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Open Access & OARS: Understanding Open Access

What is Open Access?

Open Access is the provision of freely available, unrestricted access to online research outputs. Open Access materials generally include peer reviewed journal articles, conference papers, scholarly monographs and research data. If research has been made available as Open Access it means that the author, or copyright holder, has given consent for it to be freely accessed to anyone with an internet connection.

The sharing of information is fundamental to research and through open access your work will be visible to researchers anywhere; practitioners will be able to apply your findings. Your work will have greater impact, and more citations.

Routes to Open Access

There are two routes to publishing through open access; Green and Gold. In choosing your OA route you will need to be mindful of any fees or Article Processing Charges as well as any limits on embargo periods set by funding bodies which may or may not exclude certain publications.

Green Open Access means that the research is published in a subscription journal.  The author of the work then self-deposits into an open access repository such as Open Access Repository Suffolk (OARS). You may additionally want to deposit your work in a subject based repository such as Europe PMC. There are no charges made for publishing via the Green Route. There is likely to be an embargo period in place governing how quickly the full text can be made freely available, and these are typically 6 - 24 mouths. and this could mean your output is ineligible for REF submission.  Further information is available here.

Through the Gold Open Access route the published article is immediately available as full text from the publisher website. This is funded through charges made by the publisher and are often referred to as Article Processing Charges (APCs). APCs are set by publishers, and can range from £400 to £3500 per article. If you wish to publish through the Gold Open Access Route, you will need to secure funding for the APCs.

University of Suffolk recognises that the Gold route will often provide the easiest method of adhering to OA policy compliance, and for ensuring eligibility for future REF exercises .  Where funds are required for APCs these should be built into any research funding bid if the publisher allows it (these would usually fall within the Dissemination section of a Full Economic Costing document).  It may also be possible to secure funding for OA (Gold) publication via an institutional Transformative Agreement.

Where the Green route is the only option, and an embargo is specified by the publisher, a rights retention strategy can be applied to potentially bypass compliance issues.

Further information around APC funding is available here.

Flow chart of open access routes




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