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Open Access

Open Access is a way of making research outputs more widely read, cited and used.

The University of Edinburgh supports its staff in making their research Open Access.  There are two main routes to make your work Open Access:

  1. Deposit a copy of the paper in an Open Access Repository i.e. PURE, arXiv  (Green Open Access)
  2. Publish in a journal that makes the paper immediately available at the time of online publication (Gold Open Access).  This usually requires payment of an ‘Article Processing Charge’ (APC)

Green Open Access is the University’s preferred route.

RCUK-funded researchers can apply to a central fund to pay for Open Access publication costs

RCUK Open Access fund

The Library has arranged deals with a number of publishers to reduce the costs of APCs.  One of these is Springer Compact whereby corresponding authors from participating institutions (including the University of Edinburgh) who submit to the participating journals will have their papers published as gold open access by default.

Publisher discount schemes

Springer Compact Briefing Note

Post-2014 REF Open Access requirements

As discussed at the December 2014 School Forum, the open access policy for the post-2014 REF states that 

all journal articles or conference proceedings accepted for publication after 1 April 2016 must be deposited in an institutional repository (PURE) or a subject repository (eg arXiv) no later than 3 months after the date of acceptance. 

The version deposited should be the final draft author manuscript, as accepted for publication, including modifications based on referees’ suggestions but before it has undergone copyediting and proof correction.  This is sometimes known as the Post-print, Author Version or Personal Copy. Any output that falls within the scope of this policy and is submitted to post-2014 REF but has not been made open access will be given an unclassified score and will not be assessed.

Embargo periods: Any embargo periods imposed by journal publishers must not exceed 12 months.  If the publication concerned requires an embargo period that exceeds 12 months, and was the most appropriate for the output, then the output will be excepted from the policy.

The School wishes to start complying with this policy immediately [March 2015]. Therefore you are asked to forward acceptance emails from publishers to on receipt.   Please attach a pdf of the post-print or include the link to the arXiv version. It is important to have the correct version of the file – the publishers PDF is generally not OK. This information will be used to update (or create) the PURE entry for the paper.  

It is your responsibility to ensure that the journal to which submit allows you to deposit your paper in a repository in this way.  Most do, but there are still some exceptions. For a search tool on journals and their copyright/open access policies, please see the Sherpa/RoMeo website. If you have paid for Gold Open Access, please make this clear in your email.

Further help and information

Open Access

Post-2014 REF Open Access requirements

HEFCE open access policy FAQ


Scholarly Communications Team


Phone: 651 3850 or 651 5226

Last direct edit: 13:58, Thursday 11 February 2016, by Jill Douglas. (Feedback? Please contact the page owners)

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