course, but was weakly given up in the early days of open access, as Suber pointed out. There is a feeble attempt to justify the cost, on the basis that the $2,500 is for “pre-acceptance publishing service”. But this apparently refers to things like peer review, which is generally conducted by fellow academics for free, and decisions by journal editors, who are often unpaid too. In general, the costs involved in “pre-acceptance publishing” are negligible.

“Zero-Embargo Green Open Access” sounds so promising. But it turns out to be yet another example of the copyright industry’s limitless sense of entitlement. Publishing is constantly finding new ways to extract money from hard-pressed academic institutions – money that could be used for more research or simply paying underfunded researchers better.

This is a personal issue for me. In 2013, I spoke at a conference celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Berlin declaration on open access. More formally, the “Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities” is one of three seminal formulations of the open access idea: the other two are the Bethesda Statement (2003) and the original Budapest Open Access Initiative (2002) (all discussed in Walled Culture the book, free digital versions available). I entitled my speech “Half a Revolution”, and the slides I used can be freely downloaded from SlideShare, along with many more of my presentations.

My Berlin talk concluded with a call to action under the slogan “Zero Embargo Now” (ZEN). Back then, I looked forward to a world where all academic papers would routinely be available under green OA immediately, without any embargo. I’m still waiting.

Follow me @glynmoody on Mastodon. This post originally appeared on Walled Culture.

ACS Publications provides a new option to support zero-embargo green open access – American Chemical Society

“Beginning Oct. 1, 2023, the Publications Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS) will provide authors with a new option to satisfy funder requirements for zero-embargo green open access. Through this pathway, authors will be able to post accepted manuscripts with a CC BY license in open access repositories immediately upon acceptance.

To ensure a sustainable model of delivering services from submission to final editorial decision, ACS Publications is introducing an article development charge (ADC) as part of this new zero-embargo green open access option. The ADC covers the cost of ACS’ publishing services through the final editorial decision….”

Zero-Embargo Green Open Access – ACS Open Science

“A number of funders and institutions require authors to retain the right to post their accepted manuscripts immediately upon acceptance for publication in a journal, sometimes referred to as zero-embargo green open access (OA). More than 90% of ACS authors under these mandates have a simple and funded pathway to publish gold OA in ACS journals.

For those not covered by an institutional read and publish agreement or through other types of funding, ACS offers the option to post their accepted manuscripts with a CC BY license in open access repositories immediately upon acceptance. This option expands this small subset of authors’ choices beyond the existing option to wait 12 months to post at no cost.


An article development charge (ADC) will be applied if the zero-embargo green OA route is requested and the manuscript is recommended to be sent out for peer review. The ADC covers the cost of ACS’ publishing services through the final editorial decision….”

ACS, Elsevier, and ResearchGate resolve litigation, with solution to support researchers

ACS and Elsevier, members of the Coalition for Responsible Sharing, have agreed to a legal settlement with ResearchGate that ensures copyright-compliant sharing of research articles published with ACS or Elsevier on the ResearchGate site. The lawsuits pending against ResearchGate in Germany and the United States are now resolved. The specific terms of the parties’ settlement are confidential. Dr. James Milne, Chair of the Coalition for Responsible Sharing and President, ACS Publications, said: “The settlement is good news for researchers. ACS, Elsevier, and ResearchGate have agreed on a technical solution that enables authors who have published research articles with ACS or Elsevier to share their work on the ResearchGate platform in a copyright-compliant way. Automated checks occur instantly at the point of upload, helping researchers to save time. “I’d like to thank all parties for their cooperation on this solution. Asking the courts to resolve ResearchGate’s responsibilities in connection with copyright compliance was a necessary step. Publishers in the Coalition for Responsible Sharing actively promote and enable the sharing of research articles as they support researchers to make progress that benefits society. We’re pleased that this settlement helps remove uncertainty for researchers sharing their work on the ResearchGate site.” Ijad Madisch, Co-Founder and CEO of ResearchGate, added: “Today’s joint announcement marks a new chapter in the relationship between ACS, Elsevier, and ResearchGate, and we’re pleased to have landed on an automated solution that makes it easier for authors to share works published with ACS and Elsevier on ResearchGate. This automated solution performs a series of checks to determine applicable sharing options at the point of upload – with no additional overhead for researchers. This helps scientists and researchers who use ResearchGate every day, and we look forward to continuing to work with publishers across the industry to deliver the best solutions for researchers.” At the point of upload, the ResearchGate platform will check rights information for ACS and Elsevier published content. ResearchGate will then immediately determine how the content can be shared on its site. Authors can store their copyrighted ACS and Elsevier published Version of Record articles privately in their ResearchGate profiles and share them privately when requested by other users. The platform also identifies articles that may be shared publicly. -Ends-

The American Chemical Society acquires ChronosHub, an open access management platform – American Chemical Society

“The American Chemical Society (ACS) is proud to announce that ChronosHub is joining ACS as an independent subsidiary working alongside ACS Publications to enhance the publication experience for researchers.

As an ardent supporter of authors and open science, it was a natural fit for ACS to invest in ChronosHub — an innovative open access (OA) management platform that streamlines publishing workflows and ensures effective collaboration between all stakeholders. Together, ACS and ChronosHub will develop a new state-of-the-art, OA-friendly publishing experience that will simplify the complexities of today’s scientific publishing environment….”

ACS Publications Flips the Switch to Simpler, Easier Open Access Reporting | ACS Publications Chemistry Blog

“As part of our ongoing commitment to open science, ACS Publications is pleased to announce that later this year, we will join the OA Switchboard initiative alongside other publishing partners such as Oxford University Press, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and Cambridge University Press. OA Switchboard is a mission-driven initiative designed to simplify the sharing and reporting of open access journal information throughout the entire publishing process….”

68% of ‘transformative journals’ to be kicked out of Plan S scheme – Research Professional News

“Coalition S strategy head criticises efforts from American Chemical Society, Elsevier and Springer Nature

Just over two-thirds of the ‘transformative journals’ permitted to receive funding from organisations participating in the Plan S open-access initiative are to be kicked out of the scheme for failing to meet their targets.

Under Plan S, a group of international funders require papers reporting research they have supported to be made openly available immediately under certain conditions. These include that the funders will only pay for publication in hybrid journals—which combine open-access and subscription options—if those journals have committed to transforming to full open access at a given rate.

Coalition S, the participating funder group, announced on 20 June that it would remove 1,589 out of 2,326 journals (68 per cent) from the transformative journals scheme. It said they failed to meet their requirements to increase their share of open-access content by 5 percentage points annually on an absolute basis and 15 per cent annually on a relative basis, and to revoke the subscription option once 75 per cent of articles are made openly available.

The scheme, launched in 2020, is designed to encourage the transition of subscription-based scholarly publishing to full and immediate open access….”