Open Access for SOTL

This blogpost is a brief summary of open access and the procedure for achieving open access at the University of Glasgow. If you would like more detailed information on open access, it is available on our webpages and also in this short video: 

Open Access is the principle that a research output should be presented in a form that allows anyone with internet access to search electronically within the text, read it and download it without charge.​

​The copyright holder of an output can make it open access by applying an open access licence to it.

There are several ways to achieve open access including:

  • making something available yourself (like a dataset or a report or some other grey literature) 
  • outputs that will be formally published may have a publisher policy to follow.  If you are acknowledging any funders, they may also have a policy.
  • Some journals are ‘fully open access’ – everything in the journal is automatically open access. Sometimes there is no cost to the author but more often the journal will apply a publication charge to every article. This is known as ‘gold’ open access.
  • ​Some journals are ‘hybrid’ journals – they offer two publication routes: an immediate open access route for which they would expect the author to pay (also a ‘gold’ route), and the traditional publication route. Authors taking this traditional route are normally allowed to deposit the text of the final accepted manuscript in an online repository where it can be made open access after an embargo period (typically 0-36 months). This is known as ‘green’ open access.   

​The University’s approach is to take the free or green route wherever it is possible to do so.​ The University’s policy on open access can be found here.

​Before you submit a manuscript, you need to think about whether a fee is necessary, and how any fee will be covered. You can contact the Open Access team at any time to check if your paper is likely to be eligible for support with open access costs. This is often dependent on which funding is acknowledged in the article. You don’t need to wait until you’ve had an article accepted.

We also have information available on a range of publisher agreements held by the University and the circumstances in which they can be accessed:

How do I arrange open access for my articles?

The first step is to contact the Open Access Team as soon as you have an article accepted for publication. Forward the acceptance email from the journal to and include details of any funding acknowledged in the article. It is helpful if you can attach a copy of the author accepted manuscript.

The Library will create a record for you article in the University publications system ‘Enlighten’, and check publisher options for open access and any funder requirements. We will then confirm the best route for open access for your article. If the article is eligible for the funding we have from funders to cover open access costs we will pay the invoice for you.  Please note the funding is finite so you cannot assume we will pay for all papers that are funded by a specific funder.

More information about making your article open access is available on our webpages:

What if I’m publishing a book?

In general, open access is not currently mandated for books or book chapters, unless they have been funded by Wellcome Trust. If you have a Wellcome Trust funded book or book chapter, please get in touch with to discuss open access.

The library can also get in touch with publishers of books to check if they will allow green open access of a book or book chapter. When this is allowed, permission is typically granted with a long embargo period of 1 – 5 years.

There is also a newly launched Open Access Books Toolkit which may be of interest to some authors 

Wider Library support for SOTL

In addition to supporting researchers with Open Access, the library also provides support for other aspects of scholarship – Research Data Management, search techniques for Literature Reviews, access to Research Materials, selection of appropriate Publication Outputs, Sharing your Research and understanding Research Indicators. These topics will be covered in other blogs in this series.

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