Open Access

Open Access (OA) is all about sharing research freely and openly.

The fundamental principle underlying OA is that research funded by the public should be freely available to the public. For the typical researcher this means that a copy of a research paper should be placed online upon acceptance with no restrictions on who can access, view or download it. In this way OA bypasses current obstacles to access such as the prohibitive cost of journal subscriptions, coupled with restrictive licences, that exclude most people from viewing research.

Open Access as a movement has been around for at least a decade. Support has grown significantly in the UK over the last few years for the following reasons:

1. The Research Excellence Framework has an Open Access Policy applying to REF2021. The policy applies to outputs accepted for publication after 1 April 2016. The main points of the policy are:

  • it is compulsory to make all research outputs accepted for publication Open Access in an institutional or subject repository within 3 months of acceptance. This applies to journal articles and conference proceedings, but other outputs are encouraged. The output deposited must be the author's accepted and final peer reviewed text (which may otherwise be known as the 'author accepted manuscript' or 'final author version' or 'post-print') and this could be supplemented by the final published version of record at a later date (if the publisher allows it, but the Library can check this)
  • outputs should be in a readable format so that they can be searched and re-used
  • outputs should apply a Creative Commons licence - CC BY or CC BY-NC if the publisher allows

2. Government-driven policy on widening access to research - a response to the Finch Report

3. OA as a principle has been taken up by many of the major research funders, including the UK Research Councils and The Wellcome Trust (see WT's guidance on publishing in hybrid, open access journals). All Research Councils now require that research funded by them is made Open Access. Please see the UK Research and Innovation open access policy

Lancaster University has embraced the Open Access movement and implemented its own Lancaster University Open Access Policy on 1 May 2015. An Open Access Checklist summarises the key points of the policy.

There are two main routes to Open Access: Green and Gold. Please see How Do I... for further information.

If you have any further queries on Open Access, please contact

Tab Content: Introduction

Why should I put my research on Open Access?

Open Access is not just about benefiting the general public, there are clear benefits to individual researchers and their institutions:

  • Increased visibility of research and researchers, helping you to reach new audiences
  • Increased impact: Open Access research is cited more frequently
  • Research lifecycle can be accelerated: published, read, cited, built on
  • Compliance with funder mandates
  • Creation of new collaborative opportunities and exchange of knowledge
  • Public good: sharing scholarship and intellectual wealth

Research that is openly and freely available will be found more easily through, for example, Google, Google Scholar, specialist search engines such as BASE, and harvesters that trawl the web aggregating related content.

A number of recent studies have clearly demonstrated that putting research on OA increases the number of times it is cited. Additionally, the research lifecycle may be speeded up – it is quicker to get research out there and noticed and it can make collaborating and sharing easier.

Lancaster University is committed to ensuring that the outputs of our research are made readily available to anyone who would benefit from them. See Lancaster University Open Access Policy

Find out more about the Open Access movement

  • Listen to Sir Mark Walport, Chief Executive of the Wellcome Trust, on why Open Access is important
  • Stevan Harnad’s open access web pages
  • Go Open Access, a series of short films aiming to promote wider awareness and understanding of Open Access
  • Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission, on libraries, access to knowledge and Open Access
  • Where next with Open Access? A presentation by Martin Hall, Chair of the Open Access Implementation Group and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Salford (predates Finch Report and RCUK policy)
  • Web pages from the Open Citation Project on the effect of Open Access and downloads on citation impact

Tab Content: Acquiring Funding

Where do I find the money to pay OA publishing costs?

The following funding may be available to assist with Gold Open Access fees.

UKRI (formerly RCUK) Block Grant

Please apply for funding if the following apply:

  • you are the principal/corresponding author
  • the green open access route is not a compliant option (except where Publish and Read deals exist with publishers - see our Prepayments page for further details)
  • you are publishing in an open access journal (Directory of Open Access Journals is an online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals)

Email once your paper has been accepted and you have created a record of it in Pure. Please include the title of your paper in your email.

