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Open Access

A guide to understanding Open Access.


Accepted manuscript see post-print


Depositing a digital copy of a document in an institutional repository in order to provide open access to a research output.

Article Process Charge (APC)

The fee paid to a publisher to make an article free at point of access. Whilst Open Access principles promote free availability of research and scholarly output, research papers are not cost free to produce. The cost of publication is moved from the reader (via subscriptions and pay-walls) to the author (via the APC). Not all Open Access publishers charge an APC.

Creative Commons

This is an internationally recognised licensing scheme which permits the sharing, reuse, repurpose and remix of material whilst also ensuring that creators retain the right to attribution as a minimum.

Delayed Open Access

When a research output is accessible open access after an embargo period set by the publisher has elapsed. Embargos can vary from a few months to many years depending on the publisher and discipline.


Some publishers restrict when an author's version of an article is allowed to be displayed in full text in a repository. This typically varies from 6 months to several years after publication. Any embargo period is usually listed in the copyright agreement (or can be found on the SHERPA-RoMEO website). Sometimes the publisher's embargo period conflicts with a funder's OA mandate requirements.

Open Access Mandate

Is a policy adopted by a research institution, research funder, or government which requires researchers—usually university faculty or research staff and/or research grant recipients—to make their published, peer-reviewed work open access via either Green OA or Gold OA


Data that describes other data. For items in open access repositories, this usually consists of a full bibliographic reference, abstract, keywords, and similar information.


This is the author's manuscript version of a research publication that is submitted to the publisher before peer review.


This is the author's final version of a research publication - after it has been peer-reviewed and revised into its final form by the author. They are not the pdfs produced by the publishers, but may be a Word document or pdf produced by the author. Since additional changes may occur during the proofing process, postprints are not considered "the version of record". See also preprint, published print

Published print / Proof

This is the final version of a research publication, as printed. The proof is supplied to the author just prior to publication; the published print (also called the Version of Record or Publisher’s PDF) may be provided after publication. This version includes generally includes formatting, layout, pagination, etc. Both proofs and published prints are considered a publisher's (not an author's) version of the work and the same copyright applies.


A website that aims to collect, store and make available electronically the intellectual output of a subject or organisation without charge.

Research outputs

These are articles, papers, books and chapters, and other research presentation items.