All Cochrane Reviews are free to view 12 months after publication and all protocols are free to view immediately upon publication (via green open access). Authors also have the option to publish with a Creative Commons licence, which enables immediate open access and other benefits, upon payment of an APC or via a fee waiver for eligible author teams (via gold open access).
Authors of Cochrane Reviews can choose one of two options for publishing their articles:
- Gold open access: immediate open access upon payment of an article publication charge fee.
- Green open access: publication via the ‘standard’ model, with free access to the full article 12 months after publication (Cochrane Reviews) or upon publication (protocols for Cochrane Reviews).
Gold open access
Immediate open access upon payment of an article publication charge fee.
Via Cochrane's publisher (Wiley's) open access service, Online Open, authors and their funders have the option to fund individual articles, or groups of articles, to enable them to be published on an open access basis immediately, using a Creative Commons licence.
Article publication charge (APC)
The APC will depend on the status of the Cochrane Review; see Table 1.
Table 1. Article publication charge (APC)
Cochrane Review status
APC in US dollars
The version of the article that will be open access immediately is the new citation version, as identified by the unique digital object identifier (DOI). If gold open access is purchased for an update, the previous versions of the review will be free to view as per green open access. Only the gold open access version will receive the benefits of gold open access; it will be free to access immediately upon publication and will be licenced via a Creative Commons licence (see Table 2).
Licence for publication
Authors paying an APC for gold open access will sign a licence for publication form that reflects the open access nature of the article (see Licence for publication: open access). Authors retain copyright and grant The Cochrane Collaboration an exclusive licence to publish the article
Table 2. Description of gold open access licences
Type of licence
Source: creativecommons.org/licenses/ (accessed 12 March 2012).
Archiving in repositories
Gold open access articles will be deposited automatically in PubMedCentral and in other repositories, as determined by funder mandates, on behalf of the authors. Authors retain the right to deposit the article in other repositories of their choice or as required by their funder (see Including Cochrane Reviews and Protocols in Scholarly Collaboration Networks and Repositories for further information). A PDF of the final version, as specified by the Publisher, will be deposited.
Waivers and discounts
An author from a HINARI A or B country (www.who.int/hinari/eligibility/en/) who is the first author of a Cochrane Review, Protocol, or Update is eligible for a waiver for the APC, provided funding for the Cochrane Review does not include funds for the APC. Qualifying authors should contact their Managing Editor before signing the licence for publication form. (Further information for Managing Editors.)
Funders should contact Deborah Pentesco-Murphy (firstname.lastname@example.org; Publisher, Wiley) to discuss discounts, such as the block purchase of APCs.
How and at what stage in the article's development is payment made for immediate open access?
Authors should contact the Managing Editor to discuss open access as early as possible and before the authors sign the licence for publication form. (Further information for Managing Editors.)
Green open access
From 21 September 2016: Cochrane Reviews* (including updates) published in the CDSR will be made free to access in the CDSR 12 months after publication. Cochrane Reviews (including updates) will also be deposited automatically in PubMedCentral, where they will become available 12 months after publication.
Protocols* for Cochrane Reviews published from 27 February 2016 are free to access immediately upon publication via the CDSR.
From 1 February 2013 to 21 September 2016: Cochrane Protocols and Reviews* (including updates) published in the CDSR, with the exception of gold open access articles (see above), will be free to access in the CDSR 12 months after publication. This will happen automatically and there is no charge for this.
*Note: This applies only to those versions published with a new citation on or after the given date.
Licence for publication form
Authors continue to retain copyright and other rights, such as archiving in certain repositories and Scholarly Collaboration Networks (SCNs), as stated in the licence for publication form, in return for granting The Cochrane Collaboration an exclusive licence for publication.
How will open access articles appear in the CDSR? Articles with gold open access are identified in the CDSR with a logo and through text describing the selected copyright licence. Articles with green open access are identified by a logo .
What if my funder mandates different criteria for open access than those outlined above?
Wiley will respect funder mandates and implement the requirements. Contact Deborah Pentesco-Murphy (email@example.com; Publisher, Wiley) for queries.
Authors funded by Research Councils UK (RCUK) and The Wellcome Trust should note that both funders have new open access policies effective from 1 April 2013. These policies state that to be compliant, journals must offer a “pay to publish” (gold OA) option. When an article publication charge is paid the policies also mandate the use of the CC-BY license. The CC-BY license allows others to modify, build upon and/or distribute the licensed work (including for commercial purposes) as long as the original author is credited.
A promotional video about the UK funder mandates and Wiley’s compliance is available.
How do Cochrane Reviews published in the CDSR fit on the ‘How open is it’ scale?
The Public Library of Science (PLOS), The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), and the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) developed the “How open is it?” guide, which shows the spectrum between open access and closed access; see www.plos.org/about/open-access/howopenisit/. The figure below shows where Cochrane Reviews fit onto this open-access spectrum for gold* and green open access (updated March 2016). The categorization is the same for Cochrane protocols, except that from February 2016, protocols are free to view upon publication as part of the green open access policy (see above).
Machine readability is one of the core components included in the guide. Contact Deborah Pentesco-Murphy (firstname.lastname@example.org; Publisher, Wiley) to discuss permission to crawl or access the article full-text, metadata, and citations, and the use of an API for this purpose.
*Note: The gold open access categorizations would change if published with a CC BY licence.
Figure 1. How open is it? Gold and green access in the CDSR