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Open Access at Aston: Gold/Paid Open Access

Publishing outputs with gold/paid open access

Gold/paid open access refers to the model of open access where the author(s) must pay an article processing charge (APC) to the journal or publisher in order to make their final published article freely available in perpetuity. This encompasses fully open access journals where the journal only publishes gold open access, or hybrid open access journals where it is optional whether to pay for gold open access or publish via the standard subscription route. You may need to publish via gold open access if you have funding from one of the UK Research Councils, The Wellcome Trust, some UK medical charities, the European Commission and others. These requirements are summarised here.

Gold open access is different from 'free access' or 'open archive' initiatives that publishers may apply to certain articles or journals. These free access and open archive labels are not perpetual and the journal/publisher is legally able to put them behind a paywall whenever they wish. Additionally, you cannot self-archive these versions in a repository and authors and readers are limited as to how they can reuse these outputs.

Authors wishing to publish their outputs with gold open access should always choose a Creative Commons licence (preferably a CC BY) and retain copyright. 

Read & Publish and Transformative Deals

As part of our transformative/ read and publish deals with a range of publishers, Aston corresponding authors with current employment contracts or who are current studentshave access to a range of free or reduced APCs for original research and review articles (invited reviews, editorials, book reviews etc. are not included). You should use your Aston affiliation and email address to be included and check that the journal is eligible for the publisher's free gold open access deal. You must select a CC BY licence when offered a choice by the publishers. 

Contact for further details on any of these schemes or author/article type eligibility.

If a publisher is not included on the list below, it means that we do not have a deal with them and any open access costs incurred will need to be met through your PASA or another funding source. Additional charges such as excess page and colour charges are not included in these deals and will need to be covered by the author(s).



Hybrid Journals


Pure Gold Journals


Journal List

(available on publisher website)





ACM Publications List Includes conference proceedings




IoP Journal list  

Microbiology Society



Microbiology Society Journal List

Active 1 Jan 2021

Portland Press



Portland Press Journal List

Active 1 Jan 2021



No, 15% discount

RSC Journal List

Yearly cap


(incl. IMechE & RSM)


No, 20% discount

SAGE Journal List  




Springer Journal List excludes Nature & BMC titles




Wiley Journal List

Paused until 1 Jan 2021


Taylor & Francis have allocated us a number of APCs with a 75% discount (though most T&F health and science journals aren't in this scheme) 

Predatory Publishers

Unfortunately in open access publishing there are publishers who exploit the Gold open access route to publication. These are predatory publishers with no academic credibility and often have fabricated editorial staff and/or journal names that closely resemble well-known reputable ones. These publishers frequently solicit submissions via spam emails and may offer to waive APC fees initially before charging numerous additional fees (submission, page, review, expedited service, withdrawal, etc.). 

Examples of publications in predatory journals can be found here:

If you are considering publishing in a journal that is new to you, or that you think may not be entirely legitimate, please get in touch with us to discuss your concerns before agreeing to publish or pay any fees. You can also use Think, Check, Submit to help you choose which journals to publish in. 

Please note that Library Services will not pay any APCs for articles submitted to known predatory journals. 

Gold Open Access

If your journal or publisher is not included in any of our Read and Publish or Transformative deals, there may be financial support available to help you pay the APC for your article if you meet the following criteria:

  • Aston has funds from UKRI to pay APCs for articles arising from research directly funded by the UK Research Councils: AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC or STFCNote that we will only pay OA costs and will not pay for page or colour charges. Grants must be current, or no more than one year past the award end date.
  • We have funds from the British Heart Foundation to cover up to £2,000 of an APC


To request gold open access via the RCUK or BHF funds:

  1. Email at SUBMISSION or ACCEPTANCE (at the very latest) with details of the journal and grant number
  2. We will check that the journal offers compliant open access options for your funder.
  3. If approved, you will need to select the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY) with your publisher.
  4. Gold OA articles with a CC BY licence are automatically REF eligible, though you should also add these articles to Pure so they appear on your Aston Research Explorer profile. 

If open access publication costs are already included in your research grant, or can be reimbursed, you should use that as a source. At Aston, this applies primarily to European Commission (H2020 etc.) and Leverhulme grant holders.



The Library is not responsible for any open access fees incurred without our knowledge or approval.

Diamond Open Access

Diamond open access is a model of open access where a journal is completely open access, yet does not levy an article processing charge (APC). More than 70% of open access journals fall into this category. Diamond open access journals exist across the academic spectrum and reputable journals provide the same level of peer review and editorial oversight as traditional subscription or gold open access journals. has a filter that can be used to find open access journals that do not charge article processing fees. These journals have all been checked and vetted according to DOAJ's strict guidelines. 

The Open Library of Humanities also publishes a number of diamond open access journals across disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. 

Flipping a journal to OA or starting an OA journal

Are you an editor for a traditionally published subscription journal? Or have you and like-minded colleagues ever thought about starting up an open access journal? If so, take a look at the following resources for some information on initial steps to get started!

Useful Tools for Authors

  • SHERPA-RoMEO presents a summary of permissions normally given as part of each publisher's copyright transfer agreement.
  • SHERPA-FACT is a tool to help researchers check if journals comply with their funder's requirements for Open Access to research.
  • Creative Commons licence information