Open Access

Open Access information on Green/Gold options, Open Access and the REF, Open Access and RCUK and what you need to do to make your paper open access. 
SRI Open Access

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Open Access: what you need to know

Open Access (OA) means making research publications freely available online.

There are no password or subscription barriers, so your research is free to be read by a global audience.

Open access papers are highly visible and widely downloaded. Downloads from SRI Open Access, the University’s open access repository, have recently passed the 3 million mark. Researchers, practitioners and the wider public from over 200 countries access University of Surrey Open Access papers every day.

High downloads, in turn, are linked to higher citations and thus higher impact.

Green and Gold Open Access

There are two main routes to open access: the Green route and the Gold route. The table below outlines how each option implements open access.

Most subscription journals offer a Green option, and many also offer Gold. Purely open access journals, like PLOS, offer the Gold option only.


HowYou retain the right to post your accepted version on open access.The publisher makes the published version open access immediately.
CostThere are no charges.

You pay the publisher an Article Processing Charge (APC). 

This is about £1,500 on average.

What is made available

on open access?

Usually the author’s version
(final accepted version)
The published, typeset version.

When is it publicly


Immediately or after an embargo period, depending on the publisher's policy.
Embargoes usually vary between 6 months and 3 years.
Immediately upon publication.
Where● Your University’s repository
     ● Any other repository specified in the publisher’s conditions.
● The publisher's website
● Any repository (usually)
CopyrightThe copyright transfer or licence agreement that you sign determines the specifics of the Green route.
Embargoes may apply.
Copyright is usually transferred to the publisher, but you retain certain rights.
Usually published under a Creative Commons (CC) licence.
This sets the terms of re-use.
You usually retain copyright.
Does this option comply with
the REF/funders’ policies?
Yes, if the journal’s embargo is no longer than the maximum specified by the funder or HEFCE.Yes. Some funders will require a specific Creative Commons Licence – you need to ensure the APC is purchasing the correct type of licence.
How does the University help
me apply this option?
Current policy requires you to deposit your own version in SRI Open Access, via Symplectic, on acceptance by the publisher.RCUK have provided the University a fund to support Open Access for publication from their project grants.
Allocation of funds is subject to certain criteria.


REF2020 and Open Access

To make your journal articles and published conference proceedings eligible for the next REF submission, you must:

- deposit them in an open access repository within 90 days of acceptance

- make the deposited papers available on open access within a specified time.

Non-compliant publications will not be considered for the REF.

Key points

     ● The policy covers papers accepted for publication after 1 April 2016.

     ● The policy applies to journal articles and conference proceedings with an ISSN.

     ● Papers must be deposited on acceptance, even if they cannot be made open access immediately. The version deposited is therefore the accepted version.

     ● Green open access is acceptable if embargoes are no longer than 12 months (Panels A and B) or 24 months (Panels C and D).

     ● Gold open access is also acceptable.


HEFCE policy allows for cases where a paper can be submitted to the REF even though it does not comply with HEFCE’s policy. In these cases the author is required to make a case for an exception in writing. The only possible situations where an exception can be considered are:

At the time of acceptance, the author could not deposit the paper because:

     ● The author was not at a UK University, or was at different UK institution that did not comply.

     ● The author did not have access to a repository, or a technical failure in the repository prevented compliance – however this would mean that the technology was not available for the complete 90 days after acceptance, it is not possible to wait until day 87/88 and not be able to upload due to a short-term technical failure.

     ● The author could not obtain the accepted version within 90 days of acceptance (e.g. they were not the corresponding author).

The paper could not be made open access within the specified time because:

     ● The journal/proceeding did not allow posting on open access.

     ● The journal/proceeding had a longer embargo than the maximum allowed.

     ● Open access rights could not be granted for third-party content in the paper.

     ● A third party provider prevented compliance (e.g. a subject repository did not release the paper on open access after the embargo).

     ● It would be unlawful to make the paper open access.

     ● Making the paper open access would present a security risk.

RCUK policy on Open Access

If you are funded by the AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC or STFC you must comply with the Research Councils UK (RCUK) policy on open access.

If you do not comply, this may affect your future funding opportunities.

Key points

     ● The policy applies to journal articles and conference proceedings accepted for publication after 1 April 2013.

     ● Publications can be made available via the Green or the Gold route

     ● Publications must acknowledge the RCUK funder. 

     ● Green open access is acceptable if embargoes are no longer than:
                6 months (BBSRC, EPSRC, MRC, NERC, STFC)
                12 months (AHRC, ESRC)

     ● Gold open access is strongly encouraged by RCUK. If you choose Gold, you must make the paper available under a Creative Commons Licence.

     ● RCUK have allocated Surrey a block fund to cover the costs of Gold Open Access. 

Other funders. To look up your funder’s policy, visit

Where we are

University Library, George Edwards Building,  University of Surrey,  Guildford,  Surrey GU2 7XH,  United Kingdom T: +44 (0)1483 689235 F: +44 (0)1483 689500

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