Open access is the practice of providing free, unlimited online access to scholarly works and research outputs in a digital format, with limited restrictions on re-use.
The benefits of open access (OA) include:
There are two ways of making your publications open access: Green open access (self-archiving) or gold open access.
Authors publish their work in a journal then deposit a version of the article for free public use in their institutional repository (e.g. Pure) or a central subject-based repository (e.g. Arxiv or PubMed Central). This is known as self-archiving and is often referred to as the "green" route to open access. Depending on what the journal publisher will allow, the version archived is often an author's final version rather than the published version.
Authors publish in an open access journal, or choose an open access option in a hybrid journal, to make the paper open access immediately on publication. There is often a fee (article processing charge - APC) associated with this option which the author or their institution will pay.
The University's preference is to primarily achieve open access through the green route, by making appropriate versions of research outputs available in the institutional repository in line with publisher's policies. There is no internal central fund for gold open access. However, the University is in receipt of a small block grant from RCUK to support gold open access for papers resulting from RCUK funded projects. This grant is finite and is available to researchers on a first come, first served basis for publications that meet the requirements of the RCUK Open Access Policy. For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eligible UKRI Research Councils are:
The Library has an agreement with Sage for a discounted APC rate of £200 when publishing a gold open access article in a hybrid journal which is part of the subscription package. For further details please email email@example.com.
Gold open access publications can also be added to the institutional repository.
The University has approved an Open Access policy with regard to scholarly publication, which came into force on the 1st August 2015.
This will enable us to comply with the Open Access guidelines for REF which came into effect from 1st April 2016 (see Research England policy tab for details). It will also ensure that research outputs from the University are disseminated as widely as possible, helping to raise the profile of the authors and University.
When an item has been accepted for publication, authors must record the bibliographic details of the output in the institutional repository, Pure, within three months of the date of acceptance.
Authors must also deposit full text copies of the research outputs, i.e. final accepted peer-reviewed journal articles and conference papers (and where appropriate monographs) in Pure no later than three months after the date of acceptance for publication.
Authors may also deposit all other types of research output where copyright allows, and subject to any contracts with third parties, commercial sensitivities and discipline-specific conventions.
Does it make a difference if I am publishing via the Gold or Green Routes?
Coventry University favours open access by means of the Green Route (no fee). This enables the author to publish for free in any journal and to self-archive a version of the article for free public use i.e. in Pure, subject to publisher policies. As well as ensuring your research reaches a wider audience, adding your research outputs to Pure will help researchers comply with funder policies and the requirements for future REFs. This guide to self-deposit explains how you can deposit your research outputs in Pure.
The University recognises that there are additional benefits of the Gold (or fee-paid) open access route. Where specific funding is available, and where funders require it, this will be used to fund Article Processing Charges (APC) charges incurred to ensure outputs are open access immediately upon publication.
The policy applies in principle to all forms of research output. However, it is recognised that in some instances (e.g. monographs or book chapters) it may not be possible to make the full text or output available openly. Where this is the case, authors are encouraged to upload the output to Pure for preservation purposes with an indefinite embargo period applied if required.
We would encourage authors to negotiate publishing contracts where possible and appropriate, to permit their work to be made available via the institutional repository. An embargo period can be applied as required. This is already a requirement for some research funders and authors should check the terms of their funding agreements before signing contracts with publishers.
For further help and advise, please contact the Library Research & Scholarly Publications Team by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on ext: 657568
Most staff will already be aware of the Research Excellence Framework (REF), which is a system for assessing the quality of research outputs in UK Universities which affects future research funding.
To be eligible for the next REF, staff will have to meet open access requirements. These must be met at the time papers are accepted for publication - making your papers open access retrospectively during the REF selection process, will not meet the open access requirements. These requirements will apply to all universities in the UK.
The REF Guidance on Submissions document sets out the guidelines, which are summarised below.
To be eligible for submission to the post-2014 REF:-
The policy does allow for a number of exceptions, for example, to allow for cases where the publication concerned requires an embargo period that exceeds the maximum period, or actively disallows open access deposit in a repository, and in either case was the most appropriate publication for the output.
Any output submitted to the REF which does not meet the requirements of this policy and does not meet with any of the allowed exceptions will be given an unclassified score and will not be assessed.
