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Durham University

Research and Innovation Services

Gold Open Access FAQs

How much does it cost to publish open access?

The fee for the Article Processing Charge (APC) varies according to the individual journal or the area of research. Fees typically range from £800-2000 (plus VAT), although they can be more. According to RCUK estimations from the Finch Report, the average APC is typically around £1727 (plus VAT).

How should I factor in Open Access costs to a grant application?

Some publishers will allow you to factor in publication costs at the grant application process. If this is the case, it is worth considering the journals you will target for publication, and if they offer a gold or green open access option. If they only offer a gold option (or the funder requires this) you may need to factor in the costs to cover the APC charged by that journal as an additional cost to be covered by the grant.

Authors can use Sherpa Romeo to identify options offered by a journal, or can contact the Research & Innovation Services or Library for further advice.

How can I pay open access fees charged by a publisher?

If your research is funded by RCUK, you may be eligible to have fees paid from the Durham University central publications fund. The University receives a block grant on 1 April every year towards the cost of APCs. This is available to all RCUK-funded researchers (including PhD doctoral students) and is currently allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

RCUK funded authors seeking to apply for funding should complete the online form. Further details are also available from our RCUK funded open access pages.

If your research is funded by The Wellcome Trust, you can apply for additional funding to cover the cost of open access fees. More information on what these fees cover is available from our Funder Policies and Requirements webpages.

Other funders may allow you to include publication costs in your grant application or offer additional funds available to cover the cost of open access fees. You should contact your funder directly to investigate this.

Durham University does not have any additional central funding available to cover the costs of open access publishing. Please contact the Library for further advice.

Are there any discounts available?

Yes. Durham University has been proactive in engaging with publishers to identify means of reducing the costs for our authors. We have various pre-payment and discount schemes with publishers, primarily for RCUK funded authors but some are available to all, which offer discounts of between 10% and 100% off the listed APC price.

The reduction to the fee will normally be applied automatically when your article is accepted for publication.

For further details, see our Publisher Deals webpage.

I don't have any funding available to cover the costs, what should I do?

If funding is not available, you will need to publish your research using the Green, rather than the Gold, route. This means that your research will be published in a traditional, subscription-based journal and a copy must also be made available via Durham Research Online. The Green Open Access route is the option preferred by Durham University.

Different funding bodies have their own criteria relating to Green Open Access publishing (covering areas such as the length of any permitted embargos or the licence under which the research is published).

Please contact the Library for further advice.

Are Open Access journals peer reviewed?

Research submitted for open access publication goes through exactly the same process of peer review as more traditional publications in most cases.

Open Access publications are also open to wider scrutiny post-publication as they are more readily available to both academic and non-academic readers.

I have concerns over the quality of publishing Open Access.

Many "pure" open access titles are of equally high quality as more established, subscription-based journals. Research submitted for most open access publication goes through exactly the same process of peer review as more traditional publications.

You are likely to find that any subscription-based journal that you have published with in the past will also offer the option to pay an Article Processing Charge (APC) to publish in gold open access.

Don't Open Access journals have low impact factors?

Some "pure" open access journals may currently have no or low impact factors. This is because of the way impact factors are calculated. They are based on the average number of citations per paper published in that journal over a two year period. As many purely open access journals are relatively new, they may not yet have sufficient data to generate an impact factor.

This is not, however, a reliable indicator on the quality of the research. Websites such as Eigenfactor show that open access journals can be just as prestigious as more traditional journals.

How can I be sure that an Open Access journal is genuine?

The vast majority of open access journals offer a genuine alternative to traditional journals. There are, however, a small number of “predatory publishers” who charge authors to publish research, but which are of dubious scholarly value.

The website "Think. Check. Submit" gives advice on how to select trusted journals for publication.

If you are not sure whether an open access journal is genuine, please contact the Library for further advice.

What should I do if my preferred journal of publication does not offer an Open Access option?

If your preferred journal does not offer an acceptable open access option, it is worth contacting them to see if the licence terms can be negotiated. It may be possible, for example, for you to retain the copyright over your research (many licence agreements require you to hand this over to the publishers). This may then allow you to make the research available elsewhere, in addition to publishing in the journal.

Another alternative (where the embargo applied is longer than that permitted by the funding body) is to make sure your manuscript is 'Almost-OA'. Here, your papers are deposited into Durham Research Online as soon as they are accepted for publication, but they are set to “Closed Access” for the duration of the embargo, or indefinitely where the publisher will not permit open access at all. During this period, individual users can request and be granted a single copy for research use.