Methodology & Notes



This dashboard is based on analysis of data from Scopus, Elsevier, ESAC initiative and the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) and will be updated annually each October. 


Scopus data in the form of two separate datasets (overview by countries/regions and overview by funder) was analysed via Microsoft PowerBI. Input data has been enriched by the means of lookup tables, to enable splits by:

  • Open Access types
  • Discipline (STM vs SSH)
  • Regions (i.e. groups of countries)
  • Research4Life eligible countries/regions
  • Funders

Data visualisations from PowerBI have subsequently been exported in csv format for visualisation using the Flourish platform.

Each article, review and conference paper considered in this dashboard was assigned to unique categories for the purposes of analysis and visualisation. For example, where the country/region is displayed, this only reflects the country of the corresponding author, while the countries/regions of co-authors are not shown. Similarly, articles, reviews and conference papers have been assigned to a unique discipline, based on the Science-Metrix Classification of Scientific Journals, and each article, review or conference paper was assigned to a unique OA type (e.g. a gold OA article deposited in an institutional repository is only counted once as gold OA rather than twice as gold OA and green OA). Although this approach introduces an extent of simplification, it was necessary to avoid double counting in our analysis.

To understand whether an author was offered gold open access, but did not take it up, Scopus and Elsevier data was examined to establish whether gold open access was used by other publications in the journal. If at least one of the articles in the journal in a given year was published gold open access, then the entire journal is considered to have offered gold open access to all authors in that publication year. 

With each annual update there will be slight variation across the dataset due to the continuous updating and refinement of the data held within Scopus.


Scopus defines articles as based on original research or opinion, review papers as significant reviews of original research that has already been published, and conference papers as original articles reporting data presented at a conference or symposium.  For further information, please see the Scopus Content Coverage Guide.   

Scopus records were mapped to the Science-Metrix Classification of Scientific Journals (7th public release) and then assigned to disciplinary groupings via lookup, as shown in the table below.

Science-Metrix field


Communication & Textual Studies


Economics & Business


Historical Studies


Philosophy & Theology


Social Sciences


Visual & Performing Arts


Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry




Biomedical Research


Built Environment & Design




Clinical Medicine


Earth & Environmental Sciences


Enabling & Strategic Technologies




Information & Communication Technologies


Mathematics & Statistics


Physics & Astronomy


Psychology & Cognitive Sciences


Public Health & Health Services


Geographic regions are identified using the United Nations M49 standard.  Click on the following links  for more information on the identification of North America and South America.  The European Union was identified using this List of Member States (the United Kingdom is omitted in 2021 due to ceasing its membership).  The grouping named Research4Life displays the aggregated total output of articles, reviews and conference papers by corresponding authors based in eligible countries/regions (lists A and B).


Access Type Definitions

Each article, review and conference paper considered in this dashboard was assigned to a single access type based on the following definitions. 

Bronze: an open access publishing route whereby an article or monograph is made free-to-read on the publisher’s website and as such is supported by subscriptions or other forms of payment.  It is made available under a general publisher policy (e.g. after an embargo expires), for a specific purpose (e.g. for content of broad interest), or on an ad-hoc basis.   Such publications may have limited or unclear reuse rights or be freely available only for a limited time.  Some may have licenses considered to be an “open license” and others may not. Therefore, some of these articles might be considered gold if they had more complete metadata, while others may not meet the commonly accepted definitions of open access, such as the declaration of the Budapest Open Access Initiative

Gold: an open access publishing route where the final published version of an article (see Version of Record The final and most authoritative fixed version of a journal article that has been made available by any organisation that acts as a publisher by formally and definitively declaring the article “published”. Publishers take responsibility for this article version, and it is the article version the author as a scientist will be measured against, that will display corrections and that permanently enters the “record of science” for posterity.) is freely and permanently available online immediately on publication, for anyone, anywhere to read. Re-use depends on the license applied to the article. Article Publishing Charge (APC) a fee to cover the cost of publishing an article and making it open access, within either a fully gold open access journal or hybrid journal, may be charged by a publisher. This fee may be paid by the author, the author’s institution, the research funder or any other sponsoring organisation. may apply. For the STM OA Dashboard, articles, reviews, and conference papers that have been published in a hybrid journal A journal that is funded by a combination of both Subscription and Article Publishing Charges. Access to articles is provided to those with subscriptions, and individual articles may also be available to the general public at no cost when the author chooses the gold open access route for their article. via gold are included in this category. Versions of Record without a Creative Commons License but which are free to read on the publisher site are classified as bronze within the data shown.  The number of gold open access publications identified here therefore may be less than other sources which use a broader definition of gold. 

