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 either the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY) or the Creative Commons Attribution, NonCommercial, No Derivatives (CCBY-NC-ND); see below for more information
  2. A multidisciplinary open access mega journal (also using CC BY/CCBY-NC-ND license)
  3. Hybrid journals containing papers that are published under either a CC BY/CCBY-NC-ND 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

This license has been approved for IEEE authors due to its widespread preference by funding agencies such as the Research Councils of the United Kingdom, including the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), as well as others.  The CC BY license allows authors to retain copyright in the work, but also carries very broad rights for end users. For instance, end users may reuse the work and must always credit the original author. But the end user does not have to obtain permission from the author to reuse the work, even for commercial purposes or to create derivative works.

The Creative Commons Attribution, NonCommercial, No Derivatives (CCBY-NC-ND) License

The CCBY-NC-ND is similar to the CC BY license, in that authors are allowed to retain copyright to their work, and end users may reuse the work, provided that they credit the original author. The end user does not have to obtain permission from the authors or IEEE to reuse the work, but the reuse cannot be for commercial purposes or change the work in any way.