WCS Policy on Open Access to Peer-Reviewed Publications


In June 2022, WCS approved a policy that calls for staff-authored peer-reviewed publications to be distributed to the widest audience possible through the WCS Publications Database.


As a science-based organization, Wildlife Conservation Society (“WCS”) is committed to gathering information to add to the world’s store of knowledge, applying that knowledge to save wildlife and wild places, and enabling and encouraging others to join in that enterprise. To deliver on this commitment, WCS encourages all WCS personnel to responsibly share conservation-related information within WCS and externally to audiences concerned with wildlife conservation and education, to governments, and to the public at large, subject to legal and donor restrictions on the ownership and sharing of data and other information. 

WCS views sharing the knowledge we generate as an integral part of our work and sees funding for open access publishing and sharing knowledge as a critical component of any project we execute.  WCS will request our partners and supporters to embrace our position on open access to peer-reviewed publications.  WCS encourages its personnel to publish open access when funds permit and especially in journals that meet Fair Open Access principles.

WCS follows donor requirements, applicable law, and prudent policy and practice in creating, managing, and disseminating information. In some cases, these requirements impose restrictions on WCS’s disclosure or dissemination of information. WCS also takes prudent measures to protect from disclosure the confidential or sensitive information of WCS, other organizations, and individuals.


Open access:  available online, free of cost to users and free from other access barriers

Green open access:  access to publication through providing access to a near-final version such as pre-publication manuscript

WCS personnel: trustees, officers, employees, volunteers, interns, externs and fellows of WCS

Covered publications:  peer-reviewed publications authored or co-authored by WCS personnel where the author lists WCS as an affiliation

Open Access to Peer-Reviewed Publications

WCS seeks to ensure that all covered publications will be open access, either directly through the publication’s publisher or indirectly through green open access.  All WCS personnel who publish covered publications that are not open access must deposit a pre-publication version of the article with the WCS Library and Archives using the WCS Green Open Access Process.

WCS recognizes that an exemption from this policy may be required in certain circumstances.  In these cases, WCS personnel must submit an exemption request to the WCS Library and Archives, stating the specific reason(s) for the exemption.  Exemptions may be granted where, for example:

  • The pre-publication version underwent substantive revisions during the peer review process that change the publication’s findings and/or analysis.
  • The primary author is not WCS personnel and does not give permission.
  • There are legal or contractual restrictions that do not allow for open access.

In cases that are not exempted from the policy and where there are no legal or other constraints, the pre-publication version will be made publicly accessible in the WCS Publications Database.


Measuring Our Commitment

WCS will regularly monitor its progress in achieving the objectives of this policy.

For questions about this policy, please contact the WCS Library and Archives department at library@wcs.org.