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Open Access: What is Open Access?

A guide to Open Access at the University of Huddersfield

What is Open Access?

Open Access (OA) means making research publications freely available so anyone can benefit from reading and using research.

OA makes research available to many more people than a subscription-only journal article does & there is evidence that this can lead to an increase in citations. OA also encourages public engagement with research, which is often paid for out of public money. It is also part of a wider ‘open’ movement to encourage free exchange of knowledge and resources in order to widen access and encourage creativity.

There are several routes into Open Access but the most common are Gold & Green, both of which are supported by the University. 

University Open Access Policy

The University Open Access policy is designed to ensure that the University of Huddersfield meets the Open Access requirements of the Research Excellence Framework (REF). 

Useful Tools for authors

  • SHERPA-RoMEO presents a summary of permissions normally given as part of each publisher's copyright transfer agreement.
  • SHERPA-FACT is a tool to help researchers check if journals comply with their funder's requirements for Open Access to research.
  • Creative Commons licence information

UKRI Licensing

The UKRI Open Access policy requires use of the following licenses when publishing on open access:

  • Gold Open Access – articles must be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY)
  • Green Open Access – articles should be licensed to facilitate non-commercial re-use.  The Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license (CC-BY-NC) meets this requirement, though other licenses that facilitate the same goal can also be used.

Further information on CC licenses can be found on the Creative Commons website.

Terminology of Open Access

A useful guide to Open Access Terminology is available from University of Cambridge Libraries.

Types of Open Access

Types of open access infographic

Green Open Access

This form of Open Access Publishing is free. There are no Article Processing Charges (APCs) or additional charges for authors.

When an article has been accepted for publication, the author accepted version should be archived in Pure. An accepted version is the final peer-reviewed text of  the article without the publisher's typesetting.

An embargo period of 12-24 months set by the publisher may apply.

Gold Open Access

Gold Open Access is where the final published version is made immediately available by the publisher to download, redistribute, and reuse from the date of publication after payment of an Article Processing Charge (APC).

An APC is usually payable when the manuscript is editorially accepted and before publication and is charged to either the author, research funder, or institution.

Gold Open Access can be in subscription journals or in journals that are entirely Open Access. Subscription journals which offer paid Gold Open Access option are known as ‘hybrid’ Open Access journals.

Think. Check. Submit

Think. Check. Submit. is a campaign to help researchers identify trusted journals for their research. It is a simple checklist researchers can use to assess the credentials of a journal or publisher.

Think. Check. Submit. from Think. Check. Submit. on Vimeo.

Which journal should I publish in?

Researchers are advised to consult with senior colleagues in their School and follow this Guidance from University Research, Innovation and Knowledge Exchange.

In addition, Library staff can suggest online resources to evaluate journal coverage and impact, please email

Why should I make my research Open Access?

Open Access makes your research available to many more people than a subscription-only journal article does. There is evidence that this can lead to an increase in citations of your work.

Your funding body may have a mandate which requires you to make your research available in an Open Access source.  UKRI and the other UK HE funding bodies believe that the outputs of research should be as widely accessible as possible. For this reason, a policy has been introduced for open access in relation to REF 2021.

The policy states that, to be eligible for submission to the next REF, authors’ final peer-reviewed manuscripts must have been deposited in an institutional repository (at the University of Huddersfield, this is Pure).  This policy applies to research outputs accepted for publication after 1 April 2016. 

Plan S

Plan S is an initiative for Open Access publishing that was launched in September 2018. The plan is supported by cOAlition S, an international consortium of research funders. Plan S requires that, from 2021, scientific publications that result from research funded by public grants must be published in compliant Open Access journals or platforms.

Further reading:

Johnson, R. (2019). From coalition to commons: Plan S and the future of scholarly communication. Insights, 32(1), 5.


University of Huddersfield Open Access eBooks