Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Open Access

What is Open Access?

Based on the idea that research which is paid for with public funds should be freely available to all, open access publishing is the provision of access to research publications free of charge to the reader. This allows research to be disseminated quickly and widely, and results in increased use of the research.

Open Access Benefits

Benefits of open access publishing include:

  • Greater exposure, more citations, increased impact, attracts collaborators for future work

  • External research funding may require open access publication

  • Meeting REF criteria

  • Higher levels of social media attention

  • Impact outside the traditional academic world (eg significantly more likely to be cited on Wikipedia)

  • Your work is accessible to practitioners, policy makers, and researchers in developing countries.

OA and the Research Lifecycle

Meet the Information Librarians

Celia Forrester   Dan Scutt         

    Celia Forrester                Dan Scutt              Mike Jones

The Information Librarians can help you with a wide range of different things - research, referencing, assignment and dissertation structure, writing a literature review, as well as preparing for a presentation. 

Support is available via email or you can request an individual appointment delivered via Teams.

Please feel free to email and a member of the team will deal with your query or appointment request as quickly as possible (please allow up to 3 working days for a reply).


Publisher Policies and Embargoes

Policies on uploading author accepted manuscripts (AAMs) differ from publisher to publisher. Some allow AAMs to be uploaded to an institutional repository immediately, others require an embargo period of anywhere from six months to two years before the manuscript can be made freely available. The Sherpa/Romeo site provides an easy way to identify the policy for specific publishers and journals.

You can also check the Directory of Open Access Journals to see if a journal is open access.

Gold and Green Routes to Open Access

There are two routes into open access, gold and green

Gold open access involves publication in journals or books which are themselves either completely open access, or partially open access ("hybrid" publications). In this case, the author typically pays a fee, or "article processing charge" (APC) and the resulting publication is free to access for anyone, with a licence that permits re-use.

For green open access, a shareable version of the text is deposited in an institutional or subject-based repository (such as Pure). The version used for green open access is the author accepted manuscript, or postprint. This is the text submitted for publication after any changes made as a result of the peer-review process, but not the publisher's PDF. There is no cost to the author, but the publisher's policies may require an embargo to be placed on the document.

Copyright and Licences

When research publications or other research outputs are made available via open access, the content normally carries a licence of some sort. Most open access publications use a Creative Commons licence. The exact licence required may be determined by the publisher's open access conditions.

Creative Commons offers a simple DIY method for licensing the reuse of a copyright-protected work of any sort. The Creative Commons web site offers a choice of predefined licences using concise symbols that can be combined in different ways.

 The Creative Commons (CC) licences work worldwide within the limits of copyright law.  There are six different licences which can be used to protect your work, these are regularly updated and conform to international copyright laws.


Creative Commons licenses explained


CC BY Licence Attribution (CC BY)

This licence allows you let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work - and derivative works based upon it - but only if they give you credit and cite the licence. When used on its own, this is the simplest and least restrictive CC Licence.


CC BY SA Licence Attribution Share Alike (CC BY-SA)

This license allows others to distribute, alter and build upon a created work, even commercially, as long as the original source is credited and all derivative works are licensed with the same terms of use as the original. 

CC BY ND Licence Attribution No Derivatives (CC BY-ND)

This license allows for the distribution of a work, commercially or non-commercially, as long as the created item is used unchanged and in its original and intended format with credit given to the creator.

CC BY NC Licence Attribution Non-Commercial (CC BY-NC)

This license allows others to distribute, alter and build upon a created work for purely non-commercial use as long as the original source is acknowledged. Derivative works do not have to be licensed in the same manner as source material.

CC BY NC ND Licence Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND)

This license is the most restrictive of all the Creative Commons options and only allows for the downloading or use of works in a shared manner. The user must credit the original source and can’t change or distribute them commercially information in any way.

CC BY NC SA Licence Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND)

This license allows others to distribute, alter and build upon a created work, but not commercially, as long as the original source is credited. Unlike the CC BY-SA license, derivative works do not have to be licensed with the same terms of use as the original.

CC0 Licence CC0 - No Rights Reserved

This is an alternative to the Creative Commons licences, which is often appropriate for research data sets.

CC0 goes one step further than the Creative Commons licences in making your work available for others to reuse. CC0 enables you to waive any claim you might have to copyright protection in the work. It follows that others will be free to reuse your work in any way they choose without seeking permission, without acknowledging you as the author and with no other formalities. If the CC licences are equivalent to “some rights reserved,” CC0 is equivalent to “no rights reserved.”

By applying CC0, you are placing your work in the public domain to  the fullest  possible extent. CC0 can be especially appropriate for research data sets as it maximises the opportunities for  other researchers to test and reuse your data.

When not to apply a CC licence

If your work has commercial potential then a Creative commons licence may not be ideal as, essentially, you are making it available to everyone free of charge. Once granted, a CC licence cannot be withdrawn from someone who is already reusing your work under the licence. It follows that you need to think carefully before attaching a CC licence to your work.

Further details on Creative Commons can be found at