Open-access publishing and article-processing charges (APCs)
Free, unrestricted, online access to outputs of publicly-funded research.
Open access is the free, unrestricted, online access to outputs of publicly-funded research, typically in the form of peer-reviewed journal articles, conference papers, theses, scholarly monographs, or research data.
Funder requirements for open-access publishing and application for payment of article-processing charges (APCs).
Many funders have policies and advice relating to open access:
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) - formerly Research Council UK
UKRI have a policy on open-access, and have provided the University with funds to help meet APCs.
Research England (formerly Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)
Research England have issued specific requirements for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021.
Plan S is an initiative for Open Access publishing. Current signatories include The Wellcome Trust and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. If you are funded by a Plan S signatory, all scholarly publications resulting from this research must be published in open access journals, on access platforms, or made immediately available through Open Access Repositories without embargo (usually by using a CC BY licence). You can check if your choice of journal is compliant with this policy by using the Plan S Journal Checker Tool (currently in beta).
If the journal you wish to publish in is not compliant, you can self-archive your research in the UWE Bristol Research Repository, but you must apply the following statement to your journal submission:
“This work was funded by [funder name] [grant number] For the purpose of Open Access the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.”
The Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust's open-access requirements extend to all research articles, scholarly monographs, and book chapters funded by their research grants. The Wellcome Trust's open-access webpages detail how grant holders can meet their requirements.
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
NIHR require funded researchers to seek to publish their research outputs in peer-reviewed journals that are compliant with their policy on open access. The NIHR open access webpages detail how grant holders can meet their requirements and apply for funding for open-access publication.
For open FP7 projects Gold Open Access charges can be charged to project grants. Alternatively, researchers publishing in traditional subscription journals can comply through Green open access, by making their papers available through the UWE Bristol Research repository.
Check your funder requirements
Sherpa Fact can be used to check your journal of choice against the open-access policy of many funders.
UWE Bristol policy on open access
The main principles of UWE Bristol's policy on open access (PDF) are that:
- authors need to comply with the open-access policies of their research funders
- authors need to comply with the Research England (formerly HEFCE) policy for the Research Excellence Framework (REF)
- All authors should deposit a version of the full text of their works, including PhD theses, in the UWE Bristol Research Repository, along with supporting metadata describing their research.
Benefits and further information
Open access benefits the author, institution, and wider community as well as meeting funder requirements.
- The Times Higher Education has produced features on how open-access papers generate more citations and are more likely to be cited on Twitter.
- The Open Citation Project provides a bibliography of research on the impact of open access on citations.
Cameron Neylon explains open access and its importance in publishing in the 21st Century in this video:
The Research Repository blog features updates on open-access policy.
For details of over 2000 peer-reviewed open-access journals, see the Directory Of Online Journals (DOAJ).
If you are struggling to find full text for a paper you need to read, the following open access discovery tools aim to quickly locate the full text of articles that may be hidden behind paywalls. Whilst none of them fully index all available open access content, they may result in you finding a readable copy of the specific paper you are looking for:
- Google Scholar is the academic search engine version of Google, which often finds open versions of papers and usually displays a link straight to the paper.
- Unpaywall is an open access discovery service that is being integrated into many databases and sites. You can use their browser extension to get a colour-coded padlock with (hopefully) direct access to a PDF.
- The Open Access Button is another open access discovery source with its own browser extension.
- CORE is a searchable database of aggregated open access content from repositories and journals worldwide.
- Kopernio searches the library subscriptions of the user’s institution, pre-print servers and repositories to find a readable copy of the article in question. Kopernio also allows users to save PDFs to their Kopernio lockers so you can read the PDF later.
ROARMAP (The Registry of Open Access Repository Mandates and Policies) is a searchable international registry listing open access mandates and policies adopted by universities, research institutions and research funders that require or request their researchers to provide open access to their peer-reviewed research article output by depositing it in an open access repository.
The Global Open Access Portal, hosted by UNESCO, provides an insight into the status of open access to scientific information in 158 countries worldwide.
The JISC Sherpa Services enable authors to check publisher, funder and government open access policies.
- Sherpa FACT checks if compliance with funder open access policies can be achieved with a particular journal
- Sherpa Romeo shows publishers' conditions for open access archiving on a journal-by-journal basis
- Sherpa Juliet shows funders for conditions for open access publication
- Sherpa REF shows whether a journal complies with the REF open access policy
Resources for your thesis
There are a number of electronic thesis indexes for you to freely search, including:
- DART Europe E-Theses portal for a Europe-wide search
- The Center for Research Libraries Global Resources Network for a more international thesis search
- Open Access Theses and Dissertations indexes over 2.5 million theses and dissertations
- The Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations Global ETD Search
A number of websites provide Creative Commons Zero (CC0) images, which are available to use by anyone, however they like. The images are in the public domain and can be reproduced, incorporated into other works, modified, and reused, without needing permission and in most cases without even needing to credit the author.
Ned Potter’s Guide to the best sites for CC0 art and stock photography links to many of these public domain image sites, including Pexels, Stocksnap and finda.photo, amongst others.
For explanations of the terminology see the open-access glossary.
Open Research series
A series of recorded workshops on the benefits and practical application of Open Research: