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Open Access

Paths to Open Access

If you decide to make your work available open access via the gold route, you will need to confirm this choice at the point of replying to the acceptance of your work by the publisher. Publishers will charge an article processing charge (APC) to make work available open access in this way. there are several options for paying these charges depending on how your research has been funded:

Paying Gold Open Access charges if your research is externally funded

The University receives block grants in order to pay APCs for articles reporting on research funded by the following groups of funders, with that funding acknowledged in the article itself:

Research Councils UK

  • Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • Medical Research Council (MRC)
  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
  • Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

Selected members of the Association of Medical Research Charities (Charity Open Access Fund, aka COAF)

  • Arthritis Research UK
  • Bloodwise
  • Breast Cancer Now
  • British Heart Foundation
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Parkinson's UK
  • Wellcome Trust

In order to qualify for these funds you must acknowledge your funder in the acknowledgements section of the paper and the article must be made available under a CC-BY license. No other license (e.g. CC-BY-NC) is accepted.

Paying Gold Open Access charges if your research is not externally funded or funding for publication isn't included

If your funder does not provide these funds, or your research has no external funder, there is an Institutional Open Access Fund to pay for article processing charges which you can apply for.

In order to qualify for the Institutional Open Access Fund, articles must be made available under a CC-BY license. No other license (e.g. CC-BY-NC) is accepted. These funds cannot be used to pay for page and colour charges on their own, though page charges associated with an open access article processing charge that is also being paid for using the Institutional Fund can be met (we would encourage authors to question publishers as to why such additional charges are necessary).

How to request payment of Gold Open Access charges

The Library manages payment of APCs for Gold Open Access charges from the RCUK, COAF and Institutional funds. If you wish to request payment of an APC for Gold Open Open Access publications from one of these funds, please do the following:

  1. Request an invoice for the APC from the publisher be sent to you, ensuring that the article will be available with a CC-BY licence (any other licence, such as CC-BY-NC, is unacceptable) Please do not have the invoice sent directly to the library.
  2. Complete the open access request form and send it, together with the invoice to the Repository Team.
  3. The Library will then arrange for payment of the open access article processing charge (APC).

Remember: payments can only be made if the work has not already been published and will be available under a CC-BY license. No other Creative Commons license is accepted.

We have prepayment deals in place with the publishers Wiley, IEEE and SpringerNature (for Springer titles) that make payment easier. These are described in more depth in the discounts and memberships section.


A typical article processing charge is around £1,800 + VAT. You can use this figure as a rough guide if putting an estimate for publishing costs into a grant application. Remember that as the Research Councils and COAF partners provide the university with separate open access funds, you cannot place publication costs into applications to those funders.

Note that there can be a wide variance in article processing charges, from as low as £200 up to £3,000 or more. Generally, fully gold open access journals will charge lower fees than hybrid journals (i.e. those closed access subscription journals that make individual articles open access on payment of a fee).

At the moment the open access monograph market is still in its infancy, and there are currently no "typical" gold open access fees for monographs.

Depending on who funded your research, a subject or funder repository might be available for you. For example, it is common for medical research funders like the Wellcome Trust to require their funded-outputs to be deposited in PubMed. If your funder requires deposit in a subject or funder repository, the details of such requirements should be in your grant award.

If there are no suitable subject or funder repositories relevant to your research, you can self-archive your work in the University of Liverpool Repository via Liverpool Elements. You are not limited to depositing journal articles in the Repository - book chapters, conference presentations, summary reports and other outputs can be deposited and made freely available in this way, provided you have the legal right to do so (for more on this, see the "Copyright and open access" section of this LibGuide).

Most journals will allow only the author's own post-peer review manuscript to be deposited in the Repository (i.e. not the publisher's own copy-edited and formatted version).  There will also be an embargo period, of anywhere between six and thirty six months after initial formal publication, during which the self-archived version of your paper cannot be made available to the public. Please note that RCUK will not accept embargo periods of longer than twenty four months for the outputs of research it has funded.

While open access monographs are much less prevalent than open access journals, making your monograph available on an open access basis has benefits too. There are a number of projects underway looking at the future of open access monographs, including the Jisc-funded OAPEN-UK project.

The project has recently published its Guide to open access monograph publishing for arts, humanities and social science researchers which "aims to help researchers to understand the opportunities and challenges associated with publishing a scholarly monograph in open access".