RSC launches £1 million Gold for Gold as Open Access transition begins

The Royal Society of Chemistry has announced a groundbreaking £1 million initiative to support British researchers as they begin the transition to Gold Open Access (OA).

‘Gold for Gold’ is an innovative experiment to support the funder led evolution to Gold OA, by recognising institutes that subscribe to RSC Gold, a premium collection of 37 international journals, databases and magazines offering online access to all published material.

UK institutes who are RSC Gold customers will shortly receive credit equal to the subscription paid, enabling their researchers, who are being asked to publish Open Access but often do not yet have funding to pay for it directly, to make their paper available via Open Science, the RSC’s Gold OA option.

Read more about this announcement….

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2 Responses to “RSC launches £1 million Gold for Gold as Open Access transition begins”

  1. The seemingly selfless offer from the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) to pay £1 million in hybrid Gold OA fees for its authors at institutions that subscribe to all the RSC’s 72 journals is in reality a self-interested strategy for locking in RSC’s current publishing revenue streams should the research community prove foolish enough to seek OA via the slow and costly route of paying pre-emptively for Gold OA instead of providing cost-free Green OA by self-archiving their refereed final drafts free for all online.

    The hybrid Gold “membership/transition” strategy is not new: The same Trojan Horse offer has been made by Springer (but with little uptake) for a few years now, with a promise to lower subscription fees “proportionately” as hybrid Gold uptake rises.

    The irony is doubled (and along with it the foolishness of researchers who fall for this option) by the fact that both RSC and Springer have already formally recognized their authors’ right to provide immediate, unembargoed Green OA. See: SHERPA/ROMEO

  2. James Milne says:

    Many thanks for the comment above. As MD Publishing at the RSC, I thought it might be useful to respond…

    The initiative is really there to help researchers at a time when funders are mandating OA yet funding to support APCs isn’t really in place. Government and funder preference is clearly for Gold OA, and this reflects the independent findings of the Finch Group. Green OA is not seen as a sustainable model in the long term.

    Gold OA is not slower than Green (indeed, it provides immediate open access rather than delayed). Similarly, Green OA is not ‘cost free’ – there are many acknowledged costs in ensuring high quality scientific publishing.

    Feedback on the ‘Gold for Gold’ initiative has been incredibly positive. Indeed, we have received enquiries from outside the UK, encouraging expansion to include other regions.

    To quote a recent blog (Ref:
    “Those with a large publication program could do worse in the short term than look very closely at the announcement from the UK Royal Society of Chemistry last week. […] This is very clever for the RSC, it allows it to help institutions prepare effectively for changes in UK policy, it costs them nothing, and lets them experiment with a route to transition to full open access at relatively low risk.”

    It’s exactly this help for scientists and institutions during the transition that we aim to support.

    Hope this helps clarify our positive intention behind ‘Gold for Gold’.

    James Milne PhD
    MD Publishing, RSC
    Cambridge, UK

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