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Open Access




What is open access?

Open Access is the free and open availability of research outputs online. Typically they are made available either immediately in a journal (Gold open access) or by deposit in an online repository (Green open access). Most commonly they are in the form of peer-reviewed journal articles; however, monographs, book chapters, conference papers, theses and research data can also be made open access.

What’s the difference between the Green and the Gold routes to open access? Is one better than the other?

Green open access:

A copy of the research output is uploaded to an institutional repository (Pure) or subject repository.  There are no publishing charges. There may be an embargo period, depending on the publisher's stipulations. The version available via Green open access is usually Author's Accepted Manuscript (ie final version of the paper submitted to the journal post-peer review but before publisher copy-editing and typesetting), but can occasionally be the final published version.

Gold open access:

Research outputs openly available to all on the publisher’s site immediately upon publication. May require payment of an Article Processing Charge (APC), the average cost is £2000.

Neither is necessarily 'superior', nor are these two routes mutually exclusive. You are required (by both the King’s Publications Policy and by HEFCE’s open access requirement for the next REF) to make every article you publish open access via the green route - that is, by uploading the author accepted manuscript to Pure, but you may also be required to make your article open access via the gold route to comply with your funder's policy.

What is KCL's open access policy?

The King’s College London Research Publications Policy requires that:

- Researchers create bibliographic records within King’s institutional repository Pure for all research outputs they have authored, so there is a comprehensive institutional record of research activity. Within these records, where funding was received links should made to the appropriate research project/grants that supported the research.

- Researchers deposit into Pure the publisher accepted author final draft/author accepted manuscript version of the full-text, attached to the appropriate bibliographic record, for all peer reviewed journal articles and conference papers. This should be done where permitted by the publisher’s self-archiving policy - paying regard to any embargo period, as soon as possible after the date of publication or sooner if required to comply with timescales mandated by the policies of external funders or government.

For full details of the policy please see King’s College London Research Publications Policy on the Governance Zone. 



What is 'Predatory Publishing'?

The distinction between a predatory and a more reputable publisher is not always clear cut. However, predatory publishers typically exhibit behaviours that can be problematic, and publishing with them may not advance your academic career to the same degree. None of the 'danger signs' are conclusive in themselves, but taken together they should cause you to carefully consider your options. They may aggressively solicit for submissions; they may not subject those submissions to a rigorous peer review or editorial process; they may reveal 'hidden' publication charges during the publication process; and they may not publish in a fully open access manner (i.e. without a Creative Commons or similar license). They may also prevent your paper from being republished elsewhere.

What resources are available to help me choose where to publish?

Think. Check. Submit. may offer helpful guidance about how and where to submit papers to journals.

Directory of Online Journals (DOAJ) provides a list of reputable open access journals (though it should be said that absence from the list doesn't in and of itself indicate a journal is predatory).

Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) membership may also indicate that a journal takes an ethical approach to academic publishing.

The Open Access Scholarly Publications Association (OASPA) provide a perspective on provision of high quality open access in scholarly publication.



What is the open access policy for the next REF?

Please be aware that for your journal article or conference proceeding with ISSN to be eligible for submission to REF2021 – and to comply with the King’s Research Publications Policy – your ‘Author’s Accepted Manuscript’ version must be deposited on the King’s institutional repository (Pure) within 90 days of acceptance for publication.
This HEFCE requirement for open access applies to research outputs accepted from 1 April 2016.

What types of output does the policy cover?

The REF policy applies to journal articles and conference proceedings with an ISSN. It does not apply to monographs, book chapters etc. However, it is King’s policy that outputs of all types should be deposited in Pure. 

Which version should I deposit?

The Author’s Accepted Manuscript (sometimes called the final accepted manuscript, final author version or post-print). It is the final version of your paper which you submitted to the journal, after peer review but before publisher layout and typesetting. It is usually a Word document or PDF.

