Update on Open Access for AAS Journals

4 April 2022

As of 1 January 2022, all of the journals of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) are fully open access (OA). This means that past, present, and future articles published in AAS journals are all immediately open for anyone to freely read.

Impact on the Journals

The transition to the OA model has been well received by the community, and this is reflected in our recent author and reader numbers. In the several months since the transition, weekly submission counts to the journals have remained strong, falling within range of previous years.

On the readership side, average article downloads have skyrocketed since the journals switched to OA, increasing by more than 250% relative to the equivalent download numbers for the previous year.

Waivers and Discounts

Under the new model, accessing AAS journal articles is free — but what about the costs for authors?

We believe that publishing in AAS journals should be an option for everyone, regardless of their financial resources. For this reason, the Society has established an expanded waiver program for authors who aren’t able to afford article publication charges. Authors can request waivers for 5–100% of their article’s publication charges, depending on their circumstances and the journal of submission. More information about the waiver program can be found on the AAS Journals website.

In addition to the waiver program, there exists a standing discount for all AAS members who renew or join the AAS during the Society’s annual renewal drive in early September through December. Member discounts provide 15% off of article publication charges for one article in the subsequent membership year.

AAS submissions
Number of manuscripts submitted to AAS journals each week, for the first 15 weeks of the year, for 2018–2022. Submission numbers for 2022 — i.e., since the transition to OA — have remained consistent with past years.
AAS article downloads
Comparison of the number of AAS article downloads between the dates of 1 January and 17 March for the years of 2021 and 2022. The numbers are broken down by journal (AJ, ApJ, ApJL, ApJS, and PSJ) and the total downloads are given on the right.

Looking Forward

We’ve been delighted to see the positive reception to the AAS journals’ transition to open access. The latest submission and download statistics give us confidence in the sustainability of the OA model for AAS journals and demonstrate the benefit of this broader access to our authors and the community. Increased awareness of our waiver program will help keep publishing with AAS inclusive and equitable.

We hope you’ll decide that AAS journals are a good fit for your research the next time you’re seeking to publish! In the meantime, if you have any questions or wish to provide feedback, please don’t hesitate to contact us at OAquestions@aas.org.