FAQs

About open access

What is Open Access?

Open Access is free, unrestricted, on-line access to peer reviewed and published scholarly research papers.

What are the benefits of open access?

Open access articles are available to anyone to download and read in full, without the need for personal or institutional subscriptions to journals. As well as the potential benefits for society, this can improve the research profile of authors, increase citations and help promote the research of the university.

Do I need to make my publications open access?

Open access is a requirement of research funders including RCUK and the Wellcome Trust and is a criteria for REF eligibility.

Newcastle University encourages and supports open access as an invaluable way to maximise the visibility and impact of research. Many funders require publications arising from the research they fund to be open access. There are also open access requirements for the REF.

Do I need to make my research data open as well?

The RCUK policy on Open Access requires "all research papers, if applicable, to include a statement on how underlying research materials, such as data, samples or models, can be accessed". However, the policy does not require that the data must be made open.

The Research Data Service can provide guidance on what to include in the data access statement, where to store the data, and under what conditions data may not be made open.

EPSRC funded researchers can deposit their research datasets in the University's pilot repository.

What is the difference between gold and green open access?

Authors can make their articles open access by:

  1. Publishing in an open access journal or hybrid journal ('gold' open access)
  2. Self-archiving their accepted manuscripts in an open access repository ('green' open access)

With gold open access, authors publish in a journal which provides immediate open access to articles on the publisher's website. This could be in an open access journal or a subscription journal offering gold open access to individual articles for which an article processing charge (APC) has been paid.

With green open access, authors publish in any journal then self-archive the accepted manuscript in an institutional repository (ePrints) or subject repository. There is no charge for green open access. However, publishers usually require an embargo period (6-24 months) before manuscripts become open access.

Can I still choose which journals I want to publish in?

Yes you can. Many subscription-based journals offer an open access option, enabling you to publish in them while complying with your funder's open access policy. Authors can check if their journal article can be made open access with the publisher's agreement using Sherpa Romeo.

What is a Creative Commons licence?

Creative Commons licences are often applied to publications that are made open access through either the 'gold' or 'green' route. They are intended to grant copyright permissions in a standardised manner that is clear to end users. Depening on the licence used, these permissions may include the right to copy, distribute, remix and build upon works, even commercially, as long as credit is provided for the original creation.

The most commonly used Creative Commons licences are:

  • CC-BY – Attribution license
  • CC-BY-NC – Attribution, non-commercial license
  • CC-BY-NC-ND – Attribution, non-commercial, no derivatives license

Find out more at:
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/

Open access for REF

Who is responsible for making the paper open access?

Authors are responsible for depositing the accepted manuscript in ePrints. Provided you do this within 3 months of acceptance for publication, the open access team will take care of everything else.

How do I know if a journal complies with the REF open access policy?

We recommend authors check with SHERPA/Romeo before submitting articles for publication. The open access team can advise if you have any concerns. However, the decision of where to publish is an academic one and it is ultimately the author's responsibility to judge whether this allows them to comply with the requirements for REF and those of their funder(s).

What if we publish in a journal that does not meet HEFCE requirements?

HEFCE estimate that 96% of outputs submitted to the last REF would be able to comply with the new policy. However, exceptions exist to allow REF submission where a journal is the "most appropriate publication for the output" but does not meet the policy requirements.

What version of a paper is required for REF?

HEFCE require deposit of the author's final, accepted manuscript. This is the version containing all academically necessary changes arising from peer review and the academic editorial process.

Although the published version of record and proofs would meet this requirement, journals do not typically allow these to be made open access in an institutional repository.

Publishing process and manuscript versions

(Image by HEFCE. Dedicated to the public domain for open reuse.)

Do minor corrections necessitate a new deposit?

If corrections arise from peer-review and are academically necessary, then this would require a new deposit to represent the final, accepted manuscript. However, if the minor corrections arise only from copy-editing, then a new deposit is not required.

Should I deposit all my publications, even if I'm not sure that they will be REF candidates?

We recommend that authors deposit any publications that they may later wish to submit to the next REF. Publications not deposited may not be eligible for REF submission unless the case for a relevant exception can be demonstrated.

If an article is jointly authored, should each author deposit it in the repository?

If you wish a jointly authored paper to be considered as part of your REF submission, it is your responsibility to ensure a copy of the final peer-reviewed manuscript is deposited in our repository. Where deposits are made by multiple Newcastle authors, the Library will de-duplicate these to ensure there is a single, definitive record in the repository.

What if we don't learn that an article was accepted in time to deposit?

Where the individual being submitted to the REF was not responsible for corresponding with the publisher, HEFCE may allow this as an exception. However, they "expect authors to make their open-access responsibilities known to other authors at an early stage, including seeking joint agreement among UK authors about deposit arrangements."

For researchers joining the university from overseas, would their prior publications be REF eligible?

Researchers joining us from abroad whose papers did not need to meet the HEFCE requirements when published would be eligible for REF under an exception.

If my manuscript contains 3rd party content, do I need rights to include these in the deposited manuscript?

Yes. Where these rights have not been secured on acceptance, a deposit should be made without the 3rd party materials. This will not be made publically accessible. Once rights have been secured, an updated manuscript containing the 3rd party material should be deposited. This will not reset the earlier date of deposit. If rights cannot be secured, then an access exception may apply (the requirement to deposit still applies).