The majority of publishers permit this version of articles to be made available in an open access repository after an embargo period has passed. The final published PDF (the version of the article which appears on the publisher's website) cannot usually be uploaded to Pure, unless Gold fees have been paid. In order to check which version your publisher will permit to be deposited, consult the Sherpa/Romeo database. Please note that Sherpa/Romeo is also embedded into Pure and will offer guidance in most cases when you enter your journal’s title.

When do I need to deposit?

We encourage all authors to upload the Author Accepted Manuscript of their paper to Pure as soon as it is accepted for publication. It must be uploaded to Pure within 90 days of acceptance in order to be eligible for submission to the next REF.

What happens if I don't comply with the REF open access policy?

Articles which don’t comply with the HEFCE guidance (ie the appropriate version is not deposited in an open access repository within 90 days of acceptance) will not be eligible for submission to the next REF. However there are some circumstances where it will not be possible to comply – see our exceptions page for further details on how to claim exceptions to the policy.

If my paper is (or will be) published immediately open access (gold), should I still deposit it in Pure?

We advise all researchers to upload the Author Accepted Manuscript at point of acceptance for every publication regardless of whether it is due to be published via immediate open access or not. This ensures that your paper will be compliant with the policy for the next REF even if the open access publication were to fall through.

My paper is (or will be) available in a subject repository like Europe PubMed Central – is this enough to comply with the REF policy?

The Author’s Accepted Manuscript must be deposited in Pure even if the paper has been/will be made available through Europe PMC. Providing a link to the Europe PMC location in Pure is not sufficient. This is because other repositories do not always collect the necessary data to record compliance with the REF policy.

My paper has been online in draft form for several months. It has now been accepted for publication. Do I still need to deposit?

Yes. The REF policy applies to the final peer-reviewed manuscript, not to the draft (pre-print), so you must deposit.

What about ArXiv – is this an acceptable place to deposit my manuscript instead?

There is some uncertainty around ArXiv and HEFCE compliance. It is King’s understanding that it does not meet the requirements for the HEFCE policy as ArXiv does not record the version of the paper deposited nor the acceptance date – both of which are key to compliance. You are welcome to continue to use it, but please also deposit in Pure to ensure compliance. Please note that you can import data from ArXiv to Pure using the “Import from online source” feature.

What about ResearchGate and

Sites like ResearchGate and are social networking sites with commercial business models. They do not ensure long-term access to deposited publications. Depositing with these sites does not satisfy the requirements of the REF open access policy.

Do I have to deposit publications accepted for publication before April 2016?

The King’s College London Publications policy requires all articles to be uploaded to Pure. You can import metadata about published articles into Pure, from Scopus so populating your previous articles need not take a long time. However, it is not required to meet the requirements of the HEFCE policy. Please focus on uploading your papers which have been accepted from 1st April 2016.

Why do I need to deposit all my outputs when I can't submit them all to REF?

Papers that have not been deposited cannot be submitted to the REF. It is not possible to comply with the policy retrospectively. You need to make sure that all your papers comply at the outset, even though only some will be submitted to the REF - otherwise there is a risk that the papers eventually selected for the REF cannot be submitted.

Can papers under embargo at the time of the REF submission still be submitted?

Yes, provided that you deposited your paper in Pure within 90 days of acceptance. Your paper will then be REF compliant, even if the publisher's embargo period means that it is not open access at the time of the REF submission.

Which version of publications will be assessed by panels in the next REF?

The version that needs to be deposited in Pure is the Author’s Accepted Manuscript. However, it is HEFCE's current intention that REF panels will assess published versions of record, not accepted manuscripts, in the next REF.

What if the journal's embargo is too long for me to comply with HEFCE’s OA policy?

If the journal's embargo period is longer than 12 months (REF panels A and B) or 24 months (REF panels C and D), your paper could still be eligible for the REF provided you consider the journal the most appropriate publication for the work. Before submission, consider whether there are any suitable alternative publications.

After acceptance, please create a record for the publication in Pure, upload the Author's Accepted Manuscript version of your paper, and set the embargo period specified by the journal. Then fill in this exception form, including a statement to support the chosen journal as the most appropriate.

What if the journal does not allow open access at all?

