(San Mateo, CA, USA, April 5, 2022) —Today, the leading nonprofit publisher Annual Reviews announced that over the next 18 months they will make their entire portfolio of 51 academic journals freely available to everyone under a new model called Subscribe to Open. These highly cited journals cover topics across the sciences, including astronomy, environmental science, genomics, marine science, public health, and sociology.
Last year, Annual Reviews published 1,200 articles that synthesized and integrated information from more than 144,000 individual research publications. “Each article is a treasure trove of knowledge that captures the current understanding of a topic and helps map out the future of science,” said Annual Reviews President and Editor-in-Chief Richard Gallagher. “By making them available to all academics and students, wherever they live and work, and also to a broader audience of policy makers and activists, corporations and workers, doctors and patients, we can contribute to more rapid and inclusive societal progress based on research.”
Tracey L. Meares, the Walton Hale Hamilton Professor of Law, a Founding Director of The Justice Collaboratory at Yale Law School and Co-Editor of the Annual Review of Criminology said “As a scholar at an elite university, I am lucky to have seamless access to any research journal I would like. But, I am all too aware through my work with policing agencies, prosecutors and other institutional actors on the ground that paywalls prevent those who really need access to high quality research from having access to it. Even staff at the White House cannot always access Annual Reviews! Moving Annual Reviews to open access using Subscribe to Open is critical for good policy.”
Subscribe to Open offers immediate, transparent, and equitable conversion to open access for readers and authors in all disciplines. Under the model, existing institutional customers continue to subscribe to the journals. If support remains sufficient, every new volume will be published open access under a Creative Commons license. If support proves insufficient, the paywall will be retained.
Curtis Brundy, Associate University Librarian for Scholarly Communications and Collections at Iowa State University, said “The Subscribe to Open model allows libraries to align their collection spending with their values. It offers equity for authors and for readers. Open models that utilize article processing charges erect barriers in front of authors who are unable to pay. Subscribe to Open elegantly avoids this issue, providing an equitable solution to all.”
Virginia Steel, University Librarian for the Young Research Library at the University of California, Los Angeles and member of the Annual Reviews Business Affairs Committee said “University libraries have a long-standing commitment to make research and scholarship widely available so that students, faculty, and others everywhere are able to access the materials they need at no cost to readers. Annual Reviews pioneered the Subscribe to Open model several years ago, and the use and impact of the review articles in those publications has increased manyfold as more people around the globe have been able to use them. Their announcement today of the launch of Subscribe to Open for all Annual Reviews is a major step forward.”
In a pilot, the Annual Review of Public Health—2022 volume published today—has seen usage increase eight-fold in comparison to usage under toll access. In 2020, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Annual Reviews temporarily opened access to all of its titles. Substantial increases in readership, typically more than four-fold, were seen across all journals. It was these practical impacts that compelled the company to move forward in implementing Subscribe to Open across all titles.
Randy Schekman, Nobel Laureate and professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley, said “The transition of Annual Reviews to a full open access model will greatly benefit scholars around the world. As a former Editor of an Annual Review journal and as an advocate of open access in my role as the founding Editor of eLife, I am delighted that their full range of scholarship will be available to all.”
Ashok Gadgil, Faculty Senior Scientist, Energy Technologies Area at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Co-Editor of the Annual Review of Environment and Resources (already piloting open access through Subscribe to Open), said "Now the Annual Review of Environment and Resources’ cutting-edge reviews on the biggest issues facing our planet—and our species—is available for free to anyone, anywhere. It offers everyone the chance to deeply understand our shared challenges from a politically neutral perspective that is rigorously grounded in the best science."
About Annual Reviews: Annual Reviews is an independent nonprofit publisher dedicated to synthesizing and integrating knowledge for the progress of science and benefit of society. Visit https://www.annualreviews.org and follow @AnnualReviews.