Thing 15: Open Access and Surrey Research Insight


“Delicious Access…”

In the last few Things, we looked at alternative ways of sharing your research. In order to give your research proper academic credibility, it is important to provide readers with links to peer-reviewed, published articles. However, this presents the reader with a problem: Access.

(If your research is not yet published, there is also the problem of copyright, which we talked about in Thing 8.)

Traditionally, research is written up into articles, which are submitted to a publisher, peer reviewed, and then published in an academic journal (if you want to know more about this process come to our publishing workshops). Institutions must pay both to submit the article, and to buy the access to the article (called a journal subscription).

This limits the availability of academic papers to subscribing institutions, journal members, and one-off fee-payers.

Open Access is about making research papers freely available to anyone who is interested.

From Surrey Library’s pages on Open Access:

Open Access Basics

Open Access (OA) means making research publications freely available online.

There are no password or subscription barriers so your research is free to be downloaded and read by a global audience.

OA and visibility

Open access papers are highly visible and widely downloaded. Downloads from SRI Open Access, the University’s open access repository, have recently passed the 5 million mark. Researchers, practitioners and the wider public from over 200 countries access University of Surrey Open Access papers every day.

High downloads, in turn, are linked to higher citations and thus higher impact

OA routes

There are two main routes to OA: Green and Gold.



Green Gold
How You retain the right to post your accepted version on open access. The publisher makes the published version open access immediately.
Cost There are no charges. You pay the publisher an Article Processing Charge (APC).

This is about £1,800 on average.

What is made available on open access? Usually the author’s version
(final accepted version)
The published, typeset version.
When is it publicly available? Immediately or after an embargo period, depending on the publisher’s policy.
Embargoes usually vary between 6 months and 3 years.
Immediately upon publication.
Where ·         Your University’s repository

·         Any other repository specified in the publisher’s conditions.

·         The publisher’s website

·         Any repository (usually)

Copyright The copyright transfer or licence agreement that you sign determines the specifics of the Green route.
Embargoes may apply.
Copyright is usually transferred to the publisher, but you retain certain rights.
Usually published under a Creative Commons (CC) licence.
This sets the terms of re-use.
You usually retain copyright.
How does the University help
me apply this option?
E-mail your accepted papers to We will check copyright and upload them for you The University has funds to support Open Access for publication from their project grants.
Allocation of funds is subject to certain criteria.

Most subscription journals offer a Green option, and many also offer Gold. Purely OA journals, such as PLOS, offer the Gold option only.

REF2020/1 and Open Access

To make your journal articles and published conference proceedings eligible for the next REF submission, you must:

– deposit them in an open access repository within 90 days of acceptance

– make the deposited papers available on open access within a specified time.

Non-compliant publications will not be considered for the REF. There is lots more information on the Surrey open access web pages.

Like every important change, there is a certain degree of controversy around what Open Access publishing means in the longer term. If you’d like to follow the discussion try this recent  THE article,   or this one.


If you have already published a paper through a journal, is it available through OA? Use the Surrey Research Insight OA database to check. If your publication isn’t there, it might still be possible to provide OA to the research. Use the Sherpa/Romeo database to check the policies of the journal, and consult the Open Research team to find out how to proceed.


king of italy

“Alright, it’s settled then: I get to be King of Italy, and you can be first-named author.”

Author: rdpsurrey

Providing personal and professional development opportunities to researchers at the University of Surrey.

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