Guide to Open Access
What is Open Access?
Open Access publications are digital, online, free of charge and free of most
copyright and licensing restrictions. It is entirely compatible with peer review,
all of the major Open Access initiatives for scientific and scholarly literature
insist on its importance.
The ways that UK academics communicate their research are changing rapidly.
Open Access has been around for some time. However, the new funding body
requirements that research must be made available in an Open Access format means
that researchers need to consider what this means for their research as a matter
Routes to Open Access publishing
There are two main routes to making your research Open Access.
Green Open Access
You make your work available in a repository, which can be an institutional
repository (such as our Research Repository) or a
subject-based or central repository (such as PubMed Central or arXiv). Upon
acceptance for publication, you deposit your accepted author manuscript into
an Open Access repository. This will usually be the final pre-publication
version - the peer-reviewed, accepted manuscript. It is made Open Access without
the payment of any fee to the publisher but may not be available as Open Access
immediately if the publisher's self-archiving policy requires an embargo period.
The published version of the paper will be made available by the publisher,
behind a subscription paywall.
Gold Open Access
Your work is made freely available to readers through the publisher's website.
No subscription is required for access as a fee called an APC
(article processing charge) is usually charged to you. The version made available
is the final publisher's version and it is available immediately, with no embargo
If you would like to make your work available using gold Open Access, you
will need to have access to appropriate funding. APCs vary considerably between
publishers, but will usually cost £1,500 - £2,000 plus VAT. If your research
is funded by RCUK, we may be able to pay the APC for you through our allocation
from the RCUK Open Access Fund (.pdf).
Open Access in the UK
In June 2012 the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research
Findings, chaired by Dame Janet Finch, recommended in their
Report (.pdf, known as the Finch Report)
that ’the UK should embrace the transition to open access, and accelerate the
process in a measured way which promotes innovation but also what is most
valuable in the research communications ecosystem‘. The ultimate aim is to
make all publicly-funded research publicly-accessible for free. The
Government's response (.pdf)
was to accept the recommendations made and welcome the push to Open Access.
RCUK policy on Open Access
Since 1 April 2013 the RCUK Policy
(.pdf) on Open Access has applied to research papers funded by Research Councils
UK. The policy applies to journal articles and conference proceedings but does
not apply to books or chapters. It requires all peer-reviewed research outputs
that result directly from research wholly, or partly, funded by Research Councils
to be made Open Access in journals that are compliant with the RCUK Policy on
Open Access. Compliant journals are those that allow either
Green or Gold Open Access. The RCUK Policy on Open Access also requires that
research papers must acknowledge Research Council funding.
Wellcome Trust and Open Access
The Wellcome Trust supports open and unrestricted access to the published
outputs of research and expects authors of research papers funded by the Trust
to make their results freely available and provides additional funding to grant
holders with to cover Open Access fees. Electronic copies of research papers
supported by Wellcome Trust funding will also be made available through PubMed
Central (PMC) and Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC). Unlike the RCUK policy,
The Wellcome Trust is currently extending its Open Access Policy to include
scholarly monographs and book chapters.
Open Access, HEFCE and the next REF
HEFCE announced a new policy on Open Access in the post-2014 Research Excellence
Framework (REF) in March 2014.
The policy states that journal articles and conference proceedings
mustbe available via Open Access to be eligible for the
post-2014 REF. This means that outputs must be deposited in an institutional
repository, like the University of Essex Research Repository,
at the point of acceptance for publication.
The policy applies to journal articles and conference proceedings that are
accepted for publication after April 2016. The output must be deposited
in a repository within three months of acceptance. Embargo periods and
exceptions will apply where necessary.
Update In July 2015 HEFCE issued an
to the policy stating that research outputs accepted for publication from 1
April onwards can be deposited in a repository at any point between acceptance
and up to three months after the date of publication. From 1 April 2017 onwards
research outputs must be deposited within three months of acceptance.
What do I need to do?
For further information and advice about Open Access publishing, and to
apply for funding from our allocation from the RCUK Open Access Fund please
You can upload your publications to the
University of Essex Research Repository.
A member of the team will check the item and any copyright permissions and will make
the record live in the database.
Alternatively you can email details of your research output to
together with the final accepted manuscript as this
is the version most publishers allow to be deposited in Open Access
For more information about the Institutional Repository or Open Access, please contact Jim Jamieson.