Open Access for English

What is Open Access?

Following the rapid developments in Open Access (OA) in recent months and the implementation of the RCUK OA guidelines on 1 April 2013, it is important for researchers to be fully informed of the proposals, what it means for them and what they need to do.

If you are in receipt of RCUK funding (e.g. AHRC), you will need to comply with their OA publishing guidelines.

There are two permitted routes to publishing under Open Access:

Gold route (Author pays or Article Processing Charge, APC): a fee is paid to the publisher to make the article freely and immediately accessible. Authors should apply to the University for APC funding. The RCUK policy currently mandates use of the Creative Commons ‘Attribution’ license CC-BY (see below).

Green route (institutional repository): a refereed, but not yet copy-edited version is deposited in a local institutional repository (i.e. ORA in Oxford) after an embargo period of 12 months for arts and humanities. This is University of Oxford's preferred route. Initially, an embargo period of 12/24 months will be acceptable but it is expected that within 5 years a norm of 6/12 months will apply.

Open Access Oxford

The official Open Access website for Oxford University, it provides information about the University's position on Open Access (Green route wherever possible), gives practical guidance on how to deposit using the Gold route, how to apply to APC funding, OA requirements of major funders, news, and local support.

It also advertises Bodleian iSkills sessions on Open Access provided by Bodleian Libraries staff. OA Oxford posts updates on Twitter as @oaoxford.

Oxford University Research Archive (ORA)

Oxford's institutional repository, ORA was established some years ago as a permanent and secure online archive of research materials produced by members of the University of Oxford. It provides a means of institutional compliance with funders’ Open Access requirements (Green route).

Creative Commons (CC)

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. It provides a choice of six licenses which sit alongside copyright laws. Two types of licenses are relevant for OA:

Creative Commons License CC-BY (Attribution) is the RCUK's preferred option. This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation.

Creative Commons License CC-BY-NC (Noncommercial). This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.

About to submit an article? Quick step-by-step guide

Note: do check Open Access Oxford for more details.

• Was your research funded by RCUK, e.g. AHRC, and do you acknowledge their funding?
If yes, you will need to comply with their policy on Open Access. Normally, in order to comply with your funder's requirements you need to deposit your article as either Gold CC-BY or as Green 12 months embargo, post-print, CC-BY-NC.  For up to 5 years, it is possible that your funder may exceptionally accept a 24 month embargo. Please check.

• Is your preferred journal in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)?

• If your journal is not already an Open Access journal, then see if you can publish under the Green route.

Use SHERPA/FACT to check if the publisher of your preferred journal allows you to publish the refereed version of your article in an institutional repository. Make sure that the journal article embargo time in ORA complies with the funder’s policy (currently 12 months).

Note: "RCUK will consider only versions ‘as accepted for publication’ when assessing compliance with its policy."

• If you can go down the Green route, then self-deposit the accepted post-print / post-refereed version by contributing to ORA  or using Symplectic. Note that the Bodleian Libraries will continue to subscribe to electronic journals, so the article will still be accessible during the embargo period and thereafter via SOLO and OU e-Journals.

• If you can't go down the Green route, you must go down the Gold route in order to comply with RCUK.

• Check SHERPA/FACT to find out whether the Gold route is offered by the publisher. See Open Access Oxford FAQ: Funding & APCs for details about applying for APC funding.

• If the Gold route is not possible either, contact your funder.

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