- What is Open Access?
What is Open Access?
Contemporary open access (OA) dates back to the 1990s although the idea of open access to scholarly journal articles can trace its origins back a further 50 years or so.
The contemporary open access movement strives to make research publications (but especially peer-reviewed journal articles and conference papers) available globally, for free, to anyone, at their point of access. This is made possible by the increasing ubiquity of computer and telecommunications technologies. The unacceptable inflationary costs of traditional print models of scholarly journal publishing have given tremendous impetus to alternative contemporary open access publishing modes in recent years.
An open access journal article or conference paper can:
be viewed for free by anyone, including academics, other scholars, the general public etc.
normally be re-used in more ways than a traditionally published article.
Other research outputs (such as research data) can also be made available using an open access model.
Watch a YouTube video on 'Open Access Explained!' or
What are the benefits of Open Access?
Researchers who publish using an open access model benefit in many ways:
it leads to much faster and wider dissemination and sharing of research findings.
open access maximises research impact – numerous studies are confirming that an OA article is much more likely to be accessed and cited than an article which sits behind paid-for, traditional subscription models.
institutional repositories (such as AURA here at Aberdeen) enhance the visibility of research undertaken by individuals, departments, research groups etc. here at the University. This can be important in attracting research students, research funding etc.
since no library can possibly collect or provide access to all of the peer-reviewed scholarly literature, publishing research outputs via an OA model vastly increases all researchers’ access to the scholarly literature of their disciplines.
Watch a YouTube video on the 'Benefits of Open Access'.
Enhance your visibility
There are many things you can do to enhance the visibility of your research:
- Deposit your publications in the university repository (PURE)
- Create an ORCID and link it to PURE
- Publish Open Access
- Produce a short video pitch on your main research topic
- Blog and tweet selectively on your research topics
- Share an early version of your paper as pre-print (ArXiv, bioRxiv, preprints.org, Cognet, RepEc, SSRN, PeerJ Preprints etc.)
- Share your data (FigShare, Dryad, UK Data Archive, Institutional Repository (PURE), etc.)
- Use a stable and full author name and affiliation
- Use your ORCID when publishing and applying for funding
- Use research profiles to unambiguously link publications to you
- Analyse who is using your research and through which channels
- Avoid journals that are not well-indexed
- Open Access at University of Aberdeen
University of Aberdeen Open Access Fund
From 1st April 2013 the University receives a block grant to help fund APCs (Article Processing Charges) for the open access publishing of UKRI (previously known as RCUK) funded research; the University also receives money from the Wellcome Trust to pay APCs for publishing refereed journal articles arising from Wellcome Trust funded research grants.
Together these block grants constitute the University of Aberdeen Open Access Fund.
The University encourages use of the Green route for OA publishing. However, if your research is funded by either of these grant awarding bodies and needs to be published using the Gold route for open access (i.e. immediate open access availability on publication) you may obtain funding for your APCs by completing the Article Processing Charges form below.
Please read the accompanying guide Paying Article Processing Charges before completing and submitting the form.
The University benefits from a number of other deals which can be used be used where Gold open access is needed. These schemes are listed below - please note that there is no requirement for your research output to be funded by external funders to take advantage of these deals.
SAGE Choice and Sage Premier Schemes
Our Scottish Higher Education Digital Library SAGE agreement allows authors based at this University to a discounted Article Processing Charge of £200 for publication of articles on the publisher’s Open Access model.
authors must indicate that they are entitled to the discount by using a code when initially applying for the SAGE Choice option
the code is available here. It must be entered in the “University/Institution Account Code” field of the SAGE Choice Invoice Template
if the code is not used at this stage in submission then the discounted rate cannot be applied retrospectively by SAGE
the SAGE Choice Invoice Template should be returned to the relevant e-mail address at SAGE as instructed on the form
The library has a pre-pay account with Wiley. Authors can now select University of Aberdeen when submitting to a Wiley Open Access journal or opting for Online Open to qualify for a discounted APC charge. Please contact email@example.com for further information.
Taylor & Francis
If you choose to publish open access in a Taylor & Francis Open Select journal you will be asked to contact the library who will place your order at a discounted rate.
For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
University of Aberdeen Researchers who have an article accepted for publication in a participating Springer hybrid journal will be able to publish their article open access at no extra cost under the Springer Compact Agreement. The agreement between Jisc and Springer will initially run as a pilot from 15th October 2015 until Dec 2018.
