FREE TO READ FAQ
February 15, 2011
On February 15, 2011, the FREE TO READ program was superseded by a new open access initiative, and is therefore no longer being offered.
Since its inception in 2006, nearly 200 papers have been added to the program, not counting the 107 additional papers that APS has voluntarily included, thereby allowing readers and students to access these important papers freely, without any barriers. The quiet success of FREE TO READ, along with initiatives undertaken by APS and other organizations, indicated that a more fully open access program is in the interests of our authors, readers, their institutions, and some funders.
Accordingly, as of February 15, 2011, authors in most Physical Review journals have the option to pay an article-processing charge whereby their accepted manuscripts are made available barrier-free and open access. These manuscripts are published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (CC-BY), the most permissive of the CC licenses, which permits authors and others to copy, distribute, transmit, and adapt the work, provided that proper credit is given. Unlike the FREE TO READ program, the article-processing charges have been set to cover all costs, thus providing a sustainable model. Consequently, they are significantly higher than those for FREE TO READ articles. The new charges also decrease the need for subscription revenue and will help to keep APS's subscription price-per-article among the lowest of any physics journals.
Also, as of February 15, 2011, the majority of papers added to the FREE TO READ program were migrated into the new open access initiative.
For more details, please see our announcement.
What is FREE TO READ?
FREE TO READ is an Open Access initiative of the American Physical Society (APS). Via this program, anyone (authors, readers, institutions, funding agencies, etc.) may, by paying a one-time fee, make articles published in Physical Review A-E, Physical Review Letters, and Reviews of Modern Physics available to all readers at no cost and without a subscription. Readers will have access to the PDF and postscript versions of the FREE TO READ articles through the APS online journals.
How much does it cost to make an article FREE TO READ?
The current FREE TO READ fees will be $975 for articles in Physical Review A-E and $1300 for Letters in Physical Review Letters. Articles in Reviews of Modern Physics, due to their large size and the limited number published annually, will be considered on a case-by-case basis by special arrangement. The higher price associated with PRL is due to its higher cost per published article (because of its stringent acceptance criteria). The current pricing does not recover the full cost for review and composition, but since these fees will initially augment subscription revenues, the APS is willing to keep them below cost-recovery levels.
Who pays to make an article FREE TO READ?
Anyone can pay to make an article accessible to all readers. Authors, readers, institutions, funding agencies, parents, grandparents, etc. can pay the fee.
How do I pay to make an article FREE TO READ?
Payments of the FREE TO READ charge will be made directly to the APS. A PDF form is available electronically at [NO LONGER AVAILABLE]. Once payment is received the article will become FREE TO READ.
What are the risks to the APS?
APS will be facing significant risks - the possible loss of revenue due to loss of subscriptions if a large number of articles are converted to FREE TO READ, lack of sustainability in the event of lost subscriptions, and the loss of income and customers if it is necessary to revert back to the subscription model. Even with these risks, APS is determined to extend every effort to make this model successful; and if successful, this initiative represents a path by which APS could gradually transition to full open access. Martin Blume, the Editor in Chief, states that "APS is a financially stable organization willing to take risks to support the community," and it is with the community in mind that APS is offering FREE TO READ. The fees associated with FREE TO READ will be adjusted as necessary to maintain APS's ability to sustain this initiative.
How will the APS use the FREE TO READ revenue?
The revenues from FREE TO READ will partially offset the risks to the APS, but they will primarily be used to help lower the current subscription rates of the smallest (lowest tier) institutions.
If an article is made FREE TO READ, what does the reader get to see?
FREE TO READ says it all. Readers have access to the PDF and postscript versions of selected articles. Thus, the background, methods, data, and analysis are all available to the reader at no cost and without a subscription. Additional features, such as links to references and citing articles, remain part of the subscription and are not available through FREE TO READ.
How will I know if an article is available through FREE TO READ?
FREE TO READ articles are marked in the Table of Contents and on the abstract page by our distinct icon . Readers will also note that the "Buy Article" option will not be available; and to access the article, the reader simply clicks on the PDF or GZipped PS link.
Who retains copyright?
The copyright to the article will remain with the American Physical Society.
If I wish to reuse or republish a FREE TO READ article or a portion of the article, do I need to request permission?
Yes, you must request permission from the author of the article or the American Physical Society. Please see the APS copyright agreement, details at http://forms.aps.org/author/copytrnsfr.pdf.
Can I post FREE TO READ articles on any website?
No. As stipulated in the APS copyright agreement, articles can be posted on the author's or the author's institution's website. To post the article anywhere else requires the permission of the APS.
Is FREE TO READ limited to newly published articles?
No, any article or group of articles published in the Journals of the American Physical Society, back to 1893, can be made FREE TO READ!
Do you need the author's permission to make an article FREE TO READ?
How long does a FREE TO READ article remain freely available to readers?
Even if the APS decides to discontinue the FREE TO READ program, the articles already marked as FREE TO READ will remain open to readers.
Will APS continue to offer FREE TO READ indefinitely?
This is impossible to predict. Though the APS is committed to make the program sustainable, it is very important that the journals remain financially viable and continuation of the FREE TO READ program will be continually reviewed.
Can I get an RSS feed for only FREE TO READ articles?
Yes. RSS feeds for FREE TO READ articles are available at http://feeds.aps.org/.
How will FREE TO READ affect subscription costs?
Though FREE TO READ fees will augment our current subscription income, we anticipate that some subscriptions may be lost if a significant number of articles become freely accessible. Therefore, a percentage of the collected fees will be used to offset such losses. Revenue beyond that needed to cover losses in subscriptions will be used to lower subscription prices for the institutions in the lowest pricing tiers. It is hoped that this will reduce the attrition of subscriptions in this group.
How does FREE TO READ affect other author charges (publication charges, color-in-print, etc.)?
The FREE TO READ fees are independent of the other author charges. There is an expectation that authors will pay all the appropriate charges and fees associated with publication.
What do I do if I have additional questions concerning FREE TO READ?
You should direct your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.