Open access guidance

Open Access publishing enables free and unrestricted access to the research outputs from publicly-funded work. Open access allows all to read published research papers as well as search and re-use the content of papers.

Watch this JISC video and find out more Open Access

Open access papers are published in 2 ways: green and gold.

Although it may be a requirement to publish research that has been publicly-funded, there are also advantages for researchers to publish their research via Open Access.

It enables:

  • Articles and papers to be more accessible
  • Citation factors to improve
  • A researcher to raise their profile
  • Return on investment to be more visible to the funding organisations

Green Open Access involves publication of the paper, plus a free copy donated for deposit in an open access repository, but subject to publishers’ stipulations.

Gold Open Access involves the payment of an article processing charge (APC) to the publisher so that the article is immediately publicly accessible on a publisher’s website.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funds health and care research and involves the patient and the public in all their work. The research focuses on treatments, devices and procedures and ensures that the NHS and its patients can get early access to breakthrough treatments.

The NIHR policy  “applies to any peer reviewed research articles (including review articles not commissioned by publishers, final reports or executive summaries), which are supported in whole or in part by NIHR funding, that are submitted for publication from 1 April 2014, and which are published.” Their preference is for “gold” open access.

The full policy can be found here (opens in a new window)

This is in line with Research Councils’ and Government priorities for research outputs. Jisc has some useful guides to open access publishing (opens in a new window)

The websites of Jisc and the Higher Education Funding Council for England regularly discuss the changing landscape of open access publishing. However much of the focus is on discoverability; they are keen for research to be learnt from and shared widely, even if an embargo is necessary. The funders are monitoring organisations receiving funding to ensure they adhere to the minimum standard. Read more (opens in a new window)

SHERPA is based at the University of Nottingham and is an online resource that supports the open-access IR in Universities to share research. It hosts a number of partnerships including

  • RoMEO - Publisher's copyright & archiving policies
  • JULIET - Research funders archiving mandates and guidelines
  • OpenDOAR - worldwide Directory of Open Access Repositories

Page last reviewed: 25 November 2021