Your paper could still be eligible for the REF provided you consider the journal the most appropriate publication for the work. Before submission, consider whether there are any suitable alternative publications.

After acceptance, please create a record for the publication in Pure and upload the Author's Accepted Manuscript version of your paper. Set “Public access to file” to “Closed”. Then fill in this exception form, including a statement to support the chosen journal as the most appropriate.

I cannot obtain my peer-reviewed manuscript

Please note that you are expected to take reasonable steps to secure the Author Accepted Manuscript version - e.g. contacting the first author and requesting a copy; checking the institutional repositories of other authors; checking subject repositories.
If you are unable to obtain the Author Accepted Manuscript then create a Pure record for your article upon receipt of acceptance email as usual. Fill in this exception form.

Due to a period of parental leave I was not able to deposit the author’s accepted manuscript in a timely fashion. Am I unable to submit this paper to the next REF?

If you were unable to meet the REF 2021 open access requirements due to an extended period of leave, please inform us in order that we can detail this on your Pure record(s) and ensure their automatic REF 2021 open access compliance.

Are there any other exceptions to the policy?

In some cases it will not be possible to meet the requirements of the HEFCE policy for the next REF. However, HEFCE recognises that their requirements may not always be achievable. Consequently, in certain circumstances an output may be excepted from the open access requirements and still be submissible to REF2021.

You can find a full list of the exceptions to the HEFCE policy here, each with guidance and a form to fill in in order to claim each exception.



What is the Research Portal?

The King’s Research Portal showcases the breadth and diversity of King’s research, from researcher biographies and research group profiles to funding details and research outputs such as published books and peer-reviewed journal articles.

 It is also our Institutional Repository providing access to the full text of research outputs, where possible, including postgraduate research theses.

What is Pure?

The data for the Portal is drawn from Pure, our Current Research Information System (CRIS). Each academic should has their own profile where they can add records, full text, and record details of research interests. It is possible to give administrators trusted user access to academics’ profiles via this form.

What types of research can be made available in Pure?

All manner of research outputs can be made available in Pure including: contributions to journals; chapters in books/reports/conference proceedings; books; reports; contributions to specialist publications; working papers; non-textual forms; patents; and theses. You can also detail awards; conference participation; external academic engagement; editorial work or peer review of publications and public engagement and outreach.

How do I deposit my publications?
Ensure REF2021 eligibility and deposit on Pure (25July2017)

For step by step instructions for depositing your output in Pure please see this document or our Pure Deposit page.

Does my publisher allow me to upload my Author’s Accepted Manuscript to Pure?

The majority of publishers allow authors to upload their Author’s Accepted Manuscript to institutional repositories, such as Pure, but they often impose an embargo period (usually 6-24 months). For details of your journal’s permissions, contact the Open Access Team or check  Sherpa/Romeo. Note that Pure contains a Sherpa/Romeo plug-in which is activated by entering a journal title in a publication record.

If I create a basic record for my publication, will this lead to a duplicate record when my paper is published?

It is possible to create duplicate publications in Pure; however, we have a small team who monitor Pure, validate records and check for duplicates. If your duplicate is not dealt with promptly then please contact with details.



If I can achieve open access for free why would I pay for it?

Payment is usually necessary for immediate open access on publication. It may also be necessary to comply with your funders' open access requirements. Wherever possible we will try to help you comply with your funders' policy, though if it is possible without charge it is likely this will be the preferred option.

What is the difference between a ‘hybrid’ journal offering open access and a fully-open access journal?

Some journals funded by subscriptions also accept payment to make individual articles open access. These are commonly called "hybrid" journals. The alternative are "fully open access" journals, which charge no subscriptions, but for which payment of APCs is obligatory in order to publish.

Does my funder have any open access requirements?
Each of the following funders have open access requirements:

COAF charities (Arthritis Research UK, Bloodwise, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Parkinson’s UK and Wellcome Trust).

UKRI councils (AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, and STFC). Note that for the purposes of eligibility, NC3R should also be considered as equivalent to an UKRI council.

There are several other significant funders that have requirements, including NIHR, Horizon2020 and FP7. For details of these policies, please see our funder policies webpage.

