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Open Access FAQs

1. How did the concept of Open Access come about?

  • Researchers publish research in subscription-based journals. Publishers charge expensive, often prohibitively so, subscription charges for institutions to access these journals. There are many institutions in the UK and around the world that cannot afford or are struggling to keep up with institutional subscription charges.

  • Obtaining rights to re-use and build on research is often made more difficult by confusing and varying publisher policies.

  • A significant proportion of research can trace funding back to the public, yet the public are often priced out of accessing research outputs.

  • Open Access principles seek to respect the role of publishers in disseminating research whilst making outputs more accessible, searchable and re-usable.

2. Open Access is just for REF, so I don't have to worry if my output isn't being submitted to REF, right? 

  • Incorrect! The Open Access Policy of the University has been in place since 2014 and requires researchers to comply with OA requirements irrespective of REF submissions.

3. What is the difference between Green and Gold OA?

  • Green OA is free of charge. It involves adding the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) to a repository such as Pure. It will usually be embargoed for a certain period of time as dictated by the publisher before being made openly available. That way the publisher can make money from their subscription charges, but everyone should still be able to access the article content for free via the AAM after the embargo period ends.

  • Gold OA usually involves paying the publisher an Article Processing Charge (APC) to make the article open and accessible to everyone immediately upon publication. Occasionally APCs will be discounted or waived by publishers where the University has a deal in place. Check here for the latest deals and discounts. APC charges vary by journal and can range from a few hundred pounds to several thousand pounds per article. A small minority of journals do not charge any APCs for Gold OA.

4. How will being OA compliant help me?

  • Researchers are busy, but there is evidence that OA publications, both Gold and Green, improve citation rates by a significant amount. This is due to not needing journal subscriptions to access articles. Increased citations help boost your H-index.

  • You will be complying with University policy. 

  • OA is a requirement of many funders. Even if you are not currently being funded by a grant, showing previous compliance when applying for new grants is desirable.

5. OA costs money, and I don't have any. What do I do?

  • Incorrect! Being OA compliant is most often free of charge (Green OA), although there are paid options (Gold OA). Publisher statements can be confusing in this regard. Some agreements seem to suggest that the only way to be OA compliant is to pay an Article Processing Charge (APC) charge. This is because publishers are businesses that want to maximise their income from APCs. Most publishers do support Green OA, which will involve the author depositing the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) into a University repository (such as Pure) within 3 months of acceptance.
  • It can take some digging to find out what publisher policies are regarding free of charge Green OA. Because it is a free of charge option, it is not usually as prominent on publisher websites. A useful service that aggregates thousands of publisher policies is SHERPA Romeo. Anyone can search SHERPA Romeo by journal name, keyword or ISSN to find what the journal publsihing policies are. For any questions about using SHERPA Romeo or about a specific publisher, please contact the Pure Research Outputs Team

6. Does OA apply to all my research outputs?

  • Currently the University OA policy only applies to journal articles and conference articles published with an ISSN.

7. What about books and book chapters?

  • It is possible to publish books and book chapters OA with some publishers. This is not required by the University currently, but you may wish to investigate OA options when publishing as it is one of the ways the University can show a commitment to Open Research principles.

8. I am having trouble uploading my Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) to Pure. Who do I contact?

  • Contact the Pure Research Outputs Team in Research and Enterprise 

9. I am having trouble accessing Pure. Why is this?

  • Pure must be accessed via Parallels (UniDesktop), the VPN, or on campus due to data protection.

10. The corresponding author of my article is overseas or at another UK institution. How do I get a copy of the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM)?

  • Please email the corresponding author and ask for the AAM. This should be a Word document or pdf with the final text after all changes have been made as a result of peer review, but before publisher typesetting. As you have three months from the date of acceptance, this should be long enough to receive a response.

11. What are Creative Commons licenses and which one do I need to choose?

  • There are 6 types of CC licenses. For anything published Gold OA the University preference is for CC-BY. You can read more about the CC license types here, but if you need advice on which one to choose for your publisher agreement, please contact the Open Access Manager in Research and Enterprise
  • Funders have their own OA policies so it is important to check what any applicable funder policies are regarding license types before agreeing anything with the publisher. If you need help with this please contact the Open Access Manager in Research and Enterprise


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