The IHR Blog |


Article Processing Charge (APC)

A payment by the author(s) of a scholarly article to ensure that it is immediately available on an open access basis. The payment of APCs is integral to gold open access.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organisation which makes available a suite of licences to support the sharing and re-use of knowledge and research. Its least restrictive Attribution licence (CC-BY) is often associated with open access publishing.

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

The Directory of Open Access Journals, which was developed at Lund University, lists open access journals which meet specific criteria, including an element of peer review.

Embargo period

Green open access often involves an embargo period, of varying length, during which the version of record of a particular article is only available behind a subscription wall. After the embargo period has elapsed, the author may deposit his or her article in an institutional repository, and indeed elsewhere.

Gold open access

Under gold open access, the author makes an upfront payment to a journal publisher to ensure immediate publication of his or her article on an open access basis. This payment is called an Article Processing Charge (APC), and may be met by the author’s host institution or a research funding body. The UK government and Research Councils UK (RCUK) have expressed a preference for the gold route. Gold is also sometimes used to describe immediate publication in an open access journal where APCs do not apply.

Green open access

Under green open access, an article is usually published in a subscription journal and after an embargo period (currently between six and 24 months) the author is permitted to republish it in an institutional repository (IR), and indeed elsewhere. Authors have for some time been allowed to deposit pre-print versions of articles (as submitted, before peer review has been taken into account) in IRs, while the version of record remained that behind a journal subscription wall. It is this version of record which is made available under green open access.

Half life of a journal article

The period during which half of all potential readers can be expected to access a given article.

Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)

HEFCE is the body responsible for distributing public funding to Higher Education Institutions in England.

Institutional repository

Most universities in the UK will have an institutional repository (IR), which makes available, on an open access basis, articles and other research outputs produced by their staff and students. IRs are integral to green open access.


OAPEN-UK is a pilot project investigating options for the publication of open access monographs. It is supported by Jisc and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Open access

The Budapest Open Access Initiative (2001) defined open access to research literature as follows: ‘By “open access” to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited’.

Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA)

OASPA is a membership organisation representing the interests of open access journal and book publishers.


OpenDoar is a directory of open access repositