Skip to main content

Open Access publishing for Aston authors: OA publishing explained

Background

Open Access publishing promotes the sharing of research freely and openly to all readers through unrestricted access to publications, principally journal articles and conference papers, on the internet.  

  • Many HE research funders now mandate for Open Access (OA) publishing in terms of compliance  with  specific  levels  of  discoverability  and  accessibility,  eg.  HEFCE,  RCUKthe European Commission, and the Wellcome Trust & other members of COAF.  
    • Note: There are developing compliance requirements also in relation to 'Research Data Management' (RDM) - see the RDM LibGuide for detailed information on this aspect.
  • See this infographic for examples of benefits of Open Access (OA) publishing.  Watch this YouTube videoOpen Access Explained! by Nick Shockey & Jonathan Eisen, PhD TV (for Gold OA).
  • For more information on OA publishing contact openaccess@aston.ac.uk or, on the benefits of OA, your Information Specialist in the Library.
  • There are two principal routes to OA publishing of journal articles - 'Green' and
     'Gold', as explained below.  To see how these aspects interrelate also see this OA timeline diagram.  

Gold Open Access

'Gold' OA publishing

 

  1. With 'Gold' OA the final publisher's version, or 'article of record', of the journal article is made available to all immediately, without any barriers to access.

  2. 'Gold' OA articles can be published in either fully OA journals, eg. PLOS One and the extensive range of journal titles in BioMed Central, or traditional journals with a Gold OA option for individual articles, often called  'hybrid'  journals, eg. many of the journals published by  ElsevierSageSpringer and Wiley.

  3. Publication costs are covered by an article processing charge (APC) paid by authors/institutions upon acceptance of an article.  Note: conditions will apply in relation to the use of central funds as per Aston's OA Policy and Code of Practice (inc. Guidance).

  4. 'Gold' OA journal articles are normally published under the Creative Commons Attribution Licence 3.0 or 4.0 (CC BY); use of this licence is a condition of funding from RCUK, the Wellcome Trust & other members of COAF, and is the preference with EC FP7/Horizon 2020 funding.  For more information on this type of licence and others see this infographic.

  5. Library Services at Aston administers and advises on payments  for 'GoldOA publishing.

  6. For reasons of preservation and completeness, HEFCE strongly encourages journal articles published as 'Gold' also be deposited in Aston  Publications  Explorer (ie. deposition of either the 'Author Accepted Manuscript' or the early online/final  published version) and, if applicable, a relevant subject repository.

Glossary

Accepted version: Final, peer-reviewed version of an article, before the publisher’s layout and typesetting is applied; also known as Final author manuscript or Post-print version.  Depositing this version in the institutional repository helps to make the content widely available.  Compare Article of record or Publisher PDF/version.

Advance online publication: Many publishers enable articles to be published online as soon as they have been fully copy-edited and proof-checked, ahead of the final, ‘printed’ version.   This version of the article is in exactly the same format as they appear in the final issue except for page numbering and volume/issue details.   If applicable, any Embargo periods pertaining to Open Access start from this release date.  Also known as Early or First online publication.
 
Article of record: Version of an article that appears on the publisher’s website upon publication, including the publisher’s copy-editing, proof corrections, layout and typesetting; also known as the Publisher PDF/version.  Compare Accepted/Post-print version or Final author manuscript.

Article Processing Charge (APC): Fee paid to a journal publisher by the author, author’s institution or funder, for Gold Open Access.

Aston Research Explorer (powered by PURE): The name of the portal serving to showcase all Aston’s research activities which incorporates the institutional repository.  Depositing in Aston Research Explorer (powered by PURE) helps to make your research widely available.  And this is where you need to deposit your articles for the next REF.

AURA: Aston University Research Archive.  The previous name for Aston University's institutional repository.  All content previously held in AURA is now in Aston Research Explorer (powered by PURE).  PURE remains the means by which authors populate Aston's institutional repository.

Bibliographic record: The bibliographic description of a digital publication.  Search engines crawl the internet to find documents and, depending on the quality of the metadata, they list the 'hits'.  The high-quality metadata for items deposited in repositories enables the documents to be easily discoverable.  Also known as Publication record or Metadata.
 

CC BY: Creative Commons CC BY Attribution Licence 3.0 or 4.0.  This licence grants permission to others to distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon a work, even commercially, as long as they credit the rightsholder(s) for the original creation.  It is one of the most accommodating of the Creative Commons licences, and the one that RCUK, the Wellcome Trust & other members of COAF require, and some other funders, eg. the European Commission, prefer.  For more information on this type of licence and others see this infographic.

