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Making research open access so that it can be read, re-used and built upon is seen as a key part of the research lifecycle by many funders. This page explains key terms used in open access and provides access to the forms for St George’s, University of London researchers to use when claiming open access fees.

For REF, SGUL require deposit in CRIS for SORA, please see REF 2021 Open Access Policy

Applying for funds for open access publication fees

The open access support available for those authors whose manuscripts acknowledge the indivdual charities previously in the Charity Open Access Fund (COAF) partnership (Wellcome, Blood Cancer UK, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Parkinson’s UK, and Versus Arthritis) ceased from 1st October 2020.  New arragements for open access support have been set out in this interim summary document.

Please see the information on Wellcome and their updated open access policy which has several changes for 2021.

The form below should be completed by authors with manuscripts that may be eligible for funding from UK Research & Innovation open access block grant, or St George’s institutional open access fund. 

While we may be able to authorise payment of an open access publication charge, if there is a 'no fee' way of making your paper open access, this may be suggested rather than a paid route. And remember, eligible SGUL researchers can also take advantage of several ‘read and publish’ deals, which means SGUL corresponding authors can publish open access at no extra charge with some publishers (such as CUP, OUP, Springer, Wiley). Please see our Paying Open Access Fees web page for more information on the journals included.

Please contact us via before submission if your research acknowledges any of the above funders and you have any queries.


Applications must be submitted before a manuscript is submitted to a publisher.

Please first read the Guidance for Authors: Request for funds to cover Open Access and publication charges for manuscripts (PDF, St George's, University of London login required)

Then complete the St George’s Open Access Fund application form (Word, St George's, University of London login required)

Please send a copy of the completed form to openaccess or let us know if you have any queries.


Frequently asked questions

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What is open access?

Open access (OA) is the practice of making scholarly material (eg journal articles, book chapters) freely available via the internet. Institutional and subject repositories are collections of open access research, and preserve the material on a long-term basis. There are currently over 250 institutional or departmental repositories in the UK (OpenDOAR), including St George’s, University of London institutional repository called SORA (St George's Online Research Archive). SORA is publicly accessible and holds details of publications written by St George’s researchers.

Additionally, there are also open access subject repositories such as Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC – formerly UK PubMed Central) where researchers can deposit their research outputs.

A useful introduction to open access is provided by Jisc (Joint Information Systems Committee).
Am I obliged to publish my research as open access?

Many research funders will have policies regarding making published outputs available on an open access basis. If in any doubt, please check with your funder(s). 

You can view a list of the Europe PubMed Central funding organisations who expect research outputs arising from research that they have funded to be made freely and readily available. There is also a list of research funders with open access information at SHERPA JULIET, or for advice please email the library.

Does St George's have a policy on open access?
St George’s position on open access is contained in our Research Publications policy. This requires that published outputs be available on an open access basis in full text via St George’s institutional repository, SORA (where publishers’ copyright agreements allow), and that St George’s researchers should comply with the publication policies of research funders with regards to open access.
What are the benefits of open access?

Open access is a topic that those involved in higher education cannot ignore, due to changes in funders policies since the Finch report (2012) , and the Government response to it.  The UKRI Open Access Policy for REF 2021 further shows the importance placed on making publicly funded research openly available.

Research by Alma Swan reviewing various studies found a positive open access citation advantage in 27 vs 4 studies: Swan, Alma (2010) The Open Access citation advantage: Studies and results to date.

An overview of other studies up to 2015 can be found on the SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) website: The Open Access Citation Advantage Service.  The 2019 Digital Science report: The Ascent of Open Access analysed Open Access trends between 2000 and 2016, and amoung the findings were publishing in Open Access venues optimised citation and Altmetric attention.

