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Understanding Open Access

What is Open Access?

Open Access (OA) means that items of scholarly work are made available online, in a digital format, at no charge to the reader and with limited restrictions on re-use.

There are two ways of making your work OA:

1.    Gold OA is where the:

  • published work is freely available via the publisher’s website immediately on publication
  • published work is normally published under a Creative Commons licence
  • publisher may apply an Article Processing Charge (APC)

Our Open Access funding page explains the University’s Gold OA funds and eligibility criteria.

2.    Green OA is where the:

  • published work is freely available via an institutional or discipline-specific repository,
  • version of work made available may be pre peer-review (pre-print, draft) or post peer-review (Author Accepted Manuscript or publisher's),
  • version deposited may be subject to a publisher's embargo,
  • article is made OA without payment of an APC

Our Share your research page explains how to deposit your output to the University’s repository, Pure, and provides information about discipline-specific repositories.

Benefits of Open Access

Open access diagram

Manchester researchers describe their experiences and opinions of OA on our Testimonials page.

Open Access policies

Most research funders and universities have an OA policy to ensure that the research they fund is freely available to the widest possible audience. 

This section explains what the University's major research funders require and what Manchester researchers need to do.

Research England (REF OA)

This policy affects submissions to the next Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise. It is a Green OA policy and authors are not required to pay APC fees to publishers to comply with the policy. 

What the policy says

  • To be eligible for submission to the REF, all journal articles and peer-reviewed conference papers must be:
    • deposited in an approved repository within three months of acceptance
    • subsequently made OA
    • Papers can be embargoed for up to 12 months (REF Panels A & B) or 24 months (REF Panels C & D)

Author actions

On acceptance:

  1. Deposit the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) to Pure via  the Open Access Gateway.

N.B.: Papers published Gold OA automatically meet the policy requirements. It is not necessary to deposit AAMs for these papers in a repository, unless the paper acknowledges funding from the ERC, including FP7 and Horizon 2020 grants. Authors wishing to request institutional funding to cover Gold OA costs should use the OA Gateway to do so.

The Library will ensure that papers deposited within three months of acceptance meet the OA requirements to be eligible for the next REF.

University of Manchester Publications Policy

This policy applies to all Manchester researchers and research students.

What the policy says

  • All peer-reviewed research articles and conference proceedings with an ISSN must be Open Access (OA).   
  • Where a funding body requires it, other publication types must also be OA, including monographs and book chapters. 

Author actions

On acceptance:

  1. Deposit the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) to Pure via the Open Access Gateway within three months of acceptance.

Access the policy document:

UKRI (AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, STFC)

What the policy says

  • All peer-reviewed research papers (articles and conference proceedings) must be Open Access (OA). N.B. The policy doesn’t apply to invited review articles but authors may request Gold OA fees for this publication type.
  • Both Gold and Green OA are acceptable if journals comply with policy terms
  • All papers should acknowledge the supporting grant code and include a statement on how underlying research data, samples and/or models can be accessed

Author actions for Gold Open Access

  1. Publish in a journal that allows your work to be licensed as CC-BY
  2. If your journal complies with the policy terms request payment of the Article Processing Charge (APC) from the University’s block grant. Requests will be assessed based on agreed eligibility criteria.

Please note: MRC funded papers must also be deposited in Europe PMC within six months of publication.

Author actions for Green Open Access

  1. Publish in a journal that allows your paper to be deposited in Pure or a discipline-specific repository with an embargo period acceptable to your funder
  2. To arrange deposit to Pure, deposit the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) via the Open Access Gateway

Funder embargo requirements from date of first online publication:

  • MRC: maximum six month embargo
  • BBSRC; EPSRC; NERC; STFC: maximum 12 month embargo
  • AHRC; ESRC: maximum 24 month embargo

COAF (Charity Open Access Fund) (Versus Arthritis, Bloodwise, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Parkinson's UK, The Wellcome Trust)

What the policy says

  • All peer-reviewed research articles must be Open Access (OA)
  • Gold OA is preferred for journals that offer an OA option that complies with the terms of the policy
  • COAF may be used to cover Article Processing Charges (APCs) for:
    • Original peer-reviewed research articles
    • Review articles that are not commissioned or invited
    • Study protocols N.B. The policy doesn’t apply to invited review protocols but authors may request Gold OA for this publication type
  • All papers should acknowledge the supporting grant code and include a statement on how underlying research data, samples and/or models can be accessed

N.B.: For Wellcome Trust-funded researchers the policy also applies to monographs and book chapters.

