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Open Access FAQs



Is there a central fund to pay for Author Processing Charges (APCs)?

The only central funds that Cardiff University have to pay for APCs is if the publication is an output from research funded by an RCUK funding body (AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC or STFC) or by the Wellcome Trust. Eligible are current and expired RCUK grants, fellowships and PhD studentships.

If you have a grant from another funding body, then check their Open Access policies – they may provide funds for APCs.


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What is the difference between Green Open Access and Gold Open Access?

Green Open Access is where the author makes their article available for free, usually in an institutional repository, such as Cardiff’s ORCA repository. Often it is a post-print version of the article that is deposited as most publishers do not allow their final version to be put into a repository.

Gold Open Access is where a fee is paid to the publisher to ensure that they make the article freely available. This may be to an Open Access publisher (such as BioMed Central) or a subscription-based publisher such as Elsevier (often referred to as Hybrid publishing). Fees are usually in the range of £1500 - £3000 per article.

More details are available on our Open Access at Cardiff web page


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How can I check that I'm publishing in a reputable OA journal?

There are Open Access publishers who do little more than put your article up on their website for a fee, which is unlikely to do a great deal to enhance your academic reputation. There are various ways of identifying these publishers - here are a few tips:

  1. Look at the website thoroughly – for example, check the names and institutions of the editorial board for legitimacy and publishing record. Are several journals in different subjects edited by the same person? Does the publisher claim to offer peer review at remarkable turnaround speed? Read the existing articles and decide for yourself about quality.
  2. Check Jeffrey Beall's list of "predatory publishers". While some publishers may argue with him about whether they deserve to be on the list, the fact that they are there should at least make you cautious.
  3. Is the publisher a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association? Publishers in this organisation should adhere to a code of conduct.
  4. Google the title and/or the publisher – do you get blog entries discussing whether the journal is reputable or not?


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What is a CC-BY licence?

A CC-BY licence gives others the freedom to distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the licence you will need to have agreed with your publisher to satisfy the conditions applied by RCUK to its grant holders. Further information about licences is available.


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I want to put a post-print into the repository for an Elsevier journal and it says I can do this only if there isn't a mandate on me. Does Cardiff University have a mandate for OA or not?

Cardiff University does not have a mandate for OA publication, so Elsevier should allow the Accepted Author Manuscript or post-print to be deposited into ORCA. More information about Elsevier's policies is available


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I hold an ESRC fellowship. Is this subject to RCUK Open Access publishing conditions or do they only apply to research grant holders?

RCUK's requirements for OA publishing apply to all published journal articles and conference proceedings which acknowledge RCUK funding, so this includes research fellows and holders of PhD studentships. 


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I am publishing a book arising from an AHRC grant. Does this need to be Open Access?

Currently the requirements for OA publishing from RCUK only apply to peer reviewed journal articles (including review articles) and published conference proceedings. There is no obligation to publish other forms of peer reviewed or non-peer reviewed work in an OA form, although the RCUK encourages authors to do this where possible. 


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What is a post-print?

A post-print is the final author's version that is submitted to a publisher, after peer review and subsequent revisions. It won't have the publisher's brand and appearance, but the text should be identical or near-identical to the final publisher's version. A post-print might also be referred to as an Accepted Author Manuscript. 


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What is a pre-print?

A pre-print is the paper an author initially submits to the publisher, before peer-review and revisions. 


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How do I put a full text version of my article into ORCA?

To submit a pdf to ORCA, log in to Cardiff Portal and select the Research tab. You can deposit the full text using Manage My Publications. 


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When submitting my journal to the publisher, I'm asked whether I wish to pay for open access, assuming it is accepted. Do I have to pay for open access?

If the publication arises from an RCUK or Wellcome Trust grant you must make the article Open Access. Although you can use the Green OA route and deposit a version of the article in ORCA, grants are given to Cardiff University for Open Access publications from these grant bodies, so if you want to use the Gold route and pay, this can be done. Contact for further details of the process before you sign the licence agreement with the publisher. 

If the publication arises from another grant funder, then check their Open Access policies – they may provide funding for Gold Open Access payments. 

If you do not have funding, then you may be able to deposit a version of the paper in ORCA, Cardiff’s institutional repository. Find your journal on the RoMEO database to see what your publisher’s policy is on Green OA.

If the publication may be submitted to REF 2020, then there is a high likelihood that HEFCE will require OA for all submitted outputs. While you do not need to pay for Open Access, the Green route to depositing a version of the article in ORCA should be considered.


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Where an RCUK grant is held by several institutions, who pays the Open Access fee?

Any institution can pay the OA fee, but it is usually the institution of the corresponding author who will pay.


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What are the requirements for Open Access publication for REF 2020?

HEFCE is proposing that all submitted journal articles and conference papers for REF 2020 should be Open Access. They are currently considering responses to their consultation paper and will bring out a revised proposal in Spring 2014. It is likely that authors will be required to provide Green Open Access to the post-prints of their papers in an institutional repository with specified embargo periods allowed. Funding for Gold Open Access is currently available for any RCUK funded research outputs. Further details are available.


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My publisher doesn't offer an Open Access route. Is there anything I can do?

You can negotiate with your publisher for the rights to deposit the author's final version of the paper (also called post-print) into ORCA. Publishers usually offer a standard contract, but they may be prepared to negotiate terms with individual authors, particularly if this is a funder requirement. Otherwise you may have to reconsider publishing in this journal.