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Subscribe to open

Sage Subscribe to Open 

Sage has an active Subscribe to Open pilot on two law journals – Medical Law International and Netherlands Quarterly of Human RightsThe pilot commenced in 2023.

In 2024 (from the period from journal launch until the end of 2025), we are also launching a new journal - Dialogues on Climate Change on a sponsored Subscribe to Open (S2O) basis meaning complete, barrier free, open access publication.  

Sage and Dialogues on Climate Change would like to thank MIT Libraries for generous funding support towards equitable, open access publication for this period.  

What is Subscribe to Open?

Subscribe to Open (S2O) is an approach to converting subscription journals to open access. It is an alternative subscription model which enables libraries to use their collections budgets to support open access publishing. Existing library customers are asked to continue to subscribe every year, and if all subscriptions are renewed, that year’s content is published open access. First introduced by Annual Reviews, S2O has been adopted by a growing number of publishers who have come together in the S2O Community of Practice.


Sage S2O Status

We are pleased to announce we have successfully met our renewal target for a second successive year to successfully continue the Sage S2O pilot in 2024. All articles published in Medical Law International and Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights will continue to be published on a fully open access basis with no Article Process Charge (APC) to authors. We would like to thank current and new subscribers for their support. Any subscribers without current access to the backfile archive to Volume 1, Number 1 will continue to gain complimentary access with an active subscription.


Why is Sage piloting S2O?

An early driver of open access, Sage was a founding member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), as well as one of two publishing partners in the European Commission-funded FP7 Framework project, the Study of Open Access Publishing. Additionally, in 2011 Sage launched SAGE Open, the first broad-spectrum open access journal aimed specifically at the social and behavioral sciences. We are keen to experiment with all open access models that provide sustainable paths to open access for all subject areas. We are particularly attracted to the inclusiveness of the S2O model whereby open access publishing is available to everyone and not dependent on direct research funding or affordability.


What are the benefits of the S2O model?

There are benefits for subscribers, authors and the wider community under the S2O model. Subscribers, by continuing to subscribe to the journals that their patrons value, serve to support the common good of open access for the wider academic community at no extra cost or administrative burden. All authors can equitably publish open access, free of charge (no APCs) meaning their work will be accessed without restriction and in full compliance with any known open access mandates.


Why have we chosen to pilot these two journals in the model?

We have chosen to pilot S2O in law because this is a subject area with established subscription journals and limited open access publishing. Through Sage’s open access agreements both titles have grown the proportion of open access content they are publishing but converting to Gold OA is not an option because there isn’t research funding to pay for APCs. To fully transition these titles to OA requires an alternative open access model like Subscribe to Open that will preserve current subscription funding.  


How does the Sage S2O pilot work?

Sage has set an annual renewal target. If the renewal target is met by the end of March in each calendar year, the journal will continue to publish fully open access as Subscribe to Open.

If, in anyone year, we are not successful in reaching our renewal target (meaning that subscribers cancel their subscription in greater numbers than normal annual rates of attrition), the journal(s) will return to a paywalled publication basis. This will mean that open access publication will only be available to those who can pay via the Sage Choice program or through an Open Access agreement with Sage.


Who can I contact if I have questions about the S2O Pilot?

We would be very pleased to hear from you should you have any questions about Sage’s S2O pilot. Please contact