2015 - All Press Releases

Over 60% of 2015 research articles on nature.com are open access

Nature Publishing Group publishes 63% of research articles via open access models; 96% of authors choose CC BY

London, 20 October 2015

Open access is thriving at Nature Publishing Group (NPG). Sixty three per cent of original research articles published to date on nature.com in 2015 are open access, nearly 10,000 papers. Ten years ago, NPG introduced its first fully open access journal. Today, NPG publishes over 80 journals with an open access option. 

In January 2015, NPG introduced Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY) as the default open access license option on its 20+ fully owned open access journals in January 2015. The percentage of authors choosing CC BY across all of NPG’s open access journals has risen dramatically - from 26% in 2014 to 96% in September 2015. Other licenses are still available on demand.

This week is global Open Access Week, and also marks one year since NPG, now part of Springer Nature, announced that Nature Communications would become its flagship open access journal.

Sam Burridge, Managing Director, Open Research at Springer Nature said: “We believe we’re the first of the longstanding science publishers to reach the landmark of over 60% open access content. By switching Nature Communications to full open access one year ago, we demonstrated our willingness to take a bold step and innovate in the open research space, creating a home for the highest quality open research. And we’re encouraging our authors to choose more permissive licenses too.

“By combining our portfolio with BioMed Central, Springer Open and Springer Plus, Springer Nature is the largest publisher of open access articles. But we want to lead on offering outstanding service in open access to authors, not just on scale. We also want to lead the research community in innovation, which is why we are prioritising ‘open research’ - including open data. Our goal is to release the enormous positive power that open approaches can have in facilitating collaborative and interdisciplinary research to solve today’s global challenges.”

Nature Communications has gone from strength to strength in the last year. It is now the leading open access journal in the multidisciplinary science field,* and number three in its Journals Citation Report category after Nature and Science. Research has also shown that open access articles published in Nature Communications are more highly viewed and cited**. Submissions to Nature Communications have increased from 1600 per month in 2014 to 2000 per month in 2015.

As the latest step in Nature Communications’ transition, NPG will be making all the legacy subscription content in the journal free to access from January 2016. This includes archives and backfiles. All new content published in Nature Communications in 2016 will be open access, with CC BY as the default license.

Yesterday in China, NPG announced npj Pollution Control, a new open access journal in partnership with Tongji University, Shanghai. The journal aims to publish original, high quality research results and breakthroughs in a broad area of environmental science and engineering with relevance to prevention, control, monitoring and mitigation of environmental pollution, to address this global challenge spanning a number of disciplines.

NPG is involved in a number of events across the globe for Open Access Week, from the USA to UK, China and Australia, involving authors, librarians and early career researchers. A full list can be found here.


*Journal Citation Report 2014, Science Edition (Thomson Reuters, 2015)

** Research published in the journal Scientometrics found Nature Communications articles published open access received higher citations than non-open access content. It also found that open access papers not only have higher total downloads, but experience a more sustained number of downloads over a longer period, where non-open access articles have a shorter period of attention. This supports a study carried out by the Research Information Network of articles published in Nature Communications, which found that open access articles are viewed three times more than non-open access content.

A list of all open access journals at NPG can be found here


Amy Bourke-Waite
Senior Communications Manager
Nature Publishing Group/Palgrave Macmillan
T: +44 (0)20 7843 4603 | M: +44 (0) 7703717212

About Nature Publishing Group (NPG)
Nature Publishing Group (NPG) is a publisher of high impact scientific information in print and online. NPG publishes journals, online databases and services across the life, physical, chemical and applied sciences.

Focusing on the needs of scientists, Nature (founded in 1869) is the leading weekly, international scientific journal. NPG publishes a range of Nature research journals and Nature Reviews journals, and a range of prestigious academic and partner journals including society-owned publications. Online, nature.com provides over 8 million visitors per month with access to NPG publications and services, including news and comment from Nature, and the leading scientific jobs board Naturejobs.

About Springer Nature
Springer Nature is a leading global research, educational and professional publisher, home to an array of respected and trusted brands providing quality content through a range of innovative products and services. Springer Nature is the world’s largest academic book publisher, publisher of the world’s highest impact journals and a pioneer in the field of open research. The company numbers almost 13,000 staff in over 50 countries and has a turnover of approximately EUR 1.5 billion. Springer Nature was formed in 2015 through the merger of Nature Publishing Group, Palgrave Macmillan, Macmillan Education and Springer Science+Business Media.