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Research Publishing (Open Access): Index of terms

Open access compliance and REF 2021

Index of terms

The term Open Access (OA) refers to the online availability of scholarly work, in a digital format, free of charge to individuals who wish to access and read it. In addition, OA literature is free of most copyright and licensing restrictions, enabling individuals to easily re-use content in their own research and studies with appropriate attribution.

An author accepted manuscript (AAM) is the manuscript of an article that has been accepted for publication and which typically includes author-incorporated changes suggested during submission, peer review, and editor-author communications. They do not include other publisher value-added contributions such as copy-editing, formatting, technical enhancements and (if relevant) pagination (Elsevier, 2017).

This is also sometimes referred to by publishers as Accepted Manuscript (AM).  Usually publishers allow the author(s) to post this onto their personal website at any point after publication (often this includes posting to Facebook, Google groups, and LinkedIn plus linking from Twitter). To encourage citations (and to be able to monitor and understand who is reading it using article metrics), publishers usually recommend that a link is inserted from the AM to the published article with some qualifying text:

“This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by [Publisher name] in [JOURNAL TITLE] on [date of publication], available online: http://www.xxxxxxxx/[Article DOI].”

For example: “This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Africa Review on 17/04/2014, available online:

N.B. Using a DOI will form a link to the Version of Record on the publisher site


The date of acceptance is the point at which the author is notified that:

  • their output has been reviewed by the journal or conference (normally via peer review)

  • all academically necessary changes have been made in response to that review

  • the article is ready to be taken through the final steps toward publication (normally copy-editing and typesetting).

By this point, the paper should have been updated to include all changes resulting from peer review as well as any changes of an academic nature requested by the journal editor or conference organiser. At this stage, the journal editor or conference organiser normally notifies the author that their paper has been ‘firmly’ accepted (as opposed to any earlier point of ‘provisional’ acceptance, for example conditional on major or minor revisions being made) and the paper is ready for copy-editing or typesetting; it is the date of this notification that should be taken to mean the date of acceptance.

The author’s final, accepted manuscript is the one that has been agreed with the editor at that point. The accepted manuscript is not the same as the copy-edited, typeset or published paper – these versions are known as ‘proofs’ or ‘versions of record’ and publishers do not normally allow authors to make these open-access.‌



This is your original manuscript (often called a “preprint”), and you can share this as much as you like.

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 an APC (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 are offering discounted or free APCs. The Library has access to information about these offset APCs which it makes available to researchers at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI).

APCs discounts may be available if institutions or individuals are Members of societies affiliated to a particular journal. This may be worth checking even after a paper has been accepted for publication.


The corresponding author is the person who handles the manuscript and correspondence during the publication process, from manuscript correction and proof reading, to handling the revisions and re-submission of revised manuscripts up to the acceptance of the manuscripts. The corresponding author is responsible for obtaining such agreements and for informing the co-authors of the manuscript’s status throughout the submission, review, and publication process. In addition, the corresponding author also acts as the point of contact for any enquiries after the paper is published (Springer, 2017).

Creative Commons licenses are a way of giving others permission to use your work, within the boundaries of copyright law. The work must be subject to copyright before you can add a Creative Commons licence so you need to consider who is the copyright holder for the work.

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) provides a reliable list, which may mitigate the need for payment of APCs (article processing charges).

The San Francisco Declaration of Research Assessment (DORA) recognises the need to improve the ways in which the outputs of research are evaluated with regards to appropriate use of metrics and makes high-level recommendations for how this can be achieved. DORA includes specific recommendations for funders and organisations that undertake evaluation.

An embargo is a period of time during which access to a published work is restricted to people either paying a fee or using an authorised login to access a publisher’s website where they can access the full published text of the work.  Usually the embargo period begins from the date the article is formally published online in its final and fully citable form (i.e. online publication date). 

Please note post-deposit access embargo periods must not exceed the following:

  • 12 months for: Science, Technology, Behavioral Science, Public Health and Social Care
  • 24 months for: Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, plus interdisciplinary research

Gold Open Access (Gold OA) - the author needs to pay an Article Processing Charge (APC) to get their article published in open access journals.

Green Open Access (Green OA) refers to depositing or self-archiving your work in a digital repository, usually in conjunction with publishing in a journal or presenting an artistic composition in public.

HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) - they originally produced a policy for open access in the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework. Previous publications/communications can be accessed via the UK Government Web Archive.

A hybrid journal is a subscription journal that also has some full text articles you can access for free. The author of the article is required to pay an APC (Article Processing Charge) to publish the open access article in this type of journal.

An Institutional Repository (IR) is an online collection of an institution's research output. PURE is the repository of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). It includes journal papers, conference papers and theses. The aims and objectives of PURE is:

  • To increase the accessibility and visibility of UHI’s research output and to increase citation rates
  • To support individual members of the University in providing open online access to their research output
  • To ensure the storage and preservation of UHI’s research output at institutional level
  • To attract greater funding to UHI’s Schools and Departments
  • To showcase the research output of UHI’s academics, and raise their national and international profile

JISC - key source of information on open access.

For Open Access archiving the ideal archiving policy has three key parts:

  • Publications must be deposited in a repository providing unrestricted access free of charge.
  • Either the published version or the author's final peer-reviewed version must be deposited.
  • Deposition must take place at the time of acceptance for publication.


