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Open access explained

How to publish open access

There are different ways to make an output open access, and the method you choose may vary depending on where you want to publish your research.

The different types of open access are known as green and gold.

Green open access

Green open access makes your research outputs freely available through an open access repository. Green open access is sometimes called self-archiving.

No payment is incurred by you or your funder.

Characteristics of green open access are:

  • a version of the publication is archived online in a repository and is openly available
  • the publication is often the author accepted manuscript (post peer-review) but can also be a preprint or draft
  • publishers can demand an embargo period that delays open access (check your funder requirements for maximum embargo periods that meet award conditions)
  • the author usually does not retain the copyright in their work by default
  • there can be barriers to reuse and restrictive license conditions
  • there are no article processing charges.

The green publishing routes are:

Gold open access

Gold open access makes research outputs openly available immediately on the publisher's website at the point of publication.

Characteristics of gold open access are:

  • the final published version of the output is hosted on the publisher website
  • the publication is immediately openly available
  • the author retains their copyright
  • the work is usually under a creative commons licence with no barriers to sharing and reuse
  • there is often an article processing charge (APC).

The gold publishing routes are:

  • a “pure” or “fully” open access journal: they only publish open access
  • a hybrid journal: a subscription journal with an open access option
  • a transformative or read-and-publish journal: reading and publishing articles are bundled together in a subscription
  • open access book publishers and university presses.

You must pay for gold open access through article processing charges (APCs) or book processing charges (BPCs). Sometimes you can apply to have these costs covered by your funder or the University.

Routes where there is no charge to publish or to read articles is sometimes called “Diamond open access”. The Open Library of the Humanities is one example of this.

University policy requirements

You must deposit your outputs in Symplectic (the University publications database) within 3 months of acceptance of publication. This is regardless of how you have chosen to publish.

We will make them open access through our repository, White Rose Research Online, after any embargo periods have passed, or immediately if you have applied a rights retention statement.

Find out how to Deposit your research outputs in Symplectic

Read the full University Publications Policy.

Please contact us with any queries, or ask your departmental contact for open access.

Funder policy requirements

Funder policies differ but almost all have requirements for open access publication.

Find out about funder open access requirements

Find an open access publisher or journal

There are open access journals in most disciplines, with a smaller number of open access book publishers.

Find a reputable journal or a book publisher using:

University presses may offer another route to open access. White Rose University Press (WRUP) welcomes proposals from across the academic community.

Predatory publishers

Identify whether a publisher is trustworthy or not with the Think Check Submit checklist for journals and checklist for books.

Predatory publishers may make false claims about their impact, peer-review processes and quality control to charge article processing charges. They can also spam potential authors with requests for articles promising rapid publication or the prospect of joining an editorial board.

You can trust a publisher that is a member of one of these bodies: