Gold for Gold FAQs

We hope that authors, librarians and others will find the following FAQs useful.

What is Gold for Gold?

Gold for Gold is an innovative experiment from the RSC that enables researchers to publish their paper in RSC journals free of charge, as a Gold Open Access (OA) article, without paying the normal Article Publication Fee (APF).

Gold for Gold

An innovative initiative that allows researchers to publish Gold OA articles free of charge

How did Gold for Gold come about?

The Royal Society of Chemistry launched a pilot scheme in July 2012 to recognise the needs of researchers, who are being asked to publish Open Access (OA), but who often do not have the funding to pay for it directly. Under this initiative UK institutions that subscribe to RSC Gold (the Royal Society of Chemistry's premium collection of over 40 international journals, databases and magazines) are rewarded with voucher codes to have papers OA.
Following positive feedback and an improvement of processes and procedures, this pilot has gone global and OA voucher codes are now available worldwide to all institutions that subscribe to RSC Gold. In short, the Royal Society of Chemistry is committed to supporting the funder-led evolution to Gold OA.

The Gold for Gold pilot will be reviewed for 2017.

Subscribe to RSC Gold

Content from over 40 online journals, databases and magazines in one package, as well as a cutting-edge eBook series

Who is eligible to have an article published OA free of charge via Gold for Gold?

Any researcher based at an institution subscribing to RSC Gold.

How many articles can an institution publish Gold OA via Gold for Gold?

This will vary. An institution will receive a specific number of voucher codes to publish articles in RSC journals depending on the cost of their RSC Gold subscription.
The number of voucher codes is calculated by dividing the subscription the RSC receives from an institution, by 1,600, the Article Publication Charge (APC), for making a full paper OA. For example, if an institution pays 24,000, this would equate to 15 voucher codes (all calculations will be made in GBP based on what we receive, i.e. payments in US$ will be converted).
One voucher code equates to one article, regardless of journal or article type.

Are there any restrictions on how the voucher codes are used?

Each voucher code can be used to publish a communication, full paper, review or technical note under the RSC's Gold OA option. 

Having met these format criteria, the article must be:

  • Accepted for publication in an RSC journal. Once accepted, if the article is to be published Gold OA free of charge, it is up to the institution's representative to pass on the code to the author to be inserted into the Gold for Gold online acceptance form (see the next 2 FAQs for the role of the institution and the author).
  • Accepted in the year of your institution's renewal/subscription to RSC Gold, shown as the year of the voucher. (E.g. 2013 voucher codes can only be used for 2013 accepted articles). 
  • Authored by a researcher based at the institution holding the voucher codes          

Who authorises this process at institution-level?

Participating institutions need to nominate a representative to oversee the distribution of Gold for Gold voucher codes. This may be a librarian, or someone within the chemistry/research department. Once decided, the RSC needs to be informed who the representative is by e-mail. We will then let the representative know how many voucher codes are available for their institution, as well as providing the voucher codes themselves.
The elected representative is therefore responsible for managing and distributing voucher codes within their institution. Please contact us at the e-mail address below to request promotional materials to promote Gold for Gold in your Library or Department.

Please note that voucher codes cannot be used until an article has been accepted for publication. Consequently it would be best practice for the representative to only pass a voucher code to an author once the author's article has been accepted for publication. (for details on the author process, see the next question).

Contact Gold for Gold

What is the process for authors under this initiative?

Authors should submit articles in the same way they normally do. As with all RSC article submissions, an author should submit his/her article via ScholarOne (our submission and review system). The peer review process will then take place as usual. 

Subject to review, when the author receives notification that their article has been accepted, they should enter the appropriate voucher code in the appropriate box when filling in the Gold for Gold online acceptance form.

This voucher code will be provided to the author by the elected representative who oversees the dissemination of their institution's Gold for Gold voucher codes. (See the previous question for who this representative will be).

Whilst the article is being copyedited, typeset and proofread, the voucher code will be authenticated. Upon publication the paper will then be accessible to all as a Gold OA paper.

Link icon Manuscript Submissions
Submit your article online via Scholar One

Gold for Gold online acceptance form

Once an article has been accepted, a voucher code can be submitted in the online form

What if an institution has used up all of its Gold for Gold voucher codes?

Existing RSC Gold  customers who have used up all of their OA voucher codes can buy further voucher codes at a discount to the APC fee. These are valid until the end of 2014.

Number of voucher codes

RSC Gold Subscriber Fee







What if an Institution does not subscribe to RSC Gold?

This initiative is only available to RSC Gold customers. Authors at non-RSC Gold subscribing institutions can still publish an article via the normal channels, but this is subject to the normal APC fees. Alternatively they can buy voucher codes to publish new articles in bulk at a discount. These are valid until the end of 2014.

Number of voucher codes

Non-RSC Gold Subscriber Fee








We also offer discounts on purchases of voucher codes to publish articles retrospectively. These deals are available to both RSC Gold subscribers and non-RSC gold subscribers.


Number of voucher codes

Cost per article









Can an author publish their paper 'Green OA'?

Authors may distribute their paper as a 'Green OA' article. However, there is a 12 month embargo before the author manuscript can be released for free access. This is to ensure we can recover our publication costs to maintain our high quality publishing standards. More information about 'Green OA' is available online.

Open Access

Information on Open Access and RSC Policy

Will Gold for Gold be repeated every year?

This depends on how OA funding develops. Our intention is to support researchers in publishing Gold OA, at a time when many funders are mandating Gold OA, but have yet to confirm how they will fully support this financially.
Our decision to repeat Gold for Gold in 2013, and to roll the initiative out to the rest of the World, was based on very positive feedback from the initial UK pilot (July-Dec 2012). If and when funders fully support Gold OA, the need for Gold for Gold may diminish.

Will Gold for Gold articles result in subscription prices reducing?

The RSC is committed not to 'double dip', i.e. take payment simultaneously on both the author side (via gold open access) and reader side (via subscriptions) for the same article(s).  As such, our subscription rates are purely based on articles that do not come with author side payments (i.e. article publication fees, or APCs)
As Gold for Gold articles do not come with an APC, these are considered in the same way as any 'fee waiver' articles; with costs needing to be recovered via journal subscriptions. For this reason, articles published through the Gold for Gold project, while being openly accessible, are included in our annual subscription calculations.

What marketing materials are available to librarians?

We have posters you can put up in your library or chemistry department, as well as golden tickets which can be handed out to researchers (please see below for links to these materials). You may also like to emulate the work of UCLA and UCSF in the USA who have created blogs (please see below for links). This is an excellent way to promote Gold for Gold. UCSF has also been using author reports from those that have published previously with the Royal Society of Chemistry to target those researchers who are most likely to take advantage of this reward.

Downloadable Files

Gold for Gold Poster
PDF iconPDF (8402k)  

Golden Tickets
PDF iconPDF (58k)  

PDF files require Link icon Adobe Acrobat Reader

Related Links

Link icon UCSF Blog
Follow the link for the UCSF blog

Link icon UCLA Blog
Follow the link for the UCLA blog

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Contact and Further Information

Contact Gold for Gold

Contact us to request Gold for Gold promotional materials for your Library or Department.