Open Access Starter Kit

Understand how Open Access works and how to make your publication OA.

Open Access raises the visibility of your research by making the outputs freely available to be read and re-used by anyone with an internet connection.  Going Open Access raises your research visibility and impact: more downloads, social media mentions, and citations.  It means researchers anywhere can read your work and practitioners can apply your findings - and most publishers permit it in some form.

There are two ways to make your research open access: Green or Gold.

Green Open Access

You make your work publicly available by archiving a version in a repository such as Leicester Research Archive.  You may additionally wish to archive a copy in a subject-based repository such as Europe PMC plus or arXiv.

Usually the version you archive should be your own final manuscript incorporating any peer review changes (not the publisher's proof or version of record).

Your final manuscript is made Open Access from the LRA after an embargo period. The length of embargo periods varies, but generally embargoes of between 6 and 24 months are common. RCUK require limited embargo periods: see section 3.6 of RCUK Policy on Open Access and Supporting Guidance (PDF).

Green Open Access does not require the payment of any fees to the publisher.

What do you have to do?

Deposit your publications in LRA yourself via your IRIS account if you are a member of academic or research staff, or you can email them to  The Library will check for any copyright or licensing conditions and only release your paper when we are satisfied when the relevant publisher's requirements are met.

Gold Open Access

Your work is made open access immediately from the journal publisher’s website as the final version of record.

The publisher will usually ask you (or your funder) to pay an article processing charge (APC) to make your work Open Access.

If you would like to make your work available under Gold Open Access, you will need to be able to access appropriate funding. There are large variations in APC charges existing across institutions, publishers, and journal types. In a 2016 study, Jisc calculated an average APC of £1,745 for 2014-2015, and a median value of £1,680.

The Library administers an Open Access Publishing Fund for research funded by RCUK or COAF (including the Wellcome Trust and some other medical charities). You can use our online funding application form to access the fund.

What do you have to do?

If you are funded by RCUK or COAF (including Wellcome) please use our online application form to access the fund (see more on our funding page).

Deposit your publications in LRA yourself via your IRIS account.

Further reading

We recommend the book Open Access by Peter Suber published by The MIT Press which can be read for free as a PDF or bought on paper or as an ebook.

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a "community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals."

Our Copyright Service offers information on all aspects of copyright.

We're here to help, so please contact us at alternatively check our FAQ for answers.

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