What might happen if I don’t comply with my funder?

Failure to comply with your funder’s open access policy may affect future funding applications. For example, Wellcome Trust now requires authors to submit evidence of prior compliance with its open access policy (providing EPMC ID numbers for all previous Wellcome funded papers) when applying for further funding.

I am acknowledging funding from COAF/UKRI - how do I request funding from the block grants?

If you are funded by any of the Research Councils (AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, and STFC) or COAF charities (Arthritis Research UK, Bloodwise, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Parkinson’s UK and Wellcome Trust) it is possible that you may have to pay an APC in order to comply with their policy. 

In order to preserve limited funds we will only cover the costs for open access from these block grants when payment is required in order to comply with the funders' policies. UKRI will permit articles to be made open access by the Green route (by deposit, for free) . COAF would only permit this if funding was not available.

Please contact us or check the database Sherpa/Fact in order to establish whether payment is necessary to comply with your funder's policy in this case.

If the only compliant option open to you is immediate open access please apply for funding by filling in this funding application form

I am not funded, can King’s pay my Article Processing Charges (APC)?

King's policy is only to pay for immediate open access where payment is required in order to meet funder requirements. Where papers do not acknowledge any funding there are no such requirements.

Our recommendation for unfunded authors is to select a hybrid journal which does not require payment of an APC. Or to source departmental or other funds to cover the costs. Or to secure a waiver from the journal. 

When should I apply for open access funding?

If you are applying for funding from the UKRI/COAF block grants please fill in the funding application form when your article is accepted. However, if you are unsure about whether selecting immediate open access is necessary please contact us at any stage of the process.

What are King’s publisher membership schemes?

King's holds memberships and prepayment accounts with a number of publishers. See our page our  Publisher Deals page for details on the arrangements and agreements we have with individual publishers.

You don't have a membership scheme with my publisher. Can you still pay my Gold open access fee?

Yes, payment from the COAF/UKRI block grants is not affected by the membership schemes which the university holds.

My paper has already been published, can I apply for funds to make it open access?

Possibly: different publishers have different policies about retrospective open access. However, it is always worth asking – please contact for more information about retrospective open access and your journal/publisher and funder. 

Are there funds to cover my publication fees, including page and colour charges?

Unfortunately we cannot cover other costs (page charge, print charges, colour charges, over length charges etc.) from the block grants. If such costs arise you will have to source other funds to cover them. Please contact us if this is not possible. 



How do I arrange payment?

You will receive details about arranging the payment in your acceptance email. If you have not yet received your acceptance email please do not arrange payment as payment is not yet assured.

For the majority of authors the process is as follows: please request an invoice, providing the publisher with your own contact information (this allows us to identify the article to which the invoice refers) and the VAT number GB 627 403 551. Please note that we are not tax exempt. Please send the invoice to when it arrives and we will pass it through for payment.

However, if your article is going to be published by Wiley, BioMed Central, Springer, Hindawi, PeerJ, Elsevier (UKRI funded authors only), Cell Press or Dartmouth Journal Services there are slightly different methods for arranging payment. Please contact for more details.

Can I pay myself and claim the funds back?

This is possible in extreme or difficult circumstances. However, we prefer to pay via invoice so that payment is sent directly from the block grant to the publisher. If you would like to pay via this method please contact

How long does payment take?

Accounts Payable have a standard payment period of 30 days from the date on which the PO was raised. Please forward an invoice to as soon as possible after you receive it. POs are raised on the first two days of the working week. You will receive details of the payment once the PO has been raised.

What should I do if I receive an invoice reminder?

Within a week of sending the invoice to you should receive an email containing details of the payment arrangement. Payment will take place within the standard payment period of 30 days from the date on which the PO was raised. If you have received a reminder during this time, there is no need to take further action as payment is underway. If that period has passed then please send the details to to request remittance advice.



What are King's guidelines on open access to research data? Where can I get information on copyright at Kings? Where can I find additional help and guidance?

If you have any questions please see our webpages, email or call 020 7848 7298.

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