Accessibility statement

About Open Access

Open Access padlock symbol on an orange background

There are two main principles behind Open Access (OA):

  1. Research outputs should be free at the point of access to anyone with an internet connection as soon as possible after publication;
  2. Restrictions on reproduction and re-use should be minimised so that research can be distributed and built upon.

The aim is to increase the ability of researchers, members of the public, and industry to access the research they need and give them the freedom to build upon research already carried out.

Routes to Open Access

There are two main routes to making publications Open Access, often known as the 'green' route and the 'gold' route.

The difference between 'gold' and 'green' Open Access is where the document is made openly available. 

Gold Open Access A document is made openly available on the publisher's own website
Green Open Access A document is made openly available through an online open access repository

The two routes are not mutually exclusive; a document made open access on the publisher's website may still be added to an open access repository.

Green Open Access

In the green OA route the publisher is still responsible for the peer-review process and usually retains copyright to the work.

Authors deposit a copy of the paper to an appropriate repository. This is often termed 'author self-archiving'.

For an author to deposit a copy to a repository, the publisher - as copyright or exclusive rights holder - must specify that the author(s) have the right to do so. Most publishers have an author self-archiving policy which sets out what rights authors have to share copies of their articles.

In some cases, journals will have an agreement with a repository such as PubMed Central and will deposit a copy of the paper to that repository on the author's behalf. 

Gold Open Access

Gold OA is often equated with paid OA. This is not strictly true – a publisher can make a paper gold OA without charging – but many publishers will charge an article processing charge (APC) to make a paper gold OA.

If your research is externally funded then your funder might provide funds to pay Open Access APCs.

Journal policies

With an increasing number of funder expectations around open access, including requirements for the next REF, it is important to understand your open access options before you submit a paper for publication.

The easiest way to find the open access policy for the journal of your choice is by searching the Sherpa Romeo database of journal open access policies.

SHERPA/RoMEO might also include helpful links to policies on the journal website where more detailed information can be found. 

The important things to look out for are…

Acceptable routes for sharing

Where will a publisher allow you to share your paper: a personal website? an institutional repository? a subject repository? commercial social networking sites?


Which version of the paper can be shared? Most importantly, which version can be deposited to an open access repository? As a minimum the accepted manuscript will be required to fulfil most funder requirements including those for the next REF.


Will you be required to wait for an embargo period before you can make the paper open access? Most research funders, including requirements for the next REF, will specify a maximum acceptable embargo.

Paid Open Access

Does the journal offer a paid open access option? If the journal will not allow you to share your paper openly then it might be necessary to pay for the open access option. This is particularly true if the research is funded by an organisation which requires open access. 

Document versions

Open access often involves providing access to versions of the manuscript generated before the final published version was reached. Whether or not an author can make a manuscript open access will depend on when in the publication process it was produced, and what the publisher's policy is on open access.

The sections below describe the four main stages for a manuscript in the publication process including information about whether these can be shared and whether they meet funder open access requirements.

Submitted manuscript

Also known as...

Pre-print, Preprint, Author’s original, Original manuscript, Submitted version, Version 1.


The version prepared by the author(s) that they consider as being sufficient quality to submit for publication. It may have already been submitted or be intended for submission but it does not incorporate any changes made as a result of the publisher’s peer-review or editorial process.


Most publishers will allow the submitted manuscript to be posted on a range of web sites, including open access repositories, immediately either before or after publication of the version of record. Some publishers will not allow posting to commercial sites, including ResearchGate and Be aware, a small number of journals may not publish an article is it has already been made available as a pre-print. Check your journal/publisher policy.

Funder open access compliance

Making this version open access will not fulfil most funder policies, including the requirements for the next REF.

Accepted Manuscript

Also known as...

Post-print, Postprint, AAM, Final manuscript, Author’s version, Version 2.


The version which has passed the editorial process and peer-review (if applicable) and is ready to go forward to being prepared for publication. This version will include any academically-necessary changes which have been made as a result of peer-review. This version will not include any formatting or copy-editing applied by the publisher. 


Most publishers will allow you to make this version available through a non-commercial website or through an open access repository. Some publishers will allow this version to be posted to commercial sites like ResearchGate or but many will not. Some publishers will only allow this version to be made open access once an embargo period has elapsed following publication. Check your journal/publisher policy.

Funder open access compliance

Making this version open access will fulfil most funder policies, including requirements for the REF, provided that the embargo length specified is within a range acceptable to the funder. See funder policies.


Also known as...

Copy-edited manuscript, Galley proof, Galley, Review copy. 


This is as version created as part of the publication process, usually including copy-editing, layout, or typesetting added by the publisher. These are primarily used by the publisher for internal purposes but copies may be sent to authors for consultation. 


Most publishers will not allow these versions to be shared on any websites or open access repositories. Check your journal/publisher policy.

Funder open access compliance

If your publisher does allow this version to be made open access then it will fulfil most funder policies, including requirements for the REF, provided that the embargo length specified is within a range acceptable to the funder. See funder policies.

Published version

Also known as...

Version of record, VoR, Publisher's PDF, Final version, Version 3.


This is the version that has been formally published by the journal or publisher. This includes versions which have been released ‘early online’ but does not include versions that have make available by the publisher pending copy-editing and formatting, which would be considered as accepted manuscripts or proofs. 


