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 Open Access: 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), 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 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).