Please note that it does not apply to fully open access titles. Please select University of Aberdeen as your affiliated institution when submitting your article for publication.
For further information please contact email@example.com
There is currently a trial scheme available with IoP. It does not provide a point of purchase discount on the Article Processing Charge (APC) itself – instead it gives the library a refund of 90% of the pre-VAT APC to use as a discount against the following year’s IoP journal subscription costs. If an IoP APC is paid it results in a discount being applied to next year’s library subscription costs.
For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Submissions to Bentham Open Publications from authors affiliated with the University of Aberdeen are now eligible for a 50% discount on open access charges.
Please contact email@example.com for further information.
Article processing charges paid through our IEEE deposit account will receive a 25% discount, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
- Make your research Open Access
Automatic Open Access Green Open Access Gold Open Access
Some publishers will automatically place your article on open access from the publisher’s own website after a set period (the embargo period) following the publication of your article. They may also deposit it in a subject based repository such as Europe PubMed Central (formerly UK PubMed Central). There are no charges for this. An embargo period may be 6 or 12 months or some other period of time.
If you rely on this OA route and your research has been funded by a funding body which has a strict OA policy on how and when your research output must be made available, then you should ensure that the publisher’s policy complies with your research funder’s mandate. This is dealt with further under Gold OA below.
Gold and Green Open Access
Automatic OA, however, is still limited. But you can make your own research open access now. There are two ways to do so, and they are known as Green and Gold OA. The University's preferred route is to make research outputs Green OA wherever possible.
As indicated, this is the University's preferred approach for making your research outputs open access. Also known as self-archiving it involves no costs. Green OA (self-archiving) allows an author:
to make a version of their publication available on open access
normally, to make it available in a repository (such as AURA etc.) after an embargo period (e.g. 6 or 12 months after the item has been published in a journal)
For example, a version which can often be self-archived in a repository is the author’s final peer-reviewed MSS, as submitted to the publisher (incorporating referees’ comments). Although, it will not contain the publisher’s final formatting and other features associated with the Version of Record, it is nevertheless a valuable surrogate for the Version of Record. Access to it hugely benefits the researcher and the scholarly community.
Getting Permission to Self-archive your Article
The version which an author may deposit in a repository will be stipulated by the publisher’s copyright policy, or in the licence agreement which an author signs transferring copyright to the publisher for publication. As suggested under Gold OA, publishers often provide this information on their websites.
Or the SHERPA/ROMEO website contains information on many publishers’ copyright and licence to publish policies.
This means that an author pays the publisher to make a journal article or conference paper fully OA as soon as it is published. Essentially in return for an Article Processing Charge (APC) Gold OA gives access to the publisher’s “Version of Record” from the day of publication:
the publisher will make a copy of the final article, as published, free for anyone to access from the publisher’s own website, on the day the article is published
the rights to “re-use” an article published under Gold OA are normally more generous than in other publishing models (for example, text and data mining might be permitted)
Details of what each publisher allows can be found in any Instructions/Guides to Authors available on the publisher’s website; and/or in the licence agreement you sign with the publisher to publish your article. Or the SHERPA/ROMEO website contains information on many publishers’ copyright and licence to publish policies.
Funder mandates, from such bodies as Wellcome and UKRI (formerly RCUK), are strict policies on publishing papers from research funded by the body concerned. You should ensure that you understand, and fully comply with, any funder mandates and their requirements if you are a recipient of a grant from any funding body, and your grant leads to published research outputs. Check the terms and conditions of your grant.
You can also find details on the funder policies of many research funding bodies and agencies on SHERPA/JULIET.
- The REF and Open Access
REF 2021 Open Access
The four main UK higher education funding bodies, including the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and the now defunct Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) replaced by Research England, have recently announced their policy for open access in the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).
The policy requires that, in order to be eligible for submission in the next REF, all journal articles and conference proceedings with an ISSN number that have been accepted for publication on or after 1 April 2016 must be publicly accessible through an institutional or subject repository within 3 months of acceptance for publication.
The policy does not apply to monographs or other long form publications, to non-textual outputs, research data, conference proceedings published with an International Standard Book Number (ISBN), or publications that must remain confidential for security or commercial reasons.
