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Research and PhD Support

Open Access: FAQ

Why is Open Access important?

Open Access (OA) means that items of scholarly work are made available online, in a digital format, at no charge to the reader and with limited restrictions on re-use.

The OA movement is a worldwide effort to make research available online for everyone, regardless of their ability to pay for access

Why this matters: 

  • Publications submitted to the next REF must be OA. To ensure that your publication is eligible for the next REF, it must be uploaded to our Repository once it has been accepted by the journal
  • OA maximises research impact. With no barriers to access, your research is visible to everyone. This maximizes views and downloads and makes it possible for other researchers to quickly learn about and build on your work to make further advances
  • OA maximises the use of public funds. Peer-reviewed research is the product of your time, labour and public funds – at no cost to the publisher. Access is then sold back to you via institutional subscriptions, at great profit to publishers. Unfortunately, these subscriptions rates are increasing and libraries can no longer afford to provide full access. OA ensures that the work you produce is accessible to everyone

How can I make my publication Open Access? 

You can make your research Open Access (OA) by following the Green or Gold model of OA, so please consider this whilst you are planning which journal to submit to

By choosing the Green model, your article gets published in a journal which universities and others can subscribe to, thereby gaining access to your research, but the general public won't have access to your published version. To make it OA, you have to upload the accepted manuscript of your article in Symplectic and the Research Services Team will make it available in the Leeds Beckett Repository. From the Repository members of the public can access your research and it will appear high on search engine results.

Alternatively, you can use the Gold model, whereby the institution pays an Article Processing Charge (APC) which makes it immediately free for anyone to read online upon publication. 

Whichever model you use, you should upload your accepted manuscript in Symplectic, as this will ensure it is saved in the Leeds Beckett Repository and checked by the team. This fulfills the HEFCE REF requirements and ensures your work is OA. 

Should I choose Green or Gold Open Access?

Your work is your own and you can choose where you publish it, however you must also bear in mind any costs your choice creates for Leeds Beckett. 

The Green model is favoured by HEFCE for the REF as it requires no upfront fees to be paid by the researcher or the institution. 

The Gold model requires a fee in the form of an Article Processing Charge (APC) to be paid before publication. This can be a large amount of money, so the Director of Research must authorise this payment before submission to the journal. 

Many journals now use a Hybrid model, meaning the researcher chooses whether to use the Green or Gold model for their article. If this an option for you, you are recommended to choose Green unless there is a specific reason to choose Gold. Please speak to your Director of Research or contact us if unsure

Can I get funding from the University to cover the cost of an APC?

If you wish to publish in a Gold OA journal and you do not have funding from an external source, please contact your Director of Research to discuss possible funding. If they are happy for you to proceed, complete the APC request form and send it to them to sign. 

For more information about APCs please see our Library guide, or if you need help finding the cost of the APC for a specific journal please contact us

Where can I get information on copyright?

The Copyright Clearance Service works with the Research Services team based in Libraries and Learning Innovation and can offer guidance to staff around copyright to their published work.

OA and research funders

Many funding bodies now insist that scholarly work arising from their funding be made Open Access (OA). Funder policy information is available from SHERPA/JULIET

UK and EU research funders that currently have OA requirements are:

In addition Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) policy for open access in the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) states that to be eligible for submission to the post-2014 REF, authors’ final peer-reviewed manuscripts must have been deposited in an institutional or subject repository on acceptance for publication.

For more information see our REF help guide.


What is Open Access?

Open Access (OA) means that items of scholarly work are made available online, in a digital format, at no charge to the reader and with limited restrictions on re-use.

The OA movement is a worldwide effort to make scholarly work available online to everyone regardless of their ability to pay for access.

There are two main routes to Open Access:

  • Green OA means publishing in any journal and then self-archiving a version of the article (subject to copyright transfer agreement) in an institutional or subject repository. SHERPA/RoMEO provides details of journals that support Green Open Access and any embargo periods. After a possible embargo, your article will be available online, in a digital format, for free.
  • Gold OA means publishing in an Open Access journal that provides immediate OA to all of its articles on the publisher's website. The business model of such journals is often based on charging an Article Processing Charge (APC) to authors/institutions/funders. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) lists Gold Open Access only journals.

Some journals operate a hybrid model where only some of the articles are freely available to read and a subscription is still required to read the remainder.

Hybrid journals will offer the choice of paying an APC in order to provide immediate OA from the publisher's website (Gold OA). Otherwise you can follow the Green route by publishing in the subscription part of the journal - and making your work Open Access through the Repository.

Open Access Explained:

By Jorge Cham, based on interviews with Jonathan Eisen and Nick Shockey (Open Access Explained! (WebCite)) [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Ensuring your research outputs are Open Access

Meet the Research Services team

Amy Campbell, Jennifer Bayjoo & Lucy Clark

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0113 812 4731

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