COAF: Charity Open Access Fund.  Comprised of six medical research charities - Arthritis Research UK, Bloodwise, the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Parkinson's UK, and the Wellcome Trust.  Research funded by any of these charities must meet their Open Access requirements.  See COAF (Wellcome Trust).

Corresponding author: The author responsible for manuscript correction, correspondence during submission, handling of revisions and re-submission of the revised manuscript.  On acceptance of the manuscript, the corresponding author is responsible for co-ordinating any application for payment of a Gold Open Access Article Processing Charge (APC). 

Creative Commons: Global organisation that offers legal tools, including Creative Commons licences, that rightsholders can use to offer certain usage rights to the public.  See Creativecommons.org.uk.   

Early/First online publication: Many publishers enable articles to be published online as soon as they have been fully copy-edited and proof-checked, ahead of the final, ‘printed’ versions.   This version of the article is in exactly the same format as it appears in the final issue except for page numbering and volume/issue details.   If applicable, any embargo periods pertaining to Open Access start from this release date.  Also known as Advance online publication.

Embargo: A delay period imposed by a publisher on making full text articles available online, eg. in an institutional or subject repository. Embargoes can vary from 6 months to 2 years after publication (including Early online publication) in some cases. Sometimes the publisher's embargo conflicts with a funder's requirement, so it is worth checking this before you publish.  See also Green Open Access.

EPrints: The platform used until 2012 to manage Aston's research repository, AURA. Although Aston Research Explorer replaced AURA, ePrints is being used in the background for an interim period to support some aspects of Aston Research Explorer.

Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC): A life sciences and biomedical research subject repository.  The Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council (MRC) and most other UK biomedical funders require copies of funded articles to be deposited in Europe PMC within 6 months of publication.  The USA-based PubMed Central is the repository containing global content.

Final author manuscript: Accepted, peer-reviewed version of an article, before the publisher’s layout and typesetting is applied; also known as Accepted or Post-print version.  Depositing this version in the institutional repository helps to make the content widely available.  Compare Article of record or Publisher PDF/version.

Gold Open Access: Immediate Open Access of a journal article on the publisher's website, usually in exchange for a fee.  See Article Processing Charge (APC).

Green Open Access: Depositing research output, including journal articles and published conference papers, in an institutional or subject repository.  The version of an article deposited is normally the Final author manuscript, also known as the Accepted/Post-print version.  Depositing this version in the institutional repository helps to make the content widely available, and is central to Aston's OA Policy and Code of Practice (inc. Guidance).

Hybrid journals: Some journals are purely Open Access, but others offer a 'hybrid' model - where subscriptions are still required for access to most of the content, but a fee can be paid to make individual articles available as Open Access.  Compare Open Access journals.

Institutional repository: Online digital archive of an institution’s research publications. See Aston Research Explorer (powered by PURE).

Metadata: Information held as a description of stored data. Typically, the metadata of a publication record is its bibliographic details.  Search engines crawl the internet to find sources and list the 'hits' in order of richness of the metadata.  High-quality metadata for items in repositories increases discoverability.  Also known as Publication record or Bibliographic record.

Open Access: Making research publications, principally journal articles, freely available online with all barriers to access removed.  Open Access is achieved through Gold Open Access journals and journal articles, and Green self-archiving in institutional repositories such as Aston Research Explorer (powered by PURE).

Open Access journals: Journals in which all articles are Open Access. An Open Access publication fee is payable for every article, and articles are usually licensed under a Creative Commons licence, eg. CC BY.  Examples include PLOS and BioMed Central journals.  Compare Subscription/Hybrid journals.

Post-print version: Final, accepted, peer-reviewed version of an article, before the publisher’s layout and typesetting is applied; also known as Accepted version or Final author manuscript.  Depositing this version in the institutional repository helps to make the content widely available.  Compare Article of record or Publisher PDF/version.

Pre-print version: The version of an article before being peer-reviewed. They include draft early versions, works in progress and submitted versions to a journal for peer-review.  Some publishers specify only this version can be deposited in an institutional repository.

Publication fees: Open Access publication fees in Open Access/subscription/hybrid journals, ie. Article Processing Charges, and/or non-Open Access fees such as colour and page printing charges.

Publication record: The bibliographic description of a digital publication.  Search engines crawl the internet to find documents and, depending on the quality of the metadata, they list the 'hits'.  The high-quality metadata for items deposited in repositories enables the documents to be easily discoverable.  Also known as Metadata or Bibliographic record.

Publisher agreement: When you publish your paper you will probably sign a 'publisher agreement’.   This document states your rights as an author, so it is always worthwhile keeping a copy.  On the publisher agreement it should state whether you can make your article available on Aston Research Explorer (powered by PURE).
 

