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I recently completed a paper and I am considering applying for the Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L). Before submission, the paper plaza had a few guidelines which said

IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L) is a hybrid access journal, allowing either traditional or Open Access ("golden", or author-pays OA) manuscript submission. According to the IEEE policy, you will only be able to select the Open Access option after acceptance, at the time of final submission. By selecting that option, you commit to pay the $1,950 OA fee in order to enable unrestricted public access.

I am confused with what this means? Does it mean that I will only be able to select the Open Access Option? Does it mean that I can choose the traditional option, but in case I prefer Open Access it will only be after acceptance.

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It is what it says - a hybrid access journal. This means that it publishes both open access and traditional subscription-access articles.

After your paper is accepted, they'll offer open access to you. If you say yes, you pay them $1950 and they make your paper open access. This means it's freely available to anyone who wants to read it, the copyright is held by you, etc. If you decline, you pay nothing, and your paper is subscription-access. The copyright is held by the journal, non-subscribers cannot read it, etc.

The choice is made only after acceptance. Before it there's a nontrivial chance your paper is rejected.

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"Only" means that you don't have the ability to choose traditional vs Open Access until after acceptance.

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