About Open Access

Open Access

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 in 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?

Version

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.

Embargo

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. 

Article 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.

Definition

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.

Sharing

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 Academia.edu. 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.

Definition

The version of the paper 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. 

Sharing

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 Academia.edu 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.

Proof

Also known as...

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

Definition

This is as version of the article 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. 

Sharing

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.

Definition

This is the version of the article 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. 

Sharing

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.

Retaining copyright

When publishing a journal article it is common practice for the publisher to ask authors to sign over copyright to the article. This gives a publisher exclusive rights to reproduce and distribute a Work. In academic publishing it is usual for a publisher to ask authors to give up rights to their work without any financial compensation.

An increasing number of institutions and organizations are encouraging their authors to request an amendment to the publisher's copyright agreement which allows authors to retain more rights to their work, including the right to deposit in a repository.

The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resource Coalition (SPARC) have further information about retaining rights to your work. This includes an addendum that can be added to your publisher’s copyright agreement to request the retaining of rights.

Our repositories

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.

IRIS

IRIS is a digital repository of data collection instruments for research into second language learning and teaching. IRIS is open for any researchers to deposit or download data collection instruments.

IRIS is a collaboration between the University of York in the UK and Georgetown University in the US.

Benefits

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.