Outputs Repository Requirements Time Lines Version(s)
Conference Proceedings with ISSN Number
Institutional repository (AURA); deposit through PURE
Subject repositories - arXiv; PubMed Central
Within 3 months of acceptance for publication
Where embargo applies, depaosit must be made and metadata must be discoverable within 3 months of acceptance for publication
Acceptable embargo periods:
- 12 months - Panels A, B (STEM)
- 24 months - Panels C, D (HASS)
Final author version or 'post-print' which can be replaced with the final version at a later date
REF Open Access – Frequently Asked Questions
To help you prepare for the Open Access Policy we have provided a downloadable guide.
Detailed guidance is currently under development in several policy areas and will be published in the Guidance on Submissions in summer 2018. See here for updates as available.
The full HEFCE policy can be accessed here
The funding councils have also published a FAQ document which is here
A list of library staff who can provide advice and support is available from the Help and Support tab below.
Open Access Information sessions March/April 2015:
Any output that falls within the scope of this policy and is submitted to the post-2014 REF but does not meet the requirements without a valid exemption will be given an unclassified score and will not be assessed.
What should researchers do?
On acceptance: e-mail confirmation e-mail or letter, together with the final accepted version of the output to: email@example.com
On publication: complete bibliographic detail in Pure or notify firstname.lastname@example.org
The REF open access policy formally applies to papers accepted after 1 April 2016. The funding councils expect institutional compliance much sooner than that, so we are asking for accepted manuscripts from 1 April 2015.
Any questions? See our Help and Support information in the tab below or E-mail email@example.com
- Guides & Resources on Open Access
- UKRI (RCUK) Policy on Open Access and Supporting Guidance
- Wellcome Trust Essential Guide to Open Access for Wellcome Trust-Funded Authors
- NIHR Policy on Open Access for its funded research
- Horizon 2020 Reimbursement of Open Access publication costs
- Compliance with Chief Scientist Office Open Access Policy
- OpenAIRE Information for Researchers
University of Aberdeen Open Access Policy and Documents
- University Open Access Policy
- Open Access Workflow: use the workflow as a guide to the key steps in Green OA, and Gold OA, publishing of your research
Green Open Access
Open Access Workflow: use the workflow as a guide to the key steps in Green OA publishing of your research
SHERPA/FACT: use to check if the journal you wish to publish in has a Green OA publication route, and complies with your funder's requirements for open access to research
PURE/AURA: log in to PURE to update your publication details and publish your final post-print in AURA
Gold Open Access
If you need to publish using Gold OA please read the "Paying Article Processing Charges" guide before submitting the Article Processing Charges Form:
Open Access Workflow: use the workflow as a guide to the key steps in Gold OA publishing of your research
Article Processing Charges Form: use this form for requesting payment for APCs
Paying Article Processing Charges: a guide to completing the Article Processing Charges form
PURE/AURA: log in to PURE to update your publication details and publish your output in AURA
- UKRI (RCUK) Policy on Open Access Frequently Asked Questions updated April 2018
- Wellcome Trust: CC-BY Licence - FAQs
Presentations on OA
- 29th March 2013: CASS College Executive Summary Briefing PPT
- 20th March 2013: Recording. Camtasia podcast recording of one of the sessions
- 10th April 2013: Open Access Publishing: Academic Briefing Session PPT
Finch Report June 2012
- Help and Support
If you need help or advice on any aspect of OA publishing at Aberdeen please see our commonly asked questions below or if you'd like to speak to someone please see the contacts list:
Your Questions Answered:
Should I go Green or Gold open access?
Sherpa Romeo is a useful guide which gives a summary of permissions that are normally given as part of copyright transfer each publisher's agreement. www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo
You can check the self-archiving terms of your preferred journal here, however the terms vary between journals and for a definitive answer you should check the individual journal policy or email firstname.lastname@example.org for advice.
If your research has been funded by an external body please check their open access policy. SherpaFact www.sherpa.ac.uk/fact can help.
If you are funded by UKRI (formerly RCUK) or Wellcome/COAF and there is not a compliant green open access option funds may be available where there is a suitable gold open access option. Please email email@example.com for more information.
How can I check whether my journal complies with REF?
The HEFCE REF policy requires that the accepted manuscript is deposited in the institutional repository, currently within 3 months of first online publication. Embargoes of up to 12 months for STEM subjects and 24 months for the arts and humanities are allowed. Please check Sherpa Romeo www.ac.uk/sherpa/romeo for your preferred journal’s permissions or email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
How can I check whether my journal complies with my funder?
