Library Services



This page contains a list of terms and definitions commonly used in open access and in UCL’s work to support it.

  • Article processing charge (APC) – a fee levied by the publisher to cover publishing costs through the gold open access route.
  • Author accepted manuscript – the version of a research output that has been accepted for publication following peer-review (if applicable) but prior to the publisher’s formatting, copyediting and typesetting being applied. Can also be known as the postprint (although this term can be ambiguous).
  • Author submitted manuscript – the version of a research output that has not yet undergone peer-review or been accepted for publication. REF and funder requirements stipulate that the author accepted manuscript or later must be made open access. Can also be known as the preprint (although this term can be ambiguous).
  • Bronze open access – a less widely-used term than gold or green open access, this refers to a publisher making an output openly available (“free-to-read") but without a Creative Commons licence that guarantees this in perpetuity and permits reuse. Such content cannot be made available in UCL Discovery without permission from the publisher, either on an ad hoc basis or through a standard green open access policy.
  • cOAlitions S – the national research funders, European and international organisations and charitable foundations that endorse Plan S.
  • Creative Commons (CC) licence – a series of copyright licences which allow authors to licence their work for free reuse, with fewer restrictions than all rights reserved. Publishers will apply a CC licence (or a similar licence with the same effect) as part of the gold open access route. More information is available on UCL's copyright and research data management webpages.
  • CRediT - a taxonomy describing 14 roles that represent the parts typically played by contributors in producing a scholarly output.
  • Diamond/platinum open access – as gold open access, except that no APC is levied: the research output is free to both publish and read.
  • Embargo – a requirement for a delay on open access often imposed by the publisher through the green open access route. A typical embargo period will last between six months and two years. The Open Access Team applies embargo periods to outputs in UCL Discovery where required.
  • Final published version – the version of a research output as published, containing the publisher’s formatting, copyediting and typesetting. Most publishers do not allow this version to be used in the green open access route, instead requiring the author accepted manuscript. Also known as the version of record.
  • Gold open access – the process of making research outputs freely available and reusable on the publisher’s website under the terms of a Creative Commons licence, usually in exchange for an article processing charge. See UCL's open access funding webpages.
  • Green open access – the process of making research outputs freely available through an institutional repository (UCL Discovery), often with restrictions requiring the author accepted manuscript and an embargo period, at no cost to the author. The author’s process of doing this known as self-archiving. See UCL's Understanding open access webpage.
  • Hybrid journal – a journal which publishes a mixture of subscription-access and gold open access articles. This arrangement can lead to institutions paying the publisher twice – once for subscription access to the journal, and again through the APC for each gold open access article.
  • Institutional repository – an online collection of an institution’s research outputs made openly available through the green open access route. UCL’s institutional repository is UCL Discovery.
  • Institutional Research Information System (IRIS) – UCL’s research portal, allowing users to view UCL researchers and their activities. Publications information is imported from RPS.
  • Metadata – data that describes other data in a structured way. In IRISRPS and UCL Discovery, this takes the  form of bibliographic information about research outputs.
  • Open peer review – the practice of making the peer-review openly available in addition to the final research output.
  • Open science/scholarship – a movement to make academic research transparent, collaborative, publicly available and reusable. The 8 pillars of Open Science are FAIR Data, Research Integrity, Next Generation Metrics, Future of Scholarly Communication, Citizen Science, Education and Skills, Rewards and Initiatives, and EOSC.
  • ORCID – a persistent, unique digital identifier for researchers that can be used to manage publications and other professional information.
  • Peer review – evaluation of a research output by academics with relevant subject expertise (“peers”) to determine if it is suitable for publication.
  • Plan S – a current worldwide initiative by cOAlition S to accelerate open access, particularly encouraging immediate availability without embargo periods and journals becoming fully open access, instead of hybridTransformative agreements and transformative journals are features of Plan S.
  • Predatory publisher – a publisher that exploits the gold open access model, accepting most or all submitted research outputs for publication without adequate peer review, thus maximising the income generated from APCs. The Think. Check. Submit. guide can help authors to identify predatory publishers.
  • Preprint – often used interchangeably with author submitted manuscript, but some sources may use the term more generally to refer to any draft version of a research output prior to publication. Some repositories, such as arXiv, are known as preprint servers because they contain versions of papers prior to submission or acceptance.
  • Proofs – draft versions of a research output after acceptance and prior to publication of the final published version, but which do contain the publisher’s formatting, copyediting and typesetting. Most publishers do not allow this version to be used in the green open access route, instead permitting the author accepted manuscript.
  • Research Excellence Framework (REF) – a periodic UK-wide national assessment of research output quality by institution. The next exercise is currently taking place and features open access requirements.
  • Research Publications Service (RPS) – an online platform providing a hub for UCL researchers to manage a central record of their research outputs. Researchers should upload their publications in RPS for them to be made openly available in UCL Discovery.
  • Subject repository – an online collection of freely accessible research outputs covering a particular subject or discipline, not limited to a particular institution. An example is PubMed Central (medical sciences).
  • Transformative agreement – an agreement between a publisher and institutions encouraging the transition of journals from hybrid to fully open access.
  • Transformative journal – a journal that meets specific criteria, set out as part of Plan S, showing its commitment to becoming fully open access.
  • UCL Discovery – UCL’s open access institutional repository, showcasing and providing access to the full texts of UCL research publications. The publications are managed in RPS.