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Open access


What is open access?

Open Access is the free and open availability of research outputs online. Typically, those outputs are made available either in journals or by deposit in online institutional or subject repositories.

The most common open access outputs are peer-reviewed journal articles and conference proceedings, as well as PhD theses. However, monographs, book chapters and increasingly research data are also being published open access.

How do I publish open access?

Open access can be achieved by two routes: namely, by deposit of full text of the output in an institutional or subject repository (often referred to as Green open access) and immediate and openly accessible on publication in final published form on publisher’s website (often referred to as Gold). 

These two routes are not mutually exclusive. And you are advised to make all papers you publish open access via the Green route – that is, by uploading the author’s accepted manuscript version to Pure (in particular, this may be a requirement for REF). But you may also be required to make your article open access via the Gold route in order to comply with your funder's policy.

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 policy. 
  • The version made publicly available online via Green open access is usually the Author's accepted manuscript version (i.e. final draft post-peer review), but can occasionally be the final published version.
Gold open access
  • Research outputs publicly available to all on the publisher’s website immediately upon publication.
  • Will require payment of an Article Processing Charge (APC), the average cost is £2000.
  • Transparency about the kinds of reuse that is permitted of the research, and a guarantee of its perpetual openness should be indicated with a license, ideally a Creative Commons Atribution (CC BY) license. This benefits authors and readers.

Why engage with open access?


Benefits for researchers:

  • Open access of your research outputs has the potential to lead to wider dissemination, more downloads, higher citation levels and increased possibilities for collaboration.
  • Open access also means greater access for society at large and potentially greater public engagement with research.
  • Open access can help researchers in smaller institutions and in developing countries, professionals outside academia who rely on research – notably, health workers, teacher and lawyers – as well as citizen scientists and any member of the general public wishing to benefit from access to the latest research findings.


Compliance with funder policies:

  • An increasing number of funders require that journal articles resulting from the research they fund be made open access.  
  • It is usually expected that this be achieved via deposit in an institutional repository or in some cases via publishing immediate open access on the publisher's website.
  • If you are in receipt of a grant, it is vital that you understand your funder's open access requirements – given non-compliance may affect future grant applications.

 For more information about funders and their requirements, please check our Funder Policies page


Compliance with the open access requirement for REF2021:


  • Whether your funders have an open access requirement or not, papers accepted for publication need to be made open access to comply with the REF open access requirements and be eligible for submission.
  • The author's accepted manuscript version for all journal articles and conference proceedings with ISSN must be uploaded to Pure within 90 days of the date of acceptance for publication.

For more details about the policy please see our Pure for REF webpage


Compliance with King's Publications policy:

King's Publications Policy requires that King's authors make all of their research outputs open access on the Research Portal