Where to publish?

Implementing the CERN Open Access Policy: a vade mecum



The CERN Open Access Policy, effective as of 1st May 2017, covers physics, instrumentation and scientific computing articles. The Policy requires CERN Authors to publish all original results Open Access. Contributions to conference proceedings are not covered by this Policy. CERN Authors are intended as Staff, Fellows and those collaborators authorized by their respective Department Heads to use the CERN affiliation, e.g. some scientific visitors, under certain conditions (see CERN Operational Circular 6).

CERN publishes about 100 articles/year in instrumentation and 900 articles/year in physics. Physics articles are evenly distributed between theory and experiment. Lists of CERN publications are available in the CERN Annual Report.

Thanks to the SCOAP3 initiative, CERN Authors can publish their high-energy physics (HEP) articles for free in the journals mostly used nowadays in the field. SCOAP3 journals currently cover 50% of the field’s publications. Journals outside the SCOAP3 agreement can be used by CERN Authors, provided they are Open Access and/or authors pay the Open Access publishing costs (see below). Since January 2018, high-energy physics content in three of the main APS journals (PRC, PRD, PRL) are also published Open Access through SCOAP3, increasing the SCOAP3 coverage about 90% of all HEP publications.

Today CERN publishes ~90% of its original articles Open Access. The CERN Open Access Policy aim for 100% Open Access publications, under a CC-BY license, for all papers signed by at least one CERN Author.

Publishing in journals that are not offering an Open Access options is no longer possible at this moment in time. Some funds have been made centrally available to allow the transition to this Open Access Policy. The following gives some indication on how CERN Authors can have their articles published Open Access, meeting the CERN Open Access Policy.



The most common outlet for CERN Accelerator articles is Physical Review Accelerators and Beams (PRAB). The journal is Gold Open Access under a sponsorship model and all authors can publish at no direct cost.



CERN Instrumentation articles are mostly published in the Journal of Instrumentation (JINST), in Nuclear Instruments and Methods A and B (NIMA+NIMB) or in IEEE journals (mainly Transactions on Nuclear Science). CERN has agreements in place with publishers of the journals to allow all CERN Authors to benefit from Open Access via centralized payments by the Scientific Information Service. Please find further details here.



The easiest way to publish Open Access is to use one of the journals participating in SCOAP3 or in journals that offer (CERN) Authors the possibility to publish Open Access at no cost. The journals of the American Physical Society participate in SCOAP3 since January 2018.

To initially facilitate the transition to a 100% Open Access coverage of CERN publications, the Experimental Physics and the Theoretical Physics Department Heads can approve support for a limited number of articles where Open Access is only available against article processing charges (APC).


Conference proceedings

Contributions to conference proceedings are not covered by the Policy, owing to the vast variety of conferences and publication venues. No central funds are made available for covering Open Access to conference proceedings. Contributions by CERN Authors should be submitted to the CERN Document Server (CDS) or arXiv.org. Conference organisers who would like to publish entire volumes of conference proceedings Open Access are invited to contact the Scientific Information Service, which can advise on existing cost-effective options through established publishers. A list of conference proceedings open access publishing options is available here.


Post Scriptum

In all circumstances, Authors can always directly pay the corresponding Open Access fees in journals which are not part of SCOAP3, e.g. with other funds (collaboration funding, European-Commission funded projects, funds from the institutes of co-authors).

CERN scientific diversity results in some 25 articles per year in many other fields, from engineering to education, from medical physics to history of physics. A very modest budget exists centrally to support authors to publish these articles Open Access. The Scientific Information Service can help understand the possible options.


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