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 IEEE Open Access Publishing Agreement (OAPA) or the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY); see below for more information
  2. A multidisciplinary open access mega journal (also using either the OAPA or CC BY license)
  3. Hybrid journals containing papers that are published under either the OAPA, 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 IEEE Open Access Publishing Agreement

The OA publication model is supported in large part by the IEEE Open Access Publishing Agreement, which is available for immediate use. The agreement serves four important purposes:

  1. An explicit promise is made to OA authors that IEEE will present their work with free access to all users.
  2. OA authors are assured that they are free to post the final, published version of their articles on their personal websites, their employers' sites, or their funding agency's sites.
  3. The OAPA gives IEEE sufficient legal rights to resolve any complaints of abuse (such as infringement and plagiarism) of the authors’ content.
  4. The OAPA allows users to copy the work, as well as to translate it or to reuse it for text/data mining, as long as the usage is for non-commercial purposes.

IEEE authors who want to submit their manuscripts under an OA license are encouraged to use the IEEE OAPA.

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.

Interested authors may also email a request to The email should declare the authors' interest in submitting their manuscripts under a CC BY license and should also provide basic information about the manuscript (e.g., author names, article title, and IEEE publication title to which the manuscript is being submitted). Authors who need to satisfy their funding agency’s requirement(s) should also identify the specific agency. The IEEE IPR Office will respond with an acceptance letter indicating that the use of the CC BY license has been approved.