Skip to Main Content

Open Access

What is Open Access

Open Access is the practice of making research outputs freely available online so that anyone can benefit from reading and using that research.   

UEA has an institutional Open Access Policy. Many research funders stipulate that any research arising out of their funding must be published open access. The Open Access Policy for the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF2021) stated that research articles and conference proceedings must be deposited in an open access repository in order to be eligible for submission to REF 2021. The guidelines for the next REF (REF29) are not yet available but we are advised to continue to follow this policy. 

There are two main ways to publish your research open access, commonly known as green and gold open access. 

Green Route 

This is sometimes called ‘Self- Archiving’. It involves placing a version of the published research output, as accepted for publication including all changes resulting from peer review, (often known as the Author’s Accepted Manuscript), into an online open access repository. The publisher may specify an embargo period before the output can be made openly available by the repository. There is no fee associated with this. 

Rights Retention is a specific form of Green open access publishing that enables immediate deposit of the Author’s Accepted Manuscript into a repository without an embargo period.  


Gold Route 

Access to the published research output is provided by the publisher via the publisher’s own website immediately at the time of online publication. It can involve payment of an ‘Article Processing Charge’ (APC) or ‘Book Processing Charge’ (BPC) to the publisher. APCs can range considerably- a cost of around £2000-£3000 is typical for many of the journals where UEA authors publish. 

There are two types of gold open access publishing of journal articles. One is where the publisher operates a subscription model for the journal but also offers an open access option for individual articles (usually on payment of an APC). This is often known as a hybrid journal. The other is through a fully open access journal. This means that the publisher does not use the subscription model and all articles are published open access. 

You may also come across two other ways of describing open access: 

  • Gratis: the publication is free to read 
  • Libre: the publication is free to read and the copyright holder (usually the author or publisher) allows certain re-use rights. 

How to publish OA articles and OA monograph publishing provide further guidance on how to publish open access (including how to cover the cost of APCs and BPCs). 

Contact the RIN Open Access Team if you need more guidance.


  • Increases readers’ ability to find and use relevant literature 
  • Increases the visibility, readership and impact of author’s works 
  • Creates new avenues for discovery in digital environment 
  • Enhances interdisciplinary research 
  • Accelerates the pace of research, discovery and innovation 


  • Access to cutting-edge research encourages innovation 
  • Stimulates new ideas, new services, new products 
  • Creates new opportunities for job creation 


  • Provides access to previously unavailable materials relating to health, energy, environment, and other areas of broad interest 
  • Creates better educated populace 
  • Encourages support of scientific enterprise and engagement in citizen science 

Research Funders 

  • Leverages return on research investment 
  • Creates tool to manage research portfolio 
  • Avoids funding duplicative research 
  • Creates transparency 
  • Encourages greater interaction with results of funded research 

Material used under CC-BY licence, Credit: Open Access Academy