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Research Services

We can advise and support you on all these issues. In the unlikely event we are unable to answer your query we will direct you to someone in the University who can.

Open access definition

The University of Dundee's Core purpose is to,"transform lives, locally and globally through the creation, sharing and application of knowledge." 

How does making my research open access fit into the overall vision of the University?

Open access refers to research work, freely available online, unrestricted by payment or subscription costs with limited copyright and licensing restrictions. 

More than just making research visible to read it allows others to re-use and build upon the research so potentially anyone can benefit from this knowledge worldwide.                                                         

What is Open Access? (5 minute video)






Imagine you've just finished your creation and want to share it with the world.


You could stand on a soapbox and shout your message.


You could publish your article in a traditional journal.


A few people can read it and you no longer have control over your own work.


Or you could share your work with the world through open access and make a real impact on society.


So what is open access..?


The Berlin declaration on open access to knowledge in the sciences and humanities states that open access is free access to information and the license to copy...


That is a mouthful. Let's break it down.


Open access means the creator's place their work on the internet for public use free of charge and free of most copyright barriers.


Anyone can read it, cite it and reuse it.


There are several ways to share your work using open access.


You can publish via a publisher by following the golden or green road or you can publish it on your own using a license.


When following the golden road your creation is published via a publisher as an article in a journal or magazine.


Work shared via a publisher can cost money.


This fee is known as an article processing charge or APC for short.


The APC is to ensure your article receives the same treatment as those articles published traditionally...


while allowing publishers to compensate for what they would otherwise make with subscription costs.


Sometimes the published article can then be deposited in your institutions repository or the repository required by your discipline.


Sometimes versions of the article can be deposited into a repository for future use even after having been published in the traditional way.


This is known as the open access green road versions can be pre print or post print both authors versions or publishers version.

Depositing of one of these versions is usually allowed after an embargo period.


An embargo period is the length of time you need to wait before making a version of your article public on the Internet.


Sherpa/Romeo gives you a concise description of which version of your article can be deposited and when it can be made public.

You can openly distribute your work with a license on your own work you share yourself is free of charge.


Articles or versions thereof made public without a license can only be read and cited.


In order to use the work in education, new research, or any other form of reusing the work a license must be attached.


The most commonly used license is a Creative Commons license.


Creative Commons licenses also known as CC are made up of four building blocks.


'By', 'share-alike', 'no derivatives' and 'non-commercial use' form the foundation of a CC license.


'By' is a standard beginning.


It means you're free to reuse the work as long as you mention who made it.


'Share alike' means you can reuse the work as long as you share the new work with the same license.


'No derivatives' means nobody can copy distribute show or build upon your work unless your work stays in the original form.


'Non-commercial' means your work cannot be used for monetary gain.


These four building blocks can make six different licenses.


Every license consists of three layers; the legal mumbo-jumbo only lawyers can read.


A summary in plain language with the relevant icon for your chosen license


and a machine readable layer with extra metadata that enables search engines and other applications to find your work.


There is also the option of putting your work out for the world to see without worrying about what others do with it.


This is a CCO license and distances you from your copyright entirely putting your work in the public domain..


a fancy word for everyone can do what they like with it.


The drive for open access is increasing as government's and funders request that research done with public money is made open to the public.


Open access falls under a broader subject of open science.

Open science includes throwing open your research, its data and its impact to the public.


But why bother?


Good question! Here are a few good reasons.


By clearly indicating what people can do with your open research..


you as researcher won't have to be hassled with giving permission every time someone wants to use your work.


They can read it in the license. By sharing your work with a license...


way more people have access to it so the information can be used way more often.


By giving people, researchers, scientists and laypeople alike, the chance to see build upon and enhance your work...


you have the chance of not only educating others but also increasing the value of your research and helping make the world a better place.


Sounds a little too ideal but it is true.

Routes to open access

Green Open Access Route

  • Open access delivered by repositories achieved by self-archiving your own work in an open access repository, for example PubMed Central, Europe PMC, an Institutional Repository, such as the Discovery Research Portal
  • No immediate costs (sometimes known as free OA).  
  • Early version of work is deposited in the Discovery Research Portal, usually the Author Accepted manuscript (AAM).  
  • May be embargoed for a period of time in line with the publisher’s policy and released publicly via the Discovery Research Portal automatically once the embargo expires.  
  • Anyone can access this version of the work for free even if the published version is behind a paywall and requires a subscription.  

