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About open access

Open access means making research publications freely available online. It ensures that your work reaches the widest possible audience, and that it can be used and shared easily.

UCL policy

All UCL research must be uploaded to UCL's Research Publications Service (RPS), to ensure that it complies with the REF open access policy and UCL's Publications Policy

It will be made open access through UCL Discovery according to the publisher's copyright permissions (usually after a delay period). 

If your research is funded by an external research funder, check our funder pages for details of their open access policy.


Types of open access

There are two types of open access, Green and Gold.

Some funders require Gold open access. At UCL, central Gold funds are available for papers funded by the UK Research Councils and the COAF medical charities.

UCL encourages Green open access where possible. However, UCL does have a limited Gold institutional fund to cover fees in fully open access journals that appear in the Directory of Open Access Journals, provided there is no open access funding available from the article's funders.

***IMPORTANT FUNDING UPDATE***

UCL’s 2018/2019 Gold institutional fund is fully expended. From 1 January 2019, UCL is unable to pay the fees for publishing in fully open access journals. Authors are advised to ensure the availability of alternative funding before submitting to fully open access journals. The UCL Open Access Team is still able to arrange payments in fully open access journals where the costs will be met by a funder who provides UCL with central funding for open access payments (e.g. the UK Research Councils and COAF charities). We will review open access funding in the new budget year (August 2019). 

For more information, complete this form and we'll reply with a summary of your options.

Green open access
  • The final accepted manuscript version of a publication is made available through an open access repository (e.g. UCL Discovery)
  • The paper becomes freely available after the publisher's embargo period (usually 6-24 months)

Green open access is free, and most subscription journals allow it as part of their standard conditions.

UCL authors should upload their final accepted manuscript (after peer review, but before publisher typesetting) to UCL's Research Publications Service (RPS). 

The manuscript will then be made open access through UCL Discovery, UCL's open access repository, according to the publisher's copyright permissions (usually after a delay period). The UCL Discovery team will manage the embargo period and apply any publisher conditions.

Gold open access

Gold open access usually involves a one-off payment to a publisher. The average cost at UCL is £1500 per paper. UCL has prepayment schemes with certain publishers; we pay others by invoice.

  • The final published version of a publication is made freely available on the publisher's website and deposited in UCL Discovery
  • It is usually published with a Creative Commons (CC) licence
  • Open access is effective immediately on publication
  • The publisher sends copies of your paper to your funder's designated subject repository

Gold open access includes papers in subscription journals where the authors choose Gold, and fully open access journals (e.g. BioMed Central, PLOS).


Find open access publications

UCL Discovery is UCL's open access repository, providing access to UCL research publications. Use it to find Green and Gold open access publications by UCL researchers.

Open Access Button is a tool that allows users to search for freely-available versions of publications whenever they're denied access to academic content. It was co-developed by UCL alumnus Joe McArthur.