Skip to main content

Research Publishing (Open Access): Introduction

Open access compliance and REF 2021

What is Open Access?

The broad concept of Open Access (OA) publishing is to make the outputs of publicly funded research freely available, in a digital format, to anyone without restriction. The concept grew out of the recommendations of the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings (known as the "Finch Report") which were adopted by the UK government in 2012. This suite of guidance materials aims to provide information on the legal requirements plus processes and policies stipulated by the University of the Highlands and Islands, to ensure that its researchers are compliant.

Benefits of Open Access to Researchers

Making your work open access can help make sure:

  • Your work is read more 
  • Your work is cited more
  • Your work has more impact
  • Other researchers can find and build on your work

Why is Open Access important to the research community?

Researchers can benefit greatly through Open Access publishing. Short video (02:56 minutes) courtesy of UCL open access team where researchers discuss the advantages of OA.

Further help and information

The University's Research Office webpages have a host of research resources to help you with open access publishing and funding.

The Open Access Compliance Officer welcomes new enquiries.

Contact details: Morag LLewellyn


T: 01851 770408

Green and Gold Open Access

There are two complementary mechanisms for achieving open access to research.

The first mechanism is for authors to publish in open-access journals that do not receive income through reader subscriptions.

The second is for authors to deposit their refereed journal article in an open electronic archive.

These two mechanisms are often called the ‘gold’ and ‘green’ routes to open access: 

  • Gold – This means publishing in a way that allows immediate access to everyone electronically and free of charge. Publishers can recoup their costs through a number of mechanisms, including through payments from authors called article processing charges (APCs), or through advertising, donations or other subsidies.
  • Green – This means depositing the final peer-reviewed research output in an electronic archive called a repository. Repositories can be run by the researcher’s institution, but shared or subject repositories are also commonly used. Access to the research output can be granted either immediately or after an agreed embargo period.

Further information available:

Hybrid Open Access

Hybrid Open Access is where the article is published in a traditional subscription journal, but where the author can pay an APC to the publisher to make their individual article freely available from the journal website, without restriction and with no charges to the reader. This means that some articles in the journal will only be available to subscribers; others (where the author(s) have paid an APC are freely available to anyone.

Funding for OA publishing - Article Processing Charge (APC)

Open Access (OA) journals and hybrid journals may require an additional payment to the publisher to be made to have a paper immediately open access on the date of publication. This charge known as aAPC (Article Processing Charge) is usually payable when the manuscript is editorially accepted and before publication and is charged to either the author, research funder, institution or employer. 

Increasingly, as part of journal subscription deals, some publishers e.g Wiley and Springer are offering discounted or free APCs. For more information and how you can apply to take advantage of these offers please refer to our Funding for OA publishing page. New deals are being negotiated on a regular basis so remember to keep checking this page for the latest information.

There are also limited funds available directly through UHI to cover APC charges. Use the online form to make an application.

Don't forget that the Open Access Compliance Officer can provide guidance for applications. Advice can be sought at any stage of the publishing process (whether initially or when article processing charges are due for payment); the earlier the better.

Open Access Compliance Officer: Morag Llewellyn


Tel: 01851 770408