Please see the Copyright and Licensing tab for more information regarding licensing.
This workflow document may be useful in understanding the issues and decisions around OA publishing for compliance with the REF Open Access policy.
The Research and Scholarly Publications team monitor newly created records in Pure and where further action or information is required to ensure an output's compliance with the Open Access policy they will contact the author(s).
The team hold regular drop in sessions around campus (please see our twitter account for details) and are based on the third floor of the Lanchester Library. Our contact details are in the Contact Us box to the right hand side.
The Open Access Policy of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) requires all papers submitted after April 2013 whose work was funding wholly or in part by any of the research councils to be made open access. Though the policy only applies to journal or conference papers, RCUK encourage authors to make other types of output open access where possible.
|Green Open Access||Gold Open access|
(Publish in a subscription or hybrid journal that allows you to deposit in an institutional or subject repository)
(Immediate open access on publishers website)
Versions to be made available
(an explanation on version types can be found here)
The version made available in the repository should be the version "accepted for publication" i.e. the version which includes the changes made in the peer-review process, but prior to publisher formatting.
|Delay before the article is freely available||Where no gold route is available, an embargo of up to 12 months is permitted for research funded by the AHRC and ESRC, and 6 months for all other Councils.
Where there is a gold route, but APC funding is not available, an embargo of up to 24 months is permitted for AHRC and ESRC, and 12 months for all other Councils.
|Must be made immediately available on publication|
|Required licence terms||RCUK do not specify a particular licence for green OA. However, they do require that papers are made available without restrictions on non-commercial re-use.||Must be assigned a Creative Commons attribution licence (CC BY)|
|Cost||There is not usually a charge for this route.||There is often an Article Processing Charge associated with this route|
The University is in receipt of a small block grant to support publication via the Gold Open Access route for authors in receipt of RCUK funding. To check if there are funds available to support publishing through this route, authors are encouraged to contact us at: email@example.com with details of where they are seeking to publish.
All journal and conference papers must:
Some funders such as MRC require deposit in specific repositories e.g. PubMed Central. Depositing in these repositories does not prevent authors from also depositing in the Pure University Institutional repository.
The RCUK is now reporting on their funded research in the RCUK Gateway to Research. It contains information on RCUK projects which became active after April 2006, and includes outcomes information submitted in ROS and Researchfish.
Please note that UK Research and Innovation, which oversees the RCUK funding bodies, are signatories to the Coalition-S initiative which is looking to implement a new Open Access approach from January 2021 through Plan-S.
Some of the main changes which have been proposed in Plan-S are:
Please note this information reflects changes resulting from revisions to Plan-S made in late May 2019 following consultation.
Further information and guidance will be provided in due course in advance of the policy's introduction.
Researchfish is a Research Outcomes System designed to enable researchers to report once across multiple funders, and re-use their data. It has a simple one-click environment for adding research outcomes to be stored and/or attributed to an award. A researcher, or one of their delegates, can add, edit and delete entries, and attribute entries to awards they hold or to one of their CV’s held in the Researchfish portal.
Researchfish is currently used by many public and charitable research funding agencies (including the UK Research Councils, the BHF, Arthritis Research UK, Cancer Research UK, and NIHR).
RCUK have announced that they will be using Researchfish for the Research Councils’ harmonised research outcomes collection system from September 2014. Please see the project announcement on the RCUK website.
For further information on Researchfish and account details contact the Business Development Group.
You may find the following information useful, though please note that this page can only provide guidelines and should not be relied on for legal advice.
Copyright law grants exclusive rights to creators of original works of authorship. National laws usually extend protections to such works automatically once fixed in a tangible medium, prohibiting the making of copies without the rights holder’s permission, among other things. On the internet, even the most basic activities involve making copies of copyrighted content. As content is increasingly uploaded, downloaded, and shared online, copyright law is becoming more relevant to more people.
The Act was amended in 2014 to update the framework of exceptions to copyright and rights in performances, expanding the freedoms in copyright law that allows third parties to use copyright works.
