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Open Access Toolkit

Article processing charges are publication fees charged by open access journals. Article processing charges are payable to the publisher by the author(s) or their institution/employer after the article has undergone peer review and been accepted for publication.

Many publishers allow authors to share their Author's Accepted Manuscript (AAM) in their institutional repositories, either immediately or after a certain embargo period has passed. Also known as the post-print, the AAM is:

  • the final draft version of a scholarly paper that has been accepted for publication by a journal, after peer-review and incorporating any suggested revisions
  • it typically includes all of the changes and edits that were made during the peer-review process, but has not yet been copyedited or formatted by the publisher.
It is not:
  • the submitted version, also known as the preprint. While preprints can often be made available too, they haven't been through the peer review process and do not meet the requirements of the  ARC and NHMRC Open Access funding mandates, or the the UWA Research Integrity Policy.
  • the proof or the final published version that has undergone copyediting, typesetting and branding

The non-profit organisation  Creative Commons has made  several copyright licences, known as Creative Commons licences, freely available to the public for use. The licences are widely used and easily understandable. They also offer a high degree of flexibility by virtue of the fact that they can be assembled from four combinable licence elements:

  • BY – Attribution: The name of the creator must be provided and where technically possible a link to the original material and the CC licence.
  • ND – No Derivatives: The work may be modified, but the modified version may not be distributed.
  • A – Share Alike: The work may be modified, but the modified version may be distributed only under the same licence as the original.
  • NC –Non-Commercial: The material may be used only for non-commercial purposes.

This model is a variant of gold open access. Under diamond open access, journals function without article processing charges. Rather, the journal is financed from institutional funds, by funding agencies or, for example, by library consortia in which various libraries come together.

An embargo period is a time delay after which publishers allow authors to make the full texts of their publications available to the public in a repository (green open access). The length of the embargo period is at the discretion of the publisher. In the case of journals, it is usually between 6 and 12 months, and sometimes even 24 months.

Funder mandates obligate grant recipients to provide open access to the published results that they fund. In some cases, funders lay down very concrete guidelines for the implementation of these guidelines.

Gold open access refers to the publication of scholarly works as articles in open access journals, as open access monographs, or as contributions to open access collections or conference proceedings. As a rule, these texts undergo the same quality assurance process as closed access works, mostly in the form of peer review or editorial review.

Green open access – also known as self-archiving – refers to making works published with a publisher or in a journal available to the public in a repository. It is sometimes understood to refer also to making such works available on the author’s personal website. Self-archiving can take place at the same time as the publication of the content by the publisher or at a later date, and is possible for preprints and post-prints of scholarly articles, as well as for other document types, for example, monographs, research reports, and conference proceedings.

Under hybrid open access models, publishers obtain revenue from two sources at the same time: from journal subscriptions and from the additional open access charges. In contrast to “genuine” open access, the entire journal is not freely accessible, but rather authors pay article processing charges (APCs) to “buy” the freedom of individual articles.

A publishing agreement or contract (sometimes referred to as an author or licence agreement) is a legal contract between a published and an author to publish original work by the author. Publishers will usually request that you sign an agreement or contract with them in order to publish your research. A publishing agreement will generally cover information like:

  • when the work will be published
  • what format the work will be published in (print or online or both)
  • if the author is entitled to any royalties, how they will be shared between the author and publisher
  • how copyright in the work will be managed.
  • Read and Publish (R&P) agreements are a form of transformative agreement. They bring the research community, academic libraries and scholarly publishers together to work towards an open access publishing model. They provide authors with the opportunity to publish open access immediately on acceptance, and free of any transactional Article Processing Charges (APCs). The agreements work by taking the library’s existing expenditure on journal subscriptions and repurposing it to cover both reading and publishing in that publisher’s journals.

    R&P agreements are a key strategy adopted by the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) in moving Australian research towards open access, see the Read & Publish Agreements Negotiated by CAUL.

    A repository is a document server at a university or a research institution on which scholarly materials are archived and made available to the public worldwide on a long-term basis. Two types of repositories are distinguished:

  • institutional repositories (operated by institutions such as university libraries, other infrastructure organisations, or research organisations). At UWA, this is the UWA Profiles and Research Repository
  • disciplinary repositories (trans-institutional, thematically bundled, e.g., for a particular discipline)
  • Sherpa Romeo is an online resource that aggregates and analyses publisher open access policies and can be used to determine the open access publishing options for most journals.

    Search for a journal by name or ISSN and Sherpa Romeo will display where and under what conditions the Published, Accepted or Submitted versions of an article from the selected journal can be made open access:

    • Where that version can be shared – e.g. websites or repositories.

      image showing the Sherpa Romeo status

    • If there is a cost involved (i.e. an article processing charge)

      image showing the Sherpa Romeo status of a pound symbol indicating cost.

    • If there is an embargo before it can be shared and for how long

      image showing the Sherpa Romeo status image showing the Sherpa Romeo status

    • If there are any required licensing conditions

      image showing the Sherpa Romeo status of

    • Any additional requirements such as acknowledgements.
    The Pathways sometimes referred to for published versions of an article are related to specific UK grant requirements and are largely not relevant. More details of a journal’s policy can be found by following the links to the publisher’s website. Sherpa Romeo User Guide.

    “Subscribe to Open” (S2O) is an approach for converting subscription journals to open access—free and immediate online availability of research—without reliance on either article processing charges (APCs) or altruism. It allows publishers to convert journals from subscriptions to OA, one year at a time, and relies on existing library subscription procurement processes. Using S2O, a publisher offers a journal’s current subscribers continued access. If all current subscribers participate in the S2O offer (simply by not opting out) the publisher opens the content covered by that year’s subscription. If participation is not sufficient—for example, if some subscribers delay renewing in the expectation that they can gain access without participating—then that year’s content remains gated. The offer is repeated every year, with the opening of each year’s content contingent on sufficient participation. In some cases, access to backfile content may be used to enhance the offer (Subscribe to Open).

    “Transformative agreement” is an umbrella term describing those agreements negotiated between institutions (libraries, national and regional consortia) and publishers in which former subscription expenditures are repurposed to support open access publishing of the negotiating institutions’ authors, thus transforming the business model underlying scholarly journal publishing, gradually and definitively shifting from one based on toll access (subscription) to one in which publishers have remunerated a fair price for their open access publishing services (Efficiency and Standards for Article Charges, ESAC).


     Except for logos, Canva designs or where otherwise indicated, content in this guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.