The American Chemical Society (ACS) has just announced four new initiatives that, taken together, expand the range of options available to authors, readers, researchers, and others interested (perhaps as a matter of principle) in the expansion of access to scholarship, particularly scholarship that was funded by taxpayer-supported government granting agencies such as the National Institutes of Health or the National Science Foundation.
* ACS Central Science, a new, highly selective, peer-reviewed journal that will be completely open access, to launch in 2014.
* ACS Editors’ Choice will release one article each day during 2014, to be available open access; the articles will be selected by the scientific editors of ACS journals from articles published in 2014 (this seems a little random, like subscribing to a Word of the Day to enrich your vocabulary, but could create an interesting body of material).
* ACS Author Rewards provides credits to the corresponding author of articles published during 2014. The credits can be used towards paying Open Access publishing fees during 2015-17 (ACS charges a standard fee for publishing OA, with significant discounts to ACS members affiliated with a subscribing institution).
* ACS AuthorChoice expands its options for authors to pay fees to make their articles immediately available to all. Author Choice has been an option since 2006, so this is not a major departure from previous practice, but authors can now choose between immediate or (less expensive) 12-month embargoed open availability of their articles (I could not help but notice that overall ACS Author Choice fees, as posted, will go up some 25% in 2014, so perhaps this last initiative is a bit of a wash) (see 2013 pricing options, Option A vs. 2014 AuthorChoice options).
Coming just after ACS’ announcement of the completion of its project to digitize and make freely available the historic supporting information for published ACS articles (“ACS Digitizes Legacy Data (and makes it freely available to all“), these are real advances in support of ACS’ mission to ““to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people.”