Should a publisher query a deposit, we would consider this in light of our takedown policy. Please note that the open access team will not review the content of manuscripts to check for copyright permissions for third party images and content. This responsibility remains with the author.

Will depositing my manuscript for REF also meet the open access requirements of my funders?

Not necessarily. Some funders prefer immediate open access with no embargo or specify a relatively short maximum embargo period. This may require authors to choose the Gold route to open access or to ensure they select a journal which accommodates their funder requirments.

Are external repositories suitable for deposit?

The REF policy allows for deposit in institutional and subject repositories, but does not list permitted repositories. Instead it advises that authors are responsible for ensuring that any deposits made in subject repositories meet the policy requirements. The university can only monitor and manage deposits made through MyImpact. We would advise authors to deposit in MyImpact by default, with subject repositories being used as an additional venue.

ResearchGate and academia.edu are academic social/sharing networks and publisher policies generally consider them to be commercial. This restricts what can be uploaded to these services. We do not recommend they are used for compliance with the REF open access requirements.

Green open access

What is Green open access?

With green open access, authors publish in any journal then self-archive the accepted manuscript in an institutional repository (ePrints) or subject repository. There is no charge for green open access. However, publishers usually require an embargo period (6-24 months) before manuscripts become open access.

Do publishers allow authors to make the accepted manuscript open access?

Most publishers allow authors to deposit accepted manuscripts in an institutional respository. However, the terms and conditions may vary. The open access team will check the terms of use for all publications uploaded to MyImpact before they are made publicly-available.

When I upload a manuscript to MyImpact will it become open access immediately?

No. We review all manuscripts uploaded through MyImpact and will apply any embargo required by the publisher before they become available in ePrints. Where possible, we will however make the article metadata available immediately in ePrints to allow discoverability.

Does the library check deposited papers for copyright issues?

The open access team verify that each paper uploaded to MyImpact complies with the publisher's open access policy. However, we do not review the content of manuscripts to check permissions for any third party images or content. This responsibility remains with the author.

How do I deposit a paper in PubMed Central?

If the publisher does not deposit papers in PubMed Central where required by funders (Wellcome Trust, MRC and BBSRC), authors will need to self-archive in Europe PubMed Central via Europe PubMed Central Plus.

Gold open access

What is gold open access?

With gold open access, authors publish in a journal which provides immediate open access to articles on the publisher's website. This could be in an open access journal or a subscription journal offering gold open access to individual articles for which an article processing charge (APC) has been paid.

Can I choose whether to go for Gold or Green open access?

Green open access underpins the REF open access policy and authors do not need to pay for Gold open access to meet REF requirements. Some funders, such as the RCUK and Wellcome Trust favour Gold open access and provide funds to support this. The university supports authors with both the gold and green routes to open access.

What funds are available to pay for open access publication?

If you are funded by one of the UK Research Councils or a COAF charity, the University has received grant funding to support open access publishing.

Some other funders allow the cost of APCs to be claimed against their grants. If no funds are available, you should consult your Head of School/Institute Manager to discuss whether alternative funds may be available.

Can the open access funding be used to pay for page and colour charges?

RCUK

The University Research Committee (URC) agreed that RCUK open access funds can be used to pay page and colour charges. However where the accumulated costs are excessive these charges may be challenged. The proportion of funding spent on page and colour charges will be monitored and if it reaches a point where it compromises our ability to pay APCs it will be reviewed by URC.

Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust's open access funding can only be used to cover open access APCs incurred by authors, however researchers can use any flexible funding allowance provided on their trust grant to cover additional publication charges. In addition, applicants applying for certain grant schemes can include non-open access publication costs in their application. The Wellcome Trust offer more guidance on publication costs here.

Costing open access into grants

To ensure that funds are available to publish work through the Gold route, research projects should include £6,000 (where permitted by their funder) as a directly incurred cost at application. In cases where the project is of a very low value (under £10,000) and/or will not generate publications then the Grants & Contracts team can, in consultation with the Director of Research & Enterprise Services, permit a reduction.

Extracted from the Newcastle University statement on open access

What do authors publishing papers as Gold open access need to do for REF?

Articles that are Gold open access at publication can be submitted to the REF under a policy exception without further action. However, the university still strongly advise authors to deposit their accepted manuscript on acceptance, even where they plan to go Gold. This ensures the publication will meet the REF requirements should any issues arise in arranging Gold open access.

Where the open access payment is made by the university (RCUK or COAF) we will upload the published version to ePrints. Where we discover papers that were made gold open access through other funds, we will also add these.

Can I make published papers Gold open access retrospectively?

Some publishers will accept requests for retrospectice open access. However, the RCUK and Wellcome Trust block grant funds cannot be used for this purpose and HEFCE do not wish for this to be used as a way to make publications REF eligible. Please contact the open access team to discuss issues with specific publications.

What if the journal I want to publish in does not offer Gold open access?

You can usually make your article available via Green open access by depositing the accepted version of your article in a repository. Some publishers, such as Nature, offer a PubMed Central deposition service. For advice about depositing your work in ePrints, Newcastle University's institutional repository, please contact openaccess@ncl.ac.uk

Do funders check if papers are made Gold open access?

Yes. We submit annual reports to the RCUK and COAF (Wellcome Trust) on the use of the block grants they provide to support open access. We also report on open access compliance for all articles funded through RCUK and COAF. In recording data for these reports, we check that publishers have fulfilled the open access services authors have requested.