Early Career Researchers: a quick guide to open access publishing

Welcome to the University of Aberdeen. In this page you will find information and links to navigate our webpages efficiently and find all the necessary information to publish open access and comply with funder policies.

Open access means free unrestricted access to digital literature, such as journal articles and books, under licensing terms that allow liberal reuse provided that the original source is cited. The University of Aberdeen endorses open access and wishes to make research outputs as freely available as possible, with the minimum of delay.

Read more about:

Open access key terms

There are two ways to make your research outputs open access

NB: you may find articles labelled “free access” on journal websites. This means that the article is free to read but not to reuse (e.g. you are not allowed to post the version of record, or use images of the article, on a different website, without publisher permissions). To be Gold Open access an article should contain a clear statement detailing terms of reuse such as a Creative Commons license statement.

To publish open access, you will need to consider a number of issues. You can find information and links to resources below.

Things to consider before submitting your research output

1. Is your research funded?


Funders such as UKRI, Wellcome Trust, European Commission etc., have different open access policies. Some publishers (e.g. Elsevier) do not offer self-archiving policies that fulfil funder requirements. It is researchers’ responsibility to select a compliant journal, thus we advise to familiarise yourself with your funder mandate before choosing a journal.

Visit our webpage ‘Funder open access policy’ to find information, links and tools that will help you to comply with your funder mandate.

Funders often provide funds specifically to support gold open access publishing. You can find information about funds available and how to apply here. The University offers transitional agreements with different publishers where corresponding affiliated authors can publish gold open access at no cost in selected journals.


If your research is not funded, you have no open access obligation, unless you want your output to be considered for REF (find out about REF open access requirements). Nonetheless, the University of Aberdeen encourages open access for all research outputs via either the green or gold route.

The University offers transitional agreements with different publishers where corresponding affiliated authors can publish gold open access at no cost in selected journals. If the journal of your choice is not covered by one of the agreements, please consider publishing via green open access route, or your availability of funds (e.g. start-up or school funds) to pay for APCs if you wish to submit in a fully open access journal.

Please contact openaccess@abdn.ac.uk if you have any queries about our agreements, open access funds and journal compliance with funder policies.

2. Choosing a journal

With so many journals available choosing the right one for publication can be overwhelming. We recommend asking your colleagues or supervisor for advice. Think. Check. Submit. is a helpful resource to ensure that you pick a trustworthy publication.

Journals usually use indexes based on article citations to promote themselves (the most popular is the ‘impact factor’). The University of Aberdeen is a signatory of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA); as such it recognises that research outputs should be recognised on the merits of those individual outputs, rather than on the metrics of the Journal where the article is published. Alternative ways to measure the impact of your research such as Altmetrics are available (learn more on Altmetrics on our dedicated webpage).

3. Evaluating open access cost

Authors are advised to familiarise themselves with the open access options available from their chosen journal, and to contact the openaccess@abdn.ac.uk ahead of submission with any queries.

APCs for Gold Open Access vary extensively depending on the Journal with an average price around 2000£. There is no direct correlation between APCs cost and the prestige of a Journal, and hybrid journals cost on average more than fully open access journals.

Block funds can only be used to meet the open access requirements of the relevant funder. Please contact openaccess@abdn.ac.uk to make sure there are available funds to cover publication costs prior to submission.

4. Data accessibility: open data

Where possible, research outputs should include a data availability statement regarding accessibility of the data underlying the research. It is important that data is available to other researchers to ensure transparency and make your work reproducible.

5. Contributors’ role

Authors’ listing of scientific scholarly output does not provide enough information about the actual individual contributions to the work. The Contributor Roles taxonomy (CRediT) comprises 14 contributor roles, including conceptualisation, project administration, data curation, software, visualisation, as well as writing, which allow different contributions to a research paper to be formally recognised. Some publishers, such as Elsevier and PLoS, have already adopted this system and require authors to describe author contributions using CRediT.

You can find more about CRediT on our webpage.

6. Copyright

Copyright is a statutory right of ownership of an intellectual property (written, printed, graphic, electronic or performance). As author of any research output you (and your co-authors) own the copyright of your work. In the publishing process, however, publishers request authors to sign an agreement which transfers copyright ownership of the work to the publisher. As consequence, authors lose the right to share and re-use their work freely (this may vary according to the agreement signed). An example, is the embargo imposed on accepted manuscripts deposited on repositories. Transfer of copyright is a standard procedure when publishing via subscription route.

On the other hand, publishing gold open access allows author/s to retain copyright of their work. Authors can select a license, the most used are Creative Common Licenses, which allows to make their work available for reuse under a range of clearly defined terms and conditions and as long as the work is properly cited. 

Find more information about copyright and licensing on our webpages.

Things to do after acceptance for publication

1. Research output accepted

As soon as you have a research output (journal article, conference contribution, blog, book, chapter, etc.) accepted for publication please send

  • Acceptance email
  • A copy of the author accepted manuscript (AAM)

to paperaccepted@abdn.ac.uk and we will deposit the article in Pure/AURA in accordance with REF and publisher self-archiving policies.

2. Request open access payment agreed before submission

To arrange an open access APCs payment previously agreed with the open access team, please send to openaccess@abdn.ac.uk

  • Acceptance Email
  • Your school name
  • Grant number

Meet the Open Access Team

For general queries or to arrange a one-to-one or department visit to hear more about open access and scholarly communications contact us at openaccess@abdn.ac.uk

Training & Information Sessions