Publisher PDF/version: Version of an article that appears on the publisher’s website upon publication, including the publisher’s copy-editing, proof corrections, layout and typesetting; also known as the Article of record.  Compare Accepted/Post-print version or Final author manuscript.

Publisher prepayment scheme: Arrangement whereby an institution pays a lump sum to a publisher to cover Article Processing Charges, instead of being invoiced for each paper.  The publisher usually offers a discount; Aston currently has prepayment schemes with BioMed Central, Elservier, Sage and Wiley.

PURE: The current research information system used by Aston to record and track all our research activities, including publications. Aston authors can upload their publication details and the accepted/post-print version of their papers to PURE which will populate Aston Research Explorer.

RCUK: Research Councils UK, comprising: Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Medical Research Council (MRC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).  RCUK now mandates for Open Access publication of journal articles and published conference papers - see RCUK.

REF: Research Excellence Framework.  The UK system for assessing the quality of research in HE institutions.  The next REF is expected to take place in 2020, and will have an emphasis an Open Access publishing requirements. See HEFCE.

Subject repository: Digital archive of Open Access research output in particular subject areas.  Europe PubMed Central (for life sciences and biomedicine), arXiv (for science and statistics) and RCUK's Gateway to Research (for all subjects; now incorporating the ESRC Research Catalogue) are the best-known.

Subscription journals: Journals published under a traditional subscription model, whereby institutions and individuals pay an annual fee, or users pay per view, to access content.  Subscription journals usually offer a Gold Open Access option - these are sometimes called hybrid journals.  This means that an Article Processing Charge is paid to make an individual article Open Access.  Compare Open Access journals.

Open Access publishing explained - YouTube video (for Gold OA)

Green Open Access

'Green' OA publishing

  1. With 'Green' OA, in conjunction to publishing traditionally, a version of the journal article, namely the author's peer-reviewed, accepted manuscript, or 'post-print', is made available via an institutional repository such as Aston Publications Explorer and, if applicable, a subject repository within specified time frames.
     
  2. Depositing this version in an institutional/subject repository helps to make the content widely available.
     
  3. However, an accessibility embargo period set by the publisher is often involved, typically 6-24 months.The embargo period set can still be in place during the period of the REF, but for funder OA compliance to be met the embargo should not exceed the specified timescale.
     
  4. With 'Green' OA publishing no payment is made, but 'traditional' publication costs may still apply (eg. page/colour printing).
     
  5. Aston's OA Policy and Code of Practice (inc. Guidance) requires all journal articles and published conference papers to meet 'Green' status (if not Gold), requiring self-archiving/deposit in Aston Publications Explorer.
     
  6. See these instructions on how to self-archive/deposit in Aston Publications Explorer.

Open Access and Open Data at Aston University

Useful links

Information for authors:

  • Copyright Toolbox explains to authors the implications of publisher agreements and identifies issues that should be considered when a scholarly work is submitted to a journal.
  • SHERPA investigates issues in the future of scholarly communication, supporting institutional repositories to facilitate worldwide dissemination of research.
  • SHERPA-REF is the HEFCE / REF2020 Open Access compliance checker database for virtually all journal titles,
  • SHERPA-FACT is a tool to help researchers check if the journals in which they wish to publish their results comply with their funder's requirements for Open Access to research.
  • SHERPA-JULIET presents a summary of policies given by various research funders as part of their grant awards.
  • SHERPA-RoMEO presents a summary of permissions normally given as part of each publisher's copyright transfer agreement.
  • SPARC has some further resources for authors.

 

Publications in Aston Publications Explorer are indexed by both mainstream search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc) and specialised academic search engines.

Specialised academic search engines:

  • Millions of journal articles are now freely available online as they have been published Open Access (OA), whether as 'Gold', ie. immediate OA, or as 'Green', ie. archived in a repository in addition to their publication in a subscription journal.  Use the following search tools to find OA journal articles, many of which may not be available via our subscriptions:

  • DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals) - is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.
  • EThOS (Electronic Theses Online Service) is a British Library service to access theses produced by UK Higher Education.
  • Europeana Library is an online portal offering quick and easy access to the collections of the 48 National Libraries of Europe and leading European Research Libraries and it is designed to meet the needs of the research community worldwide.
  • OAIster is a catalogue of digital resources that provides access by 'harvesting' their descriptive metadata (publication records) using OAI-PMH (the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting).
  • OpenDOAR (Directory of Open Access Repositories) is an authoritative directory of academic Open Access repositories.  It gives a list of worldwide repositories.
  • ROAR (Registry of Open Access Repositories) promotes Open Access to research literature through institutional archives.  This registry monitors overall growth in the number of ePrint archives and maintain a list of ePrints sites (the software used by Aston Research Explorer).