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Open Research Handbook: Open Access

A practical guide to Open Research

Open Access

Open Access is the free and unrestricted online access to publications: to read, download and re-use, subject to proper attribution. The main routes are:

  • Gold Open Access: Immediate Open Access on the publisher site, usually in exchange for an Article Processing Charge (APC) or Book Processing Charge (BPC).
    • There are a number of different models for journals:
      • Subscription (hybrid) journals that offer a Gold Open Access option for an individual article by payment of an APC
      • Gold Open Access journals which do not have subscriptions and in which all articles are Open Access, usually by payment of an APC
      • Mega journals which have a broad coverage of different subjects with selection being based on sound research rather than perceived importance. They usually charge an APC.
    • There is a wide range of options for publishing Open Access books and monographs, ranging from scholar led presses, learned societies and large commercial publishers. Many, but not all charge a BPC. 
  • Green Open Access: Depositing research in an institutional (e.g. CentAUR) or subject repository (e.g. arXiv). The version deposited is normally the author's final manuscript and may be closed access on the repository for an embargo period after publication.

To find out about the University's Open Access policy for staff and students, funders' polices, including for REF, and the funds available to you to publish as Gold Open Access, please see our LibGuide Support for Research Staff and Students and our web pages about Open Access.

Open Access explained