Open-access publishing: journal papers and monographs

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.

The main principles of UWE Bristol's policy on open access (PDF) are that:

Funder requirements

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)

UKRI have an open access policy based on Plan S principles. Any peer reviewed journal papers submitted from 1 April 2022 onwards must:

  • Contain a Data Access Statement (DAS) which specifies where the research data associated with your paper can be found, and how they can be accessed, even if there is no data associated with the article or the data cannot be accessed. You can find examples of statements to adapt under “Write a data access statement” on our Preserving, sharing, and disposing of your research data webpage.
  • Be made open access immediately upon publication.
  • Have a CC-BY licence attached.
  • Contain a Rights Retention Statement if the journal does not comply with gold open access or a transformative deal. We recommend making a habit of including it in every publication, to make it easier to comply with the policy. The Rights Retention Statement should read: ‘This work was funded by UKRI grant [grant number]. For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising’.

This basic flowchart (PDF) shows the steps you need to take to comply with the current UKRI open access policy. There are further explanations and more detailed information in the in-depth flowchart (PDF). Alternatively, please contact the Library Research Support team at for more information.

UKRI have also provided the University with funds to help meet the cost of APCs. To apply to access this fund, please complete the APC payment information form (DOC) and submit it to Library Research Support team at

On 1 January 2024, UKRI introduced additional requirements for monographs, book chapters and edited works. See this UKRI open access monograph requirements guidance for further information.

Research England

Research England have issued specific requirements for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021. Continue to follow these until further notice.

Plan S

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.”

See the Plan S website for more information on rights and licences.

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.

European funders

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.

Benefits and further information

Open access benefits the author, institution, and wider community as well as meeting funder requirements.

Benefits of open access - Green and Gold routes to publication (PDF).

The Research Repository blog features updates on open-access policy.

Open-access resources

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:

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 PexelsStocksnap and, amongst others.


For explanations of the terminology see the open-access glossary.