Open access publishing

Open access is free, unrestricted online access to our research outputs.

Research is published in journals and other scholarly forms to ensure that the results are recorded and communicated to the wider community. However, the traditional methods of publishing no longer reach everyone who wants to use it. Most publishers require authors to transfer copyright to them, preventing researchers from distributing their work. Open access is a way to ensure that everyone can make use of our research.

Benefits of open access

Making our research open access ensures that it makes the greatest possible contribution to the advancement of knowledge and understanding. It ensures that researchers everywhere can build on our research, even if they are not part of a wealthy academic institution.

Open access publications are read more, cited more and have a greater impact. Allowing wider communities to read our research leads to increased opportunities to work with those communities. 

Demonstrating good open access practices helps show funders that we will follow their open access policies, making it easier for our researchers to secure funding. 

Types of open access 

Gold open access 

The final published version of the research is made open access on the publisher's webpage in exchange for a fee. Gold does not mean ‘gold standard’ or that it is ‘better’ than other forms of open access but indicates that there is a fee involvedAt the University of Bristol, we have several publisher deals to pay for gold open access and block grants to pay for gold open access fees. 

Diamond open access

Some open access journals do not charge a fee for authors, instead making all their research free to read and free to publish. These are commonly supported directly by libraries and scholarly societies and are referred to as diamond open access publications. You can find these journals by searching the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and filtering your search to show journals without fees.  

Green open access 

The Author's Accepted Manuscript (an earlier draft of the work with peer review changes, but without publisher formatting) is uploaded to a research repository and made available there. At the University of Bristol, we use Pure as our institutional research repository and have a Scholarly Works Policy to support our researchers in securing the rights necessary to deposit their work. 

Additional Resources

  • Academic Publishing Essentials is an online training resource that will teach you more about open access, and other academic publishing topics, such as choosing a journal and publishing research data. 

  • The Open Access Flowchart (PDF, 91kB) will help you choose how to make your research open access. 

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