SHERPA/FACT www.sherpa.ac.uk/fact is a tool to help researchers check if the journals in which they wish to publish their results comply with their funder's requirements for open access to research.
You can check whether your preferred journal is compliant with your funder here, however the terms vary between journals and for a definitive answer you should check the individual journal policy or email email@example.com for advice.
Is my article eligible to have the APC paid from the block grant?
UKRI (formerly RCUK) and Wellcome/COAF have provided a block grant to make their research open access. Where there is not a compliant green open access route we may have funds available to pay for gold open access. The block grant is available for original peer reviewed research published in a journal, please note that commissioned review articles are not eligible for funding.
The conditions are that the corresponding author or PI must be currently employed at the University of Aberdeen. Expired grants must have ended in the last 5 years as per the Researchfish reporting period. The grant reference number must be acknowledged in the article.
The article must be published under a CC-BY Creative Commons licence.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Which version of my paper can I archive in the institutional repository?
The most common versions of a paper are:
- Pre-print: a draft of an academic article or other publication before it has been submitted for peer-review.
- Post-print: the final manuscript of a peer-reviewed paper accepted for journal publication, including all modifications from the peer review process, but not yet formatted by the publisher.
- Publishers’ PDF: the fully formatted and typeset version of the article, in some cases publishers may permit this version to be uploaded.
The term "Accepted Authors Manuscript" or "Accepted Manuscript" is often used when depositing papers for REF. This term directly relates to the Post-print version of a paper and is the version of the paper which has been firmly accepted and agreed with an editor, before copy-editing or typesetting.
Most publishers allow deposit of the accepted manuscript which is the final draft incorporating any amendments resulting from peer review but before the publisher formatting has been applied.
Gold open access papers should allow the published PDF to be archived under the terms of the CC-BY Creative Commons licence.
What is a Creative Commons licence?
A Creative Commons (CC) license is one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work. A CC license is used when an author wants to give people the right to share, use, and build upon a work that they have created.
The common types of CC licence used in open access publishing are:
- CC-BY "Attribution" - The most open licence that lets others distribute, change and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. RCUK and COAF require that articles published via a gold open access route use a CC-BY licence.
- CC-BY-NC "Attribution-Non-Commercial" - This licence lets others use and build upon your work non-commercially. Their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, but they don't have to use a CC-BY-NC licence for their derivative works.
- CC-BY-NC-ND "Attribution-Non-Commercial-Non-Derivative" - This licence lets others use and share your work non-commercially as long as they do not change it in any way. This licence is the most restrictive creative commons licence.
See here for further information https://creativecommons.org/about/
- Please note that Wellcome/COAF and UKRI (RCUK) require that the CC-BY licence is used for any publications where they have funded the APC.
- Please note that for green open access UKRI (RCUK) specify that the licence is no more restrictive than the CC-BY-NC licence or equivalent
An outline of the Creative Commons Licences is shown in the table below
Read more about Creative Commons licences.
Issue Online Help Contact Tel. Help with the Article Processing Charges form Guide Joanna Adams email@example.com ext.7875 Help with checking UKRI (formerly RCUK) and Wellcome journal compliance and funder mandates, for publishing your article Joanna Adams firstname.lastname@example.org ext.7875 Help with updating information about your publications in PURE PURE (see particularly User Guide and How to Movies) Joanna Adams email@example.com ext.7875 Help with depositing research outputs in AURA PURE (see particularly Adding New Content guide) AURA Team ext.7875 Help with updating ResearchFish Andrew Phillips firstname.lastname@example.org ext. 3870 Help with updating PURE Nykohla Strong email@example.com ext. 2077 All other enquiries about OA publishing at Aberdeen firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact your Information Consultant if you just want more general information on Open Access publishing or to arrange a presentation by LSC&M on OA and OA publishing at Aberdeen for your School or Department.
Library Contacts by
Subject Contact Tel. Medical and Biomedical Sciences Mel Bickerton email@example.com ext. 7876 Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Engineering Susan McCourt firstname.lastname@example.org ext. 3287 Business and Law Janet Mackay email@example.com ext. 2572 Anthropology, Education, Gender Studies, Music, Politics and International Relations, Sociology Claire Molloy firstname.lastname@example.org ext. 4813 Divinity & Religious Studies, History, History of Art, Language & Literature, Modern Languages, Philosophy Ewan Grant email@example.com ext. 2587