Publication embargo

An embargo period is the period of time during which Open Access to an official publication is not yet allowed.

In academic publishing, an embargo is a period during which access to academic journals is not allowed to users who have not paid for access (or have access through their institution). The purpose of this is to protect the revenue of the publisher.



Publishers ask for publication embargoes to build in sustainability for their business.

Most funders and institutions that mandate or recommend their grant receipients to make their articles available in Open Access, respect these publisher’s policies and mention these in their Open Access Clauses.

Points for discussion
  • An embargo period means that the articles, books or data are not openly accessible yet and thus the user has to fall back on licenses to access, mostly via subscription models, or other methods of payment.
  • The lenghth of embargoes can form input for license negotiations: institutions benefit of an embargo period as short as possible.
  • Open Access Publishers do not require embargo periods because they work with a business model that allows immediate Open Access.
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