Open Access



Open access publications are made universally and freely accessible, at no cost to the reader. The author or copyright owner irrevocably grants to all users, for an unlimited period, the right to use, copy, or distribute the article, on condition that proper attribution is given. The exact definition of granted rights and possible limitations are captured in a license (typically defined from the range of Creative Commons licenses). The publication is deposited, immediately, in full and in a standardized electronic form, on the publisher website and/or in at least one recognized open access repository.

By 'open access' to the literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself.

Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (2003)


Goals at CERN

The CERN Open Access Policy reflects values that have been enshrined in the CERN Convention for almost seventy years, were reaffirmed in the European Strategy for Particle Physics (2020), and are becoming increasingly more important for the CERN Member States and associate Member States, the European Commission, and other institutional partners across the world.

All CERN scientific publications are to be made immediately publicly available and reusable. 

The Open Access Policy for CERN Publications (2014, updated 2017 and 2021) requires that all original research publications by CERN authors are published open access, centrally supported by the CERN Open Access fund. CERN users and visiting scientists are also encouraged to publish their work under similar terms, according to the General Conditions applicable to the Execution of Experiments.

CERN scientific publications, including submissions to trusted repositories (such as arXiv), should be released under an open licence, with CC-BY as the default standard. Publication-related metadata are made available for reuse under the CC0 waiver in line with FAIR principles (findability, accessibility, interoperability, reusability). 

Open access publishing support is also provided for monographs related to CERN experiments or accelerators, applied research processes or technologies, and other areas of relevance.


Services and activities

In order to facilitate compliance with the CERN Open Access Policy, CERN has established a number of enabling mechanisms to support authors in publishing open access. 

SCOAP3 - Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics 

SCOAP3 is a one-of-its-kind partnership of over three thousand libraries, key funding agencies and research centers in 45 countries, regions or territories and three intergovernmental organizations. Working with leading publishers, SCOAP3 has converted key journals in the field of High-Energy Physics to open access and continues to support OA publishing in these journals at no cost for authors. In addition, existing open access journals and even books and monographs are centrally supported, removing financial barriers for authors and allowing a free and easy scientific discourse in High-Energy Physics. Each country, region or territory contributes in a way commensurate to its scientific output in the field. 

Central support of CERN authors and experimental collaborations

Open Access (OA) Policy compliance for articles that do not fall in the scope of SCOAP3 is facilitated by the CERN Scientific Information Service (SIS) which provides central support for all CERN departments and experiments:

  • By negotiating agreements with publishers to enable open access publications of CERN-authored articles. Those agreements cover a wide range of publishers and journals, in many disciplines and typically combine read access to the journal content and the ability to publish open access (Read & Publish Agreements);
  • By funding, under certain conditions, individual Article Processing Charge for CERN-authored articles not covered by other agreements;
  • By providing CERN authors support for the publication of open access books and monographs;
  • By maintaining a central support for CERN authors and collaborations providing guidance and information regarding open access questions.

Participation in Open Access collective publishing initiatives

CERN supports fair, transparent and equitable open access models, where there is no barrier for the reader or the author. This includes in particular Physical Review Accelerators and Beams, SciPost and subscriptions to Open models, such as Annual Reviews.  

CERN actively supports community infrastructure initiatives needed for the operationalisation of Open Access 

CERN is committed to supporting projects and innovations that will help the Open Access movement and enable the transformation towards a full open access world. CERN currently supports arXiv, DOAB, DOAJ, OAPEN, OASwitchboard, OpenCitation, and ROR


Key contacts at CERN