The new legislation includes:
For further information on the changes click here
Licences and Reuse
Creative Commons offer a suite of licenses which permit varying degrees of reuse.
|CC license||Commercial re-use permitted?||
Adaptation / Remixing
of content permitted?
|CC Zero (CC 0)||Yes||Yes||Works published under this license are in the public domain, with authors waiving copyright and associated IP rights.|
|Attribution (CC BY)||Yes - subject to attribution||Yes - subject to attribution||The most accommodating CC license which still enables authors to maintain copyright. This is the license which RCUK and Wellcome Trust require to be provided on articles they fund via the Gold Open Access route.|
|Attribution Share Alike (CC BY SA)||Yes - subject to terms||Yes - subject to terms||Same as the CC BY license, with the additional rule that works derived from the original work must also be subject to a CC BY SA license.|
|Attribution No Derivatives (CC BY ND)||Yes - subject to attribution||No||The work cannot be adapted, however re-use of the original work for any other purpose, including commercial, is permitted subject to attribution.|
|Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY NC)||No||Yes - subject to terms||
Re-use must be non-commercial, but adaptation of original work is permitted subject to the license terms.
Derivative works do not have to be licensed on same terms.
|Attribution Non Commercial – Share Alike (CC BY NC SA)||No||Yes - subject to terms||
Re-use must be non-commercial, but adaptation of original work is permitted subject to the license terms.
Derivative works must be licensed on same terms as the original work.
|Attribution Non Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY NC ND)||No||No||The most restrictive of the Creative Commons licenses. Content can be copied and redistributed, subject to the terms of the license.|
Major research funders such as Research Councils UK and Wellcome Trust require that articles published via the Gold Open Access route which have been funded through them be made subject to a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license.
Further information on Creative Commons licenses are available on the Creative Commons website.
Article Processing Charge (APC) - Fee which may be payable to the publisher to publish via the gold open access route. When an article is published in a traditional subscription journal, the author pays an APC to make their individual article freely available from the journal website, without restriction or charge to the reader.
CC-BY Licence - Creative Commons Attribution Licence - This is the most liberal of the CC licences. As long as the original author(s) receives attribution, this allows anyone to copy, distribute or transmit the research, adapt the research and make commercial use of the research. RCUK requires this licence is used if the gold open access route is selected.
Corresponding Authors - The author responsible for manuscript correction, correspondence during submission, handling of revisions and re-submission of the revised manuscript. On acceptance of the manuscript, the corresponding author is responsible for co-ordinating any application for payment of a Gold Open Access Article Processing Charge (APC).
Creative Commons Licences - Creative Commons licences can be used in open access publishing to help authors retain copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make use of their work. There are several different Creative Commons licences, which allow different types of re-use. See the Creative Commons website.
Diamond Open Access (also known as Platinum Open Access) - Functions like Gold Open Access in that the final publication is made available immediately without the barrier of a paywall. However, unlike conventional Gold Open Access, these publications do not require the payment of an Article Processing Charge and are therefore free to author and reader alike.
Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC) - A life sciences and biomedical research subject repository. The Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council (MRC) and most other UK biomedical funders require copies of funded articles to be deposited in Europe PMC within 6 months of publication. The USA-based PubMed Central is the repository containing global content.
Green Open Access - Author publishes in a traditional, subscription based journal and a copy of the research (usually the author’s final, peer-reviewed manuscript – sometimes referred to as a post-print) is deposited in either an institutional or subject repository, usually at the point of publication. No APC is paid to the publisher. Following any embargo period set by the publisher the manuscript is then made free to access. The published final version of the journal sits behind a subscription pay wall on the journal website, while the "post-print" copy is available to anyone from the repository.
Open Access - Open access is the practice of providing free, unlimited online access to scholarly works and research outputs in a digital format, with limited restrictions on re-use. A key driver behind OA has been to make publicly-funded research accessible to tax-payers.
Plan S - A new Open Access policy due to come into effect from 1st January 2021. The terms of Plan S will apply to authors in receipt of funding from a Plan S affiliate, who include major UK research funders RCUK and Wellcome Trust. Please see the RCUK Policy tab for further information.
Platinum Open Access (please see entry for Diamond Open Access)
Pre-print - This is usually defined as the author's final draft of a paper before peer-review. It is also often referred to as the author's submitted manuscript. Many publishers allow authors to place the pre-print in a repository. However, pre-print versions do not normally meet funder requirements.
