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Guide: Open Access: The Basics

An introduction to Open Access - resources and publishing

What is Open Access

Open Access (OA) is making research publications freely available online for any users to download, copy, print or link to the full text without restriction, as long as the authors are properly acknowledged and cited. It helps research outputs become more widely read, cited and used.

There are two main routes to make your work Open Access - the free self-archiving Green route and the paid Gold route.

Benefits of Open Access

Open Access not only brings benefits to you as a researcher but also to the institution and those interested in scholarly publications.

  • Making your research open access increases its visibility and accessibility to a wider audience outside of the academic community as it overcomes the barriers associated with the traditional subscription model.
  • It boosts your citation count and impact as accessible research is more widely read and the rights of authors are properly acknowledged and cited.
  • It raises your research profile, which can result in the creation of the new collaboration and impact generating opportunities and potential further funding prospects.
  • It removes access and subscription barriers, making it more available to all and encourages the sharing of scholarship and intellectual wealth.
  • It contributes to an enhanced reputation for your institution as their research becomes more visible in the academic community and beyond.
  • Increasing numbers of research funders are requiring that outputs arising from research they have funded be made available on an Open Access basis - not complying might jeopardize future funding from them.

Green Open Access

This is the free route. You publish as normal but you also deposit a copy of your research output in an institutional repository or a subject repository, making the full text freely available. Most publishers permit the deposit of the author’s peer-reviewed accepted manuscript which is the final pre-publication version, also known as a post-print. An embargo period usually applies, depending on the publisher’s self archiving policy.  

Gold Open Access

This is the pay to publish route. You publish either in a fully open access journal or choose the open access option in a traditional journal if offered. An article processing charge (APC) is then paid to the publisher by you or your institution and after going through the usual peer-review process, the article is made freely available for anyone to read as soon as it is published on the journal website.

Contact Us

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Email openaccess@sruc.ac.uk with enquiries on making your papers OA, the SRUC Repository or for further information on OA in general.

Open Access Explained