15 December 2020

AAS Joins Other Physics-Related Societies in Support of Open Access


** Contact details appear below. **

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) and 15 other major physics-related professional societies, which together support researchers with the publication of more than 75,000 peer-reviewed journal articles each year, have joined forces to show their commitment to open access (OA) for physics research.

The group comprises 16 societies: Acoustical Society of America; American Association of Physicists in Medicine; American Association of Physics Teachers; American Astronomical Society; American Crystallographic Association; American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; American Institute of Physics; American Physical Society; AVS Science & Technology of Materials, Interfaces, and Processes; Chinese Physical Society; European Physical Society; Institute of Physics; Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine; Laser Institute of America; Optical Society (OSA); and Society of Rheology.

Physics Societies' Names and Logos
Courtesy IOP Publishing

In a joint statement, “Achieving Greater Open Access in Physics” (available as a PDF), the societies detail how they have long embraced open science and open access to research results. Their proactive engagement, such as the launch of high-quality OA journals (including the Planetary Science Journal, launched earlier this year by the AAS and its Division for Planetary Sciences), switching hybrid journals to full OA, and establishing transformative agreements with stakeholders, has contributed to an average annual growth in OA physics articles of more than 25%, compared with an overall average annual growth in physics articles of around 2%.

Having supported open publishing in physics and related disciplines for decades, the group’s common ambition is that all OA models provide financially sustainable support for author choice and the quality of peer-review and publication upon which excellent research relies.

The statement highlights how policies, such as the proposed cOAlition S Rights Retention Strategy, could undermine the viability of high-quality hybrid journals and the important role they play in balancing OA expansion with the researcher’s freedom to publish where they choose. It stresses the need for broader international financial support for OA to be in place before hybrid journals can fully transition, pointing out that adjustments to the global flow of funding will take time.

The group also acknowledges the strong culture of sharing results before peer review via preprint platforms and calls for funders to increase their recognition and encouragement for this practice in physics as a complement to peer-reviewed journal publication.

The joint statement is a call for a pragmatic, inclusive, and sustainable approach to OA. It is also a commitment, as major physics societies representing the interests of their communities, to work together to make it happen.


Rick Fienberg
AAS Press Officer
+1 202-328-2010 x116
Rachael Harper
IOP Publishing
+44 (0) 7902 708 981

“Achieving Greater Open Access in Physics” Position Statement (PDF):

Image (1081 x 1081 pixel, 444-kilobyte PNG):
The names and logos of 16 physics-related societies jointly issuing a statement in support of open-access publishing on 15 December 2020. Credit: IOP Publishing

The American Astronomical Society (AAS), established in 1899, is the major organization of professional astronomers in North America. Its membership (approx. 8,000) also includes physicists, mathematicians, geologists, engineers, and others whose research interests lie within the broad spectrum of subjects now comprising the astronomical sciences. The mission of the AAS is to enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the universe, which it achieves through publishing, meeting organization, science advocacy, education and outreach, and training and professional development.