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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 scholarly work available online to everyone regardless of their ability to pay for access.

There are two types of Open Access, Green and Gold - see Green and Gold OA for more information

  • 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 is free for researchers. You do not have to pay to make your research available through Green OA - i.e. in our repository. In some journals, Gold OA may be your only option and will make your research instantly available to anyone. You may need to pay an Article Processing charge but you can apply for funding from the University.
  • OA maximises the use of public funds. Traditional 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 by following the Green or Gold route. 

In the first instance, you should self-archive your accepted manuscript in a repository, such as our Leeds Beckett institutional repository. This fulfills the HEFCE REF requirements and ensures your work is OA.

You may also pay an Article Processing Charge to make your published work OA.

Please fill in the form at the bottom of the screen to see which is best for you.

Should I choose Green or Gold Open Access?

New requirements from HEFCE require all publications to be self-archived in a repository at the point of acceptance (Green OA) in order to be eligible to be submitted to the next REF

Once your article has been accepted for publication in any journal you should update your Symplectic account and upload the relevant version. This is self-archiving in our institutional repository.

Some journals only allow Gold OA publishing. This means that once your article is published it will be immediately free for any to access on the publisher’s website (rather than under embargo in a repository).

The business model of such journals is often based on charging an Article Processing Charge (APC) to authors and/or institutions and/or funders - see our APC help guide for more information.

Even when an APC has been paid for Gold OA , you should still upload the published version to our repository as soon as it becomes available.

If you need any help in choosing your OA route then please get in touch.

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

Yes. If you wish to publish in a gold OA journal and where you do not have funding from an external source, you can apply for funding to cover the cost of an APC by completing this form and returning to your Director of Research - download Open Access APC Funding Request form (Word.docx).

Please see our library guide to APCs for more information, or 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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