AGU Acceleration to Open Access with Geophysical Research Letters transition

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AGU is committed to the principles of open science and FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) data.  To support that, over the last decade, AGU has begun to shift its journals to open access as part of our mission to support a global community in advancing Earth and space sciences. Today nine of our 23 journals are fully open access, and nearly half of all articles in AGU journals are open access upon publication.

When AGU’s Board of Directors met this year, they chose to deepen the commitment to open access through the following three key initiatives:

  1. Accelerating the transition to open access for our journals, including transitioning Geophysical Research Letters to fully open access in January 2023.
  2. Committing to transitioning at least one journal to fully open access per year over the next five years.
  3. Dedicating a fund for the expansion of article publication waivers of article publication charges for authors who need it, and continuing to explore publication models and innovations that will help to reduce direct costs.

In discussions with AGU’s Publications Committee, journal editors, Council, and Board, the guiding principle has been to balance open science, inclusivity, and sustainability. The above initiatives are built on AGU’s commitment to the principles of open science and FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable) data, and to inclusive publishing through efforts to expand author, editor, and reviewer participation.

Through our transition of Space Weather and Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems to open access over the past three years, we have seen the challenges that open access fees present to authors and editorial teams. While many authors now have access to funding via institutional transformational agreements and open access accounts, it can be confusing to determine which journals are covered and whether funding has been depleted for the year.

In response to these challenges, AGU is expanding its guidance and customer service to help authors navigate access to these institutional funds and how to request waivers from a new dedicated AGU fund when there is no institutional funding available.

Scholarly research is more important than ever to catalyze discovery and to help solve the urgent problems our world is facing today. AGU’s leadership, editors, and staff remain committed to ensuring that its journals and publications are a powerful force for positive change in the world.

AGU’s progress toward open access

  1. AGU’s subscription journals all have immediate gold open access license options for those that require them.
  2. In 2022, nine of AGU’s 23 journals are fully open access. AGU’s fully open access journals are committed to providing article publication charge waivers for those without access to funding.
  3. We encourage sharing of a preprint of the article which can be the accepted article after peer review and includes the option of a Creative Commons license (CC-BY) on the preprint.
  4. AGU, in partnership with other societies, operates the Earth and Space Science Open Archive as one free option for preprint servers.
  5. Many of our authors have access to transformational agreements or funds from their institutions to cover fees for open access. We’ve increased our guidance and support for authors to ensure eligible papers get access to this funding.
  6. All AGU members have full access to AGU journals included as part of their membership ($50 standard membership/$20 student membership).
  7. Authors may post the final PDF of their articles at their personal website or institutional website/repository after 6 months regardless of the article license.
  8. All subscription articles are open after 24 months.
  9. AGU journals are available for free to institutions in countries with the lowest gross national income (GNI) per capita through Research4Life. Research4Life provides free and low-cost access to more than 10,500 institutions in over 125 lower- and middle-income countries.
  10. AGU requires research data and software to be findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR) and provides guidance for selecting appropriate repositories.


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