The Library will carry out administrative checks on your funding application, after which a decision should be made within 3 working days.

More about the block grant:
From 1 April 2013, UKRI issued research organisations (including Lancaster) with a block grant to help meet the cost of open access via the Gold pay-to-publish route. From this date it is no longer possible for individual grant applications to UKRI to request funding for pay-to-publish Article Processing Fees (APCs). Lancaster University has received a block grant to support Gold open access.

This policy will affect anyone funded by the following Research Councils:

  • Arts & Humanities Research Council
  • Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council
  • Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council
  • Economic & Social Research Council
  • Medical Research Council
  • Natural Environment Research Council
  • Science & Technology Facilities Research Council

In summary, the main points of the UKRI OA policy are:

  • Open Access can be through the Gold route (often pay-to-publish via the publisher's platform) and a record of the research output should be added to Lancaster's institutional repository (Pure) and also an appropriate subject repository if desired
  • The author can apply for Gold Open Access funding, while there is available block grant funding
  • All publications must be available on Open Access within six months of the publication date with the exception of AHRC and ESRC funded papers which must be available within a 12 month period
  • To check if a journal in which you wish to publish complies with your funder's requirements for open access please see the SHERPA/FACT tool
  • For Gold Open Access, the selected publisher must support the Creative Commons 'Attribution' licence - CC-BY - which allows unrestricted use of manual and automated text and data mining tools, as well as unrestricted re-use of content with proper attribution. This is to maximise exposure to the research findings
  • For Green Open Access your author accepted manuscript should be accompanied by a CC BY-NC licence to be compliant with UKRI's OA policy (NB Elsevier only allows a CC BY-NC-ND licence for the green open access route and therefore this is not compliant)
  • Research papers must include a statement on how the underlying research materials can be accessed
  • Funding information must be included within the acknowledgement section of a paper

For further information please see the RCUK policy on Open Access.

Lancaster University Funding

Some faculties (FASS, FHM and LUMS) have provided funding to pay for Gold Open Access charges for their academic staff. The following criteria must apply:

  • the research paper is likely to be rated as 4* in the next REF
  • the chosen journal is the most appropriate place to publish and does not offer a compliant green route or is an open access only journal. Check Sherpa Romeo for details of a journal's self-archiving policy. If you are unsure, please contact for assistance.

Please apply for funding by emailing once your paper has been accepted and you have created a record of it in Pure. Please include the title of your paper in your email. Funding will be subject to approval by your Research Director.

If you are an academic within FST and have queries about non-RCUK open access funding please contact the Research Director in your department.

If you have any further queries on Open Access please contact

Lancaster Open Access Policy:

Tab Content: Where to self-archive

Pure Research Information System

Lancaster University's PURE Research Information System is a repository which aims to capture and preserve the intellectual output of Lancaster University and make it freely available over the Web.

Data in PURE is being used to produce staff profiles and other research related information such as publications metadata and full text, project information etc.

Please deposit metadata of all publications into PURE as soon as it is available (by adding a publication to PURE using the templates provided you are automatically adding metadata that describes the journal or conference paper).

In line with Lancaster University Open Access Policy and to be eligible for the post-2014 REF you must use PURE to deposit the Author Accepted Manuscript (see document versions explained) of journal articles and published conference proceedings as soon as they have been accepted by the publisher.

Other Repositories

In addition to depositing in PURE you can choose to deposit in a subject based repository such as Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC),SSOAR or CiteSeer. By depositing in such repositories you are placing your research paper next to those of your peers at other universities and research institutes. Other researchers will be able to find your article when searching the web, as all repositories are indexed by the major search engines.

Open access repositories can be located using the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR) and Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) services.


You can download user guides to help you use PURE.

If you still have problems accessing or using PURE please email

Lancaster Open Access Policy