Predatory Publisher - This is a contested term, but publishers accused of predatory practices typically charge Article Processing Charges (APCs) and in return fail to provide the necessary quality checks expected of reputable publishers. Such publishers may misrepresent who sits on their editorial board, the journal impact factor and lack a rigorous peer review process. To avoid inadvertently submitting to a predatory journal we would advocate following the principles outlined by Think Check Submit to help identify if a journal is reputable.
REF - Research Excellence Framework - The Research Excellence Framework is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs). The next REF is in 2021, with the submission being made in November 2020. To be eligible for the next REF, staff will have to meet open access requirements (please see Research England policy tab). These must be met at the time papers are accepted for publication. The latest guidance in relation to the REF submission was provided in January 2019.
Subject Repository - Prominent subject repositories include PubMed (for Medical and Biosciences), RePEc (for Economics) and Arxiv (used by researchers in various fields such as Physics, Computer Science and Mathematics). Some subject repositories contain predominantly pre-print material (such as Arxiv), others contain accepted manuscripts or final publications. To ensure REF Open Access compliance we advise always recording publications on our Institutional repository (Pure) even if it is also recorded in a subject repository.
Provided a record is set to status ‘for validation’ (this shows at the bottom of the record) this will enter the work queue of the Research and Scholarly Publications team. Our team will check that the information in the record appears accurate and where applicable will check the record against the REF Open Access policy. If any further information is required, a member of our team will get in touch. This includes cases where an accepted manuscript is required to make the record compliant with the REF Open Access policy.
Please note that where the status of a record has been changed to ‘entry in progress’ that it is assumed the record creator is intending to return to the record to make changes. ‘Entry in progress’ are not checked as a matter of course by our team.
A useful source of reference is the website Sherpa / Romeo which documents the policies of many academic journals. If the publication does not appear on Sherpa / Romeo it would be worth checking with the journal editor and examining the detail of any copyright transfer agreement (CTA) which you may have been asked to sign.
Elsevier have a separate journal by journal list of embargo periods for UK authors.
Sherpa/Romeo also operates a sister site, Sherpa/Juliet which details whether a journal complies with particular funder policies. If you are publishing in a journal which either requires an embargo which exceeds the maximum permitted for REF (over 12 months for REF Panels A and B, over 24 months for REF Panels C and D), or in a journal which doesn’t permit dissemination of the accepted manuscript, you will still need to upload the accepted manuscript to Pure within 90 days of its acceptance. There is provision in the REF policy for an exception applying if the publication can be shown to be the most appropriate publication venue for the research.
The REF Open Access policy advises that they be set from date of first publication. This is often classified as the ‘e-pub ahead of print’ date where electronic release of the article comes before the print publication.
The RSP team in the library will implement a provisional embargo on the day they check and validate the record, and have a system for periodically checking back on records to see when publication occurs..
However, if authors can remember to update Pure records following publication to add such details as publication date and DOI / weblinks to the final publication this is helpful as it will lead to the record getting checked sooner and the final embargo date being correctly set.
We suggest the default visibility setting of a Pure record should be set to ‘public’. There may be grounds however to restrict the visibility of the record where one of the following scenarios apply:
A press embargo has been requested by the publication
A publication is at the stage of being submitted for publication or is being prepared for publication
The record details a confidential report or similar whose details are not to be publicly disclosed
Please note that the visibility of the record operates separately to the visibility of any documents attached to the record. It is possible for the overall Pure record to be set to ‘public’ even where the attached document is under an embargo.
In cases where the restricted visibility of a newly created record may impact upon its compliance with the REF Open Access policy, a member of our team will get in touch to query this.
Records will display on the Pure Portal once they have been validated, provided the visibility of the record is set to ‘public’ (which is the default setting). Records are validated by the Research and Scholarly Publications team in the library.
Please note that when changes are made to a record which has been validated this will trigger the record going into ‘re-validation’ for a member of the Research and Scholarly Publications team to check the information which has been added is accurate. During this period the record will for a brief time not display on the Portal.
If you have a question which is not covered here, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
FL320, Lanchester Library
Frederick Lanchester Building
Coventry, United Kingdom
Telephone: 024 7765 7568
Open Access and Institutional Repository - email@example.com
Research Data Management - firstname.lastname@example.org