Open Access repositories can hold digital duplicates of published articles and make them freely available. The system works by an electronic version of an article, or eprint, being deposited into a database, or repository. These repositories are mainly administered by research institutions who share records about their content with service providers, who then offer search services to users across every record that they hold. This means that a researcher using a search service is searching across all repositories, not just individual ones. Once the researcher finds a record, then they can view the full-text direct from the instutional repository. As well as services which just search repositories, the full-text is also searched by Google, Yahoo and others. There are also an increasing numbers of open access repositories available around the world.

OpenAIRE is an open access (OA) publications infrastructure, making visible funded research outcomes.

The OpenDOAR service (Open Directory of Open Access Repositories) allows you to search for repositories or for repository content. A list of repositories based in the UK is available. OpenDoar is a joint project of the Universities of Nottingham and Lund to create an authoritative reference database of Open Access repositories worldwide.

ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID). Register with ORCID and get a unique identifying number that distinguishes you (and your work) from other researchers with a similar or identical name.

A post-print is the final version of an academic article or other publication after it has been peer-reviewed and revised into its final form.

A pre-print is a draft of an academic article or other publication before it has been submitted for peer-review or other quality assurance procedure as part of the publication process. Pre-prints cover initial and successive drafts of articles, working papers or draft conference papers.

A predatory journal is a journal or publisher that aggressively targets academics and researchers. Warning signs are the lack of peer-review, academic A pigour and possibly false impact factors.

PURE (PUblication REsearch), is the Institutional Repository at the University of the Highlands and Islands for all research publications, space for global researcher profile, creates the UHI global institutional research profile, outlines reseach specialities and interests, equipment, research impacts, applications, awards, collaboration opportunities, outreach, conferences and exhibitions.

Research Excellence Framework, or REF for short, is the name given to the process of assessing the quality of research carried out in UK Higher Education Institutions.

Research Councils UK (2002 – 2018), sometimes known as RCUK was an umbrella organisation that coordinated the seven separate Research Councils that are responsible for funding and coordinating academic research for the arts, humanities, science and engineering. The strategic partnership of the UK's seven Research Councils (Research Councils UK) has now transitioned into UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

UKRI Open Access



Self-archiving is the process by which an academic author deposits the metadata (bibliographic reference, abstract, etc.) and an electronic full text for one or more of his/her publications in an open access repository.

The SHERPA service (Securing a Hybrid Environment for Research Preservation and Access) provides some useful online tools to help researchers find the information they need to publish their work open access:

SHERPA/ROMEO: summarises publishers' copyright transfer agreements as they relate to archiving.

SHERPA/JULIET: identifies research funders' open access policies.

SHERPA/FACT: allows researchers to check if a particular journal complies with a funder's open access requirements.

SHERPA/REF: allows research institutions and authors to check whether a chosen journal complies with the REF2020 open access policy, as well as providing information on any relevant embargoes or other issues arising from publisher and journal policies. 

SHERPA/FACT (Funders' & Authors' Compliance Tool) is a tool to help researchers check whether or not the journals in which they wish to publish their results comply with their funder's requirements for open access to research.

FACT combines and interprets data from SHERPA/RoMEO, SHERPA/JULIET and other sources to provide guidance to researchers, on compliance with Research Councils UK and Wellcome Trust Open Access policies, and offers advice on their available options.

The tool:

  • Allows authors to select which of members of RCUK or Wellcome Trust has funded their work.
  • Allows authors to enter the journal name, name abbreviation or ISSN of the journal they wish to use.
  • Cross-references the information held in RoMEO and in JULIET on both Funders' and Publishers' policies.
  • Gives the author clear information as to whether that journal or publisher offers publication or archiving rights compliant with their funders' policy.
  • Notes the level of OA fee payable, if any, and where this information is available on the publisher site.
  • Gives guidance to the author as to what action to take next in order to comply with their funders' policy.
  • There is also an Application Programmers' Interface (API) available.

This service is currently aimed at authors funded by Research Councils UK and the Wellcome Trust, to provide clear guidance on compliance with their Open Access (OA) policies and advice on the options available. It could be extended to cover other research funders.

SHERPA/Juliet - using this online search tool you can find out research funders open access policies. It is updated by community contributions and provides a very useful list of research funders

SHERPA/REF is funded by HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) and is a beta web service that aims to support authors and institutions in meeting open access (OA) requirements of the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). It's aim is to help authors and institutions ascertain whether a journal complies with the REF policy.



The RoMEO service provided by SHERPA for authors and repository administrators, lists summaries of publishers' copyright transfer agreements as they relate to archiving.

UKRI is a body that works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to enable research and innovation to flourish. UKRI brings together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England.

UKRI Open Access Policy

“A fixed version of a journal article that has been made available by … a publisher by formally and exclusively declaring the article ‘published.’

This includes any ‘early release’ article that is formally identified as being published even before the compilation of a volume issue and assignment of associated metadata, as long as it is citable via some permanent identifier(s). This does not include any ‘early release’ article that has not yet been ‘fixed’ by processes that are still to be applied, such as copy-editing, proof corrections, layout, and typesetting.”

(Defined by National Information Standards Organization, in partnership with the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers.)

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