Benefits to St George’s of an open access institutional repository, SORA

SORA, St George’s institutional repository, has significant benefits for the institution because it provides:

  • a showcase for all of St George’s, University of London research outputs
  • increased visibility of St George’s research – the repository content is indexed by Google and in the library's discovery tool Hunter
  • potential for increased research collaboration
  • potential to attract research students
  • long-term preservation of St George’s research outputs.
Benefits for researchers

Researchers also benefit from providing open access to their work. These benefits include: 

  • new opportunities for collaboration
  • research outputs are more easily accessible and visible
  • potential for increased citations
  • ready, perpetual, access to a researcher’s published work.
Benefits for society

As authors worldwide increasingly begin to make their research outputs openly accessible, wider society will also benefit in the following ways:

  • journal articles can be accessed even if an individual’s library does not have a subscription to a particular journal
  • UK taxpayers will be able to get access to the research they fund
  • people in developing countries will be able to get access to up-to-date research.
I'm the author, can't I make my work available online if I want to?

The rights you retain over your work can vary considerably. When you or your co-authors sign a copyright transfer agreement or a licence form, this can mean many re-use rights are at the publisher’s discretion. You can check what rights are granted back to you by checking these agreements, and there will usually be a copyright statement on the published version which should indicate who holds the copyright and what the permitted reuse rights are. If the work contains any third party copyright material, it is your responsibility to obtain permission from the copyright holders to reproduce the work.

This blog post from cOAlition-S (2021) outlines some of the issues authors typically face when trying to share their work, and approaches to solutions (as adopted by funders supporting Plan S, see below).

What is green open access?
Green open access means making the author’s version of a published research output available via an institutional or subject repository. Traditionally, there has been a distinction made by publishers with regards to which version of the publication can be deposited where no open access fee has been paid, and there may be embargo periods which restrict how soon after publication the author’s version can be made available. For more information on the terms for versions of an article, please refer to 'I'm confused about the terms for different versions of the article, what do they mean?' below.
What is gold open access?
Gold open access means that the published version of the research is made available on a freely accessible basis via the publisher’s website.
This is most usually by the payment of an open access fee, often referred to as an APC (article processing charge).
The term ‘gold’ may also be used to refer to journals that operate on a totally open access model, for example PLOS One, Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience and Nucleic Acids Research. The funding model of such journals means that all content is accessible for free, publishing costs being met by, for example, author payments or institutional memberships.
What is bronze open access?
Bronze open access refers to articles that are free to read on the publisher's website, but are still published under the publisher's standard terms and conditions. These articles are typically not published under an open license allowing for re-use, and the publisher can choose to make these articles closed access again at any time.
What is diamond open access?

Diamond open access, sometimes called platinum open access, means that the published version of an article is made freely accessible via the publisher's website under an open access license, but without charging a fee to the authors or their institutions.

 As neither the author or reader is charged directly, diamond open access publications usually rely on external funding sources, such as grants, donations or advertising.

What is hybrid open access?
This usually describes a journal which operates under a subscription-based model, but also gives the option for articles to be published as open access upon payment of an APC (article processing charge, see below). 
I'm confused about the terms for different versions of the article, what do they mean?

Pre-print: a version of an article as submitted to a journal, or pre-print platform, but prior to peer review changes (pre-prints are not made available in SORA).

Post-print / authors’ accepted manuscript / authors’ final version: this is the version of your paper as accepted for publication, including any changes following peer review, but prior to publisher typesetting, formatting and copyright statements.

Publisher version: the article as published.

There are tools to help you navigate journal and funder policies for open access, and which versions of your article you can share and how, on the SHERPA website.
What is a CC licence?

If one of the Creative Commons (CC) licences is applied to your work, this identifies exactly what re-use rights are allowed. There are different types of CC licences, some more restrictive than others. Your work should still be correctly cited and attributed to you.

The CC BY licence is the most open, and the CC BY-NC-ND is the most restrictive, and there are several other options in between:


(Creative Commons licenses explained ©Foter (adapted by Jisc) via Foter blog CC BY-SA)

Many funders require that you make publications arising from research they have funded, either in whole or in part, available under a specific type of CC licence. Several of the major funders require CC-BY. If you aren't sure, please contact us before submission

What is an APC?
APC stands for article processing charge. This is a payment made to the publisher prior to publication so that the published research output is freely available on an open access basis immediately on publication via the publisher’s website.
How can I get funding to pay for an open access APC?