Most publishers will not allow this version to be uploaded to any websites or open access repositories unless they have published it as open access themselves. Often this will involve paying an open access fee prior to publication. Check your journal/publisher policy.

Funder open access compliance

If this version can be made open access it will fulfil most funder policies, including requirements for the REF, provided that the embargo length specified is within a range acceptable to the funder. See funder policies.

Our repositories

White Rose Research Online logo

White Rose Research Online

White Rose Research Online (WRRO) is the main institutional repository for staff and students at York. WRRO is a shared service for the Universities of York, Leeds, and Sheffield and is collaboratively managed by the three institutions.

WRRO is an Open Access repository and deposited outputs can be downloaded and viewed by anyone with an Internet connection.

Depositing your research

Academic and research staff at York can deposit to WRRO by uploading their document to PURE. These documents are automatically sent to WRRO which provides long-term storage, a permanent URL and access through search engines and content aggregators. 

Research students, teaching-only, and support staff who do not have access to PURE can deposit research outputs directly to WRRO. 

White Rose eTheses Online

White Rose eTheses Online (WREO) is an open access repository of research theses, allowing research students to make their work available to the public and to the wider academic community. 

WREO is a resource shared by the Universities of York, Leeds and Sheffield, and contains theses completed at one of the three institutions. 

Depositing your thesis

All PhD and Masters by Research students at York (commencing from 2009) are required to submit an electronic version of their accepted thesis to WREO.

You will be sent further information about submission requirements and deposit of your thesis when you near completion. 

York Digital Library 

York Digital Library (YODL) is an online repository for multimedia resources at the University of York. YODL provides access to over 69,000 resources, which include images, past exam papers and Masters theses.


Making publications open access can help reach a wider audience. Groups that might benefit from access to your research outputs include teachers and other professionals, NGOs, independent researchers, business, and policy makers.

There is evidence to suggest that open access publications are accessed and cited more often than those which are not made open access. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) maintain a list of relevant studies.

Books and chapters

Although open access publication is most commonly associated with journal articles there is a growing awareness and range of options for making academic books and chapters open access, as well as other types of long-form publication such as scholarly monographs and edited collections. The University of York supports the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) which indexes over 600 open access academic book publishers and 45,000 publications.

Open access publishing options


Most academic publishers now provide options for publishing open access books. In order to cover the costs of open access publication through the ‘gold’ route, some publishers charge a book processing charge (BPC) which can start from £6,000 (+ VAT) depending on the publisher and length/complexity of the book.

White Rose University Press logo

The University of York has its own fully open access, non-profit university press, White Rose University Press (WRUP), which operates in collaboration with the Universities of Sheffield and Leeds and publishes across all disciplines including Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Authors from Leeds, Sheffield and York who cannot source funding elsewhere can apply to the WRUP waiver fund to cover some or all of the publication costs.

The Open Access Scholarly Publishing Association (OASPA) provides a list of open access publishers who are members on their website. Think. Check. Submit. also provide a checklist to help authors assess whether or not an open access book publisher is suitable for their research.

There are also alternative models of open access publication which cover their costs in different ways. The University of York supports Open Book Publishers, an independent, non-profit open access publisher with a focus on the Humanities and Social Sciences which does not usually charge BPCs to authors for standard monographs. The Radical Open Access Collective have also curated a list of funding and publication opportunities for open access books, including publishers and funding models that do not charge author fees. 


Book chapters can also be made available open access. One way is for your chapter to be published as part of a fully open access book via one of the publishing routes detailed above. Some publishers will also be able to arrange for your individual chapter to be published open access, even if the rest of the volume is not. 

Other routes to open access

If your chapter or book has been published in a non-open access way, then it may still be possible to make your work open access through deposit to Pure/White Rose Research Online or another appropriate repository (the 'green' route). This would depend on the details of your agreement with your publisher, and would likely involve an embargo period for the repository copy.

The OAPEN OA Books Toolkit aims to help authors to better understand open access book publishing and to increase trust in open access books.

Funder requirements

Some research funders may be willing to cover BPCs, and may also require that books and chapters are published open access as a condition of their funding. 

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)

Books and chapters which acknowledge funding from UKRI or any of its councils, and which are due to be published on or after 1 January 2024, will need to be made open access on the publisher’s site or through an institutional or subject repository within twelve months of publication. 

Further guidance for University of York researchers on the latest UKRI requirements for open access publication, including guidance on how funds will be met, will be added to our funder OA policies web pages in due course. 


Books and chapters which arise from Wellcome-funded research must be made openly available through NCBI Bookshelf and Europe PMC as early as possible and within six months of the publisher’s official publication date.

Funding to publish open access monographs or book chapters can be requested directly from Wellcome.

Other funders

Other funders, such as Horizon Europe, may allow open access book publishing to be costed in as part of a grant proposal, but often with the stipulation that costs are incurred during the period of the award (rather than after the award has finished).

Requirements for the REF

Books and chapters were outside the scope of the open access requirements for REF 2021, but may be eligible for submission in a future research evaluation exercise. 

In 2018, Universities UK (UUK) indicated that the four UK Higher Education Funding Bodies have signalled their intention to move towards a requirement for open access monographs in the post-2021 REF: “the benefits that OA has brought to journal articles should be extended to monographs and other long-form publications. OA has brought substantial benefits to scholarly communication in journals; within reason, and as far as is practical, it is right that other research outputs are required to take advantage of open-access options”