Author actions for Gold Open Access

  1. Publish in a journal that will licence the article as CC-BY and deposit the article in EuropePMC within 6 months of publication
  2. If your journal complies with the terms of the policy, request payment of the Article Processing Charge (APC) from the University’s institutional fund. Requests will be assessed based on agreed eligibility criteria

Author actions for Green Open Access

  1. Publish in a journal that allows your paper to be deposited in Europe PMC within 6 months of publication

FP7

Open Access (OA) is required for peer-reviewed articles resulting from specified research areas:

  • Energy; Environment (including Climate Change)
  • Health
  • Information and Communication Technologies (Cognitive Systems, Interaction, Robotics)
  • Research Infrastructures (e-infrastructures)
  • Science in society
  • Socio-economic sciences and the humanities

What the policy says

  • All peer-reviewed articles must be OA
  • Both Gold and Green OA are acceptable if journals comply with policy terms
  • Gold OA papers should be deposited in a repository

Author actions for Gold Open Access

  1. Cost Article Processing Charges (APCs) in to project grants

Author actions for Green Open Access

  1. Publish in a journal that allows your paper to be deposited in Pure or a discipline-specific repository with an embargo period of no longer than six months (Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine disciplines) or 12 months (Social Sciences and Humanities disciplines)
  2. To arrange deposit to Pure, deposit the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) via the Open Access Gateway

Horizon 2020

What the policy says

  • All peer-reviewed articles must be Open Access (OA) but researchers are encouraged to make all publications OA
  • Both Gold and Green OA are acceptable if journals comply with policy terms
  • All papers should be deposited in a repository and repository records should include the following:
    • the terms ["European Union (EU)" and "Horizon 2020"]["Euratom" and Euratom research and training programme 2014-2018"];
    • the name of the action, acronym and grant number;
    • the publication date, and length of any embargo period.

Author actions for Gold Open Access

  1. Cost Article Processing Charges (APCs) into project grants
  2. Publication under a Creative Commons (CC) licence is encouraged

Author actions for Green Open Access

  1. Publish in a journal that allows your paper to be deposited in Pure or a discipline-specific repository with an embargo period of no longer than 6 months (Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine disciplines) and 12 months (Social Sciences and Humanities disciplines)
  2. To arrange deposit to Pure, deposit the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) via the Open Access Gateway

NIHR

What the policy says

  • All peer-reviewed research articles must be Open Access (OA), including uninvited review articles, final reports and executive summaries
  • Gold OA is required for the main research output of the NIHR grant
  • All articles must be deposited in Europe PMC within six months of publication

Author actions for Gold Open Access

  1. Researchers fully funded by NIHR should cost Article Processing Charges (APCs) into grants
  2. Researchers working in a BRU/BRC, whose papers do not acknowledge any other source of funding, should discuss APCs with the BRU/BRC manager
  3. Publish in a journal that allows your paper to be deposited in Europe PMC within six months of publication
  4. Publication under a Creative Commons (CC) licence is encouraged

Author actions for Green Open Access

  1. Publish in a journal that allows your paper to be deposited in Europe PMC within six months of publication

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

What the policy says

  • All research and supporting data must be published Open Access (OA) under the CC-BY or equivalent licence
  • The Foundation will pay Article Processing Charges (APCs) and other publication fees directly to publishers
  • APCs should not be budgeted into or paid from individual research grants

Author actions

  • Identify suitable journals using Chronos
  • Submit papers to publishers via Chronos. If accepted for publication, payments will be made directly to publishers through this system

How do I make my research OA?