What is Open Access?
Open Access means providing unrestricted access to research outputs. If an article is Open Access, it can be read by anyone in the world with an internet connection. As a result, the potential readership of an Open Access article is far, far greater than one where the full-text is restricted to subscribers. By increasing the number of readers, article citations also significantly grow.
Why Open Access?
Makes the most of public funds
Open access allows everyone to view publicly funded research for free. This replaces the traditional model where UK universities donate time, labour and public money to the production of peer-reviewed scholarly work, only to have it sold back to them via large journal subscription fees (estimated at £192 million per year).
Open Access also offers major social and economic benefits, aligning with the Government’s commitment to transparency of data and making ethical use of the general tax paying public’s money. Professionals, patients, journalists, politicians, civil servants or interested amateurs will be better informed as a result of having access to the latest research.
Accelerates research and increases impact
The sharing of information is fundamental to research. Modern technology makes this process more effective than ever before. However, paying for access impedes usage. Removing the pay wall will increase the visibility of your work, leading to increased usage, leading to increased citation impact.
Ensures compliance with research funders' policies
Many funding bodies [for example the UK Research Councils, Wellcome Trust] will now only finance work that is to be made Open Access.
Check your funder requirements via SHERPA Juliet.
SHERPA Juliet is a searchable database and single focal point of up-to-date information concerning funders' policies and their requirements on open access, publication and data archiving.
The Library Open Access team are happy to help with any questions.
Different options for OA: Green and Gold
Open Access can be provided in two ways:
Authors publish in a journal and then self-archive a version of the article in their institutional repository (such as Sussex Research Online via Elements), or subject-based repository. We advise adding the author's accepted version as this fulfils funder, REF, and University policy requirements. Most publishers do not allow their own PDF to be used (ie the final version available on the journal website, with publisher branding and layout) for the Green route.
- Make your work Green Open Access by adding the full text of your article to SRO via Elements following this guide.
- Deposit the item record, and the Library team will double check that the appropriate version has been uploaded and apply any embargo period to your article before it is made live. The bibliographic details will then display on your web profile, and the full text of your work will be available through SRO either immediately or after the embargo period is over.
Authors publish in a journal which provides immediate Open Access to the article through the publisher’s website. The version published as Gold OA is the publisher's final version, or 'version of record'. Usually, a Creative Commons licence is applied, which means the publisher PDF can be freely shared, including uploading it to Sussex Research Online.
Publishers generally charge a fee for Gold, known as the 'article processing charge' (APC).
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is an Article Processing Charge (APC)?
An APC is a fee paid to the publisher to cover research paper publishing costs. With production costs then covered, the article can be made free at point of access. The cost of publication is moved from the reader (via subscriptions and pay-walls) to the author (via the APC).
- What does Green Open Access mean?
Green Open Access means making the full text of your research article publicly available via Elements or a subject based repository. See below for how to go about making your output available through Green Open Access.
- What does Gold Open Access mean?
Gold Open Access is where a paper is published immediately as OA in an online journal and stored in the publisher’s system. To cover the costs of Gold OA, publishers normally charge a fee to the author or their institution, known as the Article Processing Charge (APC - see above). The version of the paper published as Gold OA is the publisher’s final (formatted) version.
- How can I make my work available through Green Open Access?
You can make your work Green Open Access by making the full text available in Sussex Research Online (SRO) via Elements or a subject specific repository.
- Add the details of your item to Elements following our online guidance.
- Upload a version of your paper. Different publishers have different rules as to which version of your article can be uploaded, but the most common is the author's accepted version (i.e the final version of your document after all peer review changes have been made). Most publishers do not allow their own PDF to be used (i.e. the version available on their website with their branding and layout).
- Deposit your item via Elements and the Library team will doublecheck that the appropriate version has been uploaded and apply any embargo period to your item before it goes live.The bibliographic details will then display on your web profile, and the full text of your work will be available through Elements either immediately or after the embargo period is over.
- How can I ensure I meet my funder's requirements if I publish Green?
- Check what your funder mandates around Open Access and embargoes. The Library Open Access team are happy to help with any questions.
- Use SHERPA/Romeo to see which version of your paper you are allowed to make available through a repository such as Sussex Research Online, via Elements. Most publishers will allow use of the author’s accepted version; this is the author’s final version including all the amendments post peer-review, but not the publisher’s copyedited PDF. Funders will generally require the author's accepted version to be deposited.
- Use SHERPA/Romeo to see if an embargo period applies. If your research funder requires you to publish Open Access and specifies it must be within a certain time period you will be able to check to see if your chosen journal complies.
- Upload your item via Elements or a subject specific repository
- If an embargo does apply the SRO team will add restrictions to your item so that it can only be viewed after the embargo period. This check is always done by the SRO team before making items live.
- If you are publishing the output of funded research, where applicable make sure your item acknowledges your funder, references the grant code and includes a statement on where underlying data can be accessed. Check the re-use licence required by your funder, who may specify that your item is made available under a CC-BY or equivalent licence.
- When your record is completed, deposit it in SRO and the team will check the details and make the record live. The bibliographic details will then display on your web profile, and the full text of your work will be available through Elements either immediately or after the embargo period is over.