Open access (OA) in IEEE publications marks a significant step outside of IEEE's traditional publication model. For many years, IEEE required authors to transfer their copyright to IEEE at manuscript submission, thereby giving IEEE the ability to:

  1. Protect the published content against various forms of misuse and abuse
  2. Safeguard the authors' interests

However, for many authors, their institutions and funding agencies today want to make their research results more readily available to all readers.

In recognizing these interests, IEEE is committed to helping authors gain the broadest exposure for their research by offering the following three options for OA publishing:

  1. Fully open access journals using the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY); see below for more information
  2. A multidisciplinary open access mega journal (also using CC BY license)
  3. Hybrid journals containing papers that are published under either a CC BY license or a traditional copyright transfer

All three options are designed to meet the varying needs of authors throughout their careers.

The Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license
Some funding agencies require their research authors to use specific publication licenses in place of a traditional copyright transfer if a portion of their grants are to be used to pay article processing charges (APCs). Two such funding agencies are the Wellcome Trust and the Research Councils of the United Kingdom (RCUK), both of which require authors to use the CC BY license. In addition, some authors whose work has not been supported by such funding agencies also want to use the CC BY license. In either case, these authors should complete the electronic IEEE Copyright Form and select the CC BY license.