Gold Open Access Route

  • Open access delivered by journals which can be fee based or without fees depending on the journals' business model. The research can be accessed by anyone, anywhere, with an internet connection.  
  • A one-off payment may be charged by the publisher but could also be covered by a read and publish deal. Waivers or discounts may be available in certain circumstances. Please contact prior to submitting to the journal for advice on how to pay for open access.  
  • This allows the article to be made freely available immediately, on the publishers website (usually with a license) at no cost to the reader.  
  • The publisher’s version also known as the Final Published version can be archived in the Discovery Research Portal and set to open immediately.  

Are you meeting your open access publishing compliance requirements?

Accepted for publication? Email immediately.  

There are three strands to compliance that you need to consider when publishing:

We offer a mediated deposit service.

Send your Author accepted manuscript (AAM) and email from the publisher confirming acceptance to the journal or conference proceeding and we will create the record for you in Discovery.

We will ensure any embargoes that need to be set on the AAM are in line with the publisher and funder embargo periods. We will also ensure if you are subject to REF2021 open access policies that these have been met as well.

Contact us as soon as you have had your research accepted for publication! Our objective is to support you. 

You do the research, we do the admin!

Creative Commons Licenses

If you are publishing gold open access, or are funded by Wellcome Trust or UKRI for example, you will be required to apply a Creative Commons license to your work. Under copyright law your original research is already considered "all rights reserved" but this means that your work cannot be used or built upon without someone specifically asking you for your written permission to reuse your work. 

Creative Commons saves time and effort as it allows potential users to immediately see what they are allowed to do with your work as the license attached indicates the level of re-use.

There are six licenses available to choose from.  Please note some funders will only accept a CC-BY license being applied to a publicly funded research paper. Always check your publisher agreement to ensure the correct type of license is applied.

Creative Commons home

What are the advantages of publishing your work open access?

  • Open Access makes it easier to share and promote your work, including via social media. Your research is not trapped behind a paywall, and barriers to affordability and access are removed.
  • Open Access maximises the use of public funds spent on research. Taxpayers get value for money.
  • Open Access publishing increases your research’s visibility and impact.
  • Publishing Open Access ensures your research outputs can be considered for national research assessment exercises and means that you meet the open research expectations of the University of Dundee.
  • Open Access is a requirement of many funders such as UKRI and Wellcome.
  • It can be free! Depositing an accepted version of your article in the University Repository via the Green Open Access route costs nothing.

Open access and theses

PhD and Research Masters at the University of Dundee are required to submit one digital copy of their thesis to Discovery Research Portal.

Benefits of institutional repositories are global. Access to research worldwide is enabled regardless of the economic status of a country. This increases the potential for international collaboration between Dundee and other organisations.

In cases where it is necessary to restrict access to the full text of a thesis, an embargo which can vary in duration, can be applied following consultation with your PhD supervisor.

In the case of Ph.D. theses funded by UKRI, metadata describing the thesis should be lodged in the institution's repository as soon as possible after award and a full text version should be available within a maximum of 12 months following award. It is expected that metadata in institutional repositories will be compatible with the metadata core set recommended by the ETHOS e-thesis online service.

Will making my thesis open access interfere with my chances to publish the work as a monograph at a later stage? A useful chapter which covers this topic is, Cirasella, J., & Thistlethwaite, P. (2017). Open access and the graduate author: A dissertation anxiety manual. In K. L. Smith & K. A. Dickson (Eds.), Open access and the future of scholarly communication: Implementation (pp. 203-224). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

View theses in Discovery Research Portal (where there is a file listed under the title you will be able to access the thesis which is free to read).

Open access jargon

Things you might hear being referred to in relation to open access (OA).

Fully OA Journal
This refers to a journal that only offers publication via the Gold route. For example, PloS and eLife. To publish in a fully OA journal you may need a source of funding. 
Hybrid Journal
This refers to a journal where there are both options i.e. you can publish via Gold OA or can leave the article behind a paywall (but you still have the option to go Green).​
Transformative Journals
This refers to a subscription/ hybrid journal that is in the process of moving to a fully OA journal model. Open access content is gradually increased and income from subscriptions is offset.
Delayed Open Access
Another term for Green Open Access, in that access may be obtained but only after an embargo period.
Predatory Journals
An unfortunate part of the publishing landscape. These publishers offer what appears to be Open Access, charge a fee, but do not provide a suitable publishing platform to either promote the research or sustain openness. They may spam or solicit submissions but may not have in place credible editorial processes or be able to guarantee academic rigour.​ Further information on predatory journals, publishers and conferences.
Article Processing Charge. Some publishers charge these one off payments to authors in order to publish their work open access via the gold route.