Green: an open access publishing route where a version of an article is publicly shared online in a repository or on a website, often as an Accepted Manuscript the version of an article that has been accepted for publication in a journal, generally following peer review. The publisher typically provides infrastructures and services to support the editors and reviewers in the peer review process and may tag or enrich the Manuscript to facilitate review. The content and layout follow publisher’s submission requirements. This term can be confused with Pre-print. .  This type of access is generally supported by subscriptions to the journal in which they are published and other forms of payment.  To support a sustainable business model, publishers may maintain an embargo, a period where the article is only available from the publisher, and/or may retain an Exclusive License to Publish a licence agreement by which the author grants the journal owner (e.g. Publisher or Learned Society) the right to publish the author’s paper on a sole and exclusive basis. The author retains copyright in other respects, and re-use requests are handled by the publisher or the publisher’s licensing agent on the author’s behalf. (sometimes for a limited time) through an agreement with the author.

Subscription-only: a publishing route by which funding for publication is provided through individual or institutional payments. Articles are then available to researchers at institutions that subscribe to the journal at no cost. Individuals without subscription access may have other options for access, including individual payment per article, links or access provided legally by the author, document delivery or temporary access or renting access or interlibrary loan. Researchers based in Low- and Middle-Income countries/regions may be able to take advantage of reduced or no cost subscriptions offered to their institutions through such organizations as Research4Life.


Versions of Record without a Creative Commons license but which are free to read on the publisher site are classified as bronze within the data shown. It is therefore likely that the number of gold open access publications may be less than other sources which use a broader definition of gold.  Despite this, we are confident that the data accurately reflects the trends identified and discussed. Additionally, the open access type known as diamond or platinum A publication model that is supported by grants, institutional budgets, or other sources of funding not directly related to authors or readers. There is typically no charge for a reader or author. This is normally offered by university or society presses, as well as learned societies in partnership with organizations such as universities and associations. There is no charge to the author to publish their research openly in these journals.  is likely counted within the category of gold.  It was not possible to refine the data sufficiently to identify this OA type separately. 

Please note that the balance of subscription-only and green open access items for the most recent year reported is likely to be affected by embargoes a minimum period for which a published work is available exclusively through institutional or personal subscription or on a pay-per-use basis. For journal articles, the period may vary from six months to five years, with shorter embargoes typical in biomedical and other STM (Science, Technology, Medicine) disciplines, and longer in SSH (Social Sciences and Humanities). After an embargo period, a publisher may provide access on their own platform (see Bronze Open Access) or the right for the author to distribute a version of the article (usually the Accepted Manuscript) to repositories (see Green Open Access). and may change in future iterations of the dashboard.

The method used to measure the opportunity for an author to choose gold OA may undercount the scale of gold OA offered in the market, as potentially there are journals that allow gold OA, but do not actually end up publishing any OA articles in a given year.

It is acknowledged that each of these data sources is subject to limitations, such as reduced coverage of local language publications from low- and middle-income countries/regions. The use of alternative data sources might yield different results to those presented here.

Some percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.  Figures were uploaded with two decimal places and then rounded to the nearest whole number in each visualisation by Flourish.  


This dashboard is the product of a collaboration involving STM publisher members, who provided data that underpin the dashboard; the independent consulting firm, Research Consulting, which provided guidance throughout the project and provided the formulation of data analysis methodology, processing, and validation; and Scopus, which also provided data and analysis.

Click here to download data (.xlsx)

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If you wish to reuse any of the information presented as part of this dashboard, please cite it as follows:

International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM). (2023). The STM Open Access Dashboard. [Online]. Available from:

Last updated:  March 2023

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