If your funder requires publication on an open access basis, they may ask that you incorporate anticipated open access publication costs into your grant application, or allow for reimbursement in another way.

If you are considering submitting an article to a journal or publishing platform where a charge is due for open access, please refer to the Applying for funds for open access publication fees  guidance at the top of this page.

What if my research is funded by more than one funder?

If the article has arisen from research funded by more than one funder, where block grant funding is available, the cost of making the paper available on open access should be split proportionally.
Please indicate this on the open access claim form.

The most restrictive publication terms of the funders should be complied with, as to not do so would make the publication non-compliant with that particular funder. Please get in touch with the funders or email us if you require further guidance.

What is Plan S?

A core aim of Plan S is that all scholarly publications resulting from research funded by Plan S signatories must be available on OA immediately on publication. This may not require payment of an open access publishing fee, as the strategy is that researchers should assert and retain rights over the version of the manuscrupt accepted for publication.

You can check this implementation roadmap which lists many of the funder adopting this approach. 

Plan S funders have developed the Journal Checker Tool to help you find out if the journal you're considering submitting to is compliant with their OA policies.

The rights retention statement should be included in the article on submission to a journal - use the wording  recommended at 'What rights statements must I include in my submissions to journals?' on the FAQ - Rights and licences page. There is also a submission cover letter template you can use.

I haven't submitted my research to a journal yet, how do I know the journal meets my funder's requirements?

The journal you chose to publish in must be one that has an open access option that complies with your funder requirements. There are 2 main services provided by funders to help you check whether a journal complies:

I’ve been approached to publish, how do I know the journal is trustworthy?

If you have been contacted by a publisher whose credentials you are unsure of, you may wish to check for the journal in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) which indexes and provides access to quality open access, peer-reviewed journals. You can also have a look at Think, Check, Submit which guides you through some questions when you are considering choosing a publisher. If you have any further queries, contact the library via email.

What is ORCID and why is it useful?

ORCID stands for the open researcher and contributor ID. It’s free to sign up for one, and can be used across different information systems to disambiguate researchers and their research outputs.

There is a list of some of the publishers, societies and system suppliers integrating use of ORCIDs into their systems. See the Wellcome Trust blog post to see why Wellcome Trust support adoption of this ID standard.
How can I find open access articles to use in my research?

There are various ways to find open access versions of articles that are otherwise only available with a subscription to the journal (or by paying an access fee). These include:

  • Unpaywall: this is a browser extension for Firefox and Google Chrome. Once you’ve installed it, any time you find an article behind a paywall, you can click on the padlock icon on the right hand side of the screen and be taken straight to an open access version of the article, if there’s one available.
  • CORE (Connecting Repositories) aggregates open access research outputs from repositories and journals worldwide.
  • Dimensions is a system allowing search & discovery of articles. The free to access version also allows you to click through to open access articles by virtue of having Unpaywall data integrated into the Dimensions database.
  • EndNote Click (previously Kopernio, previously Canary Haz), part of the same company that includes Web of Science and EndNote, helps you find open access versions of articles including those on pre-print servers. You will need to register to use. If you are at an institution which is set up to allow for searching of university-subscribed content beyond open access content, you can add your institution to access content the library has subscribed to. See here for further information on setting up EndNote Click.
  • OA DOI: if you know the DOI (digital object identifier) of the article you’re looking for, you can paste it onto the end of this web address – – to find open access versions of the article.
  • Open Access Button: a similar tool to Unpaywall, this also allows you to search for an article directly from their website and request copies of articles from authors.


Related Links

CRIS (Current Research Information System) Information.

SORA FAQs - Links to the FAQ page on the SORA website.

Repository Policies - Links to SGUL's institutional repository policies on the SORA website.



For all enquiries about open access, email:
For all enquiries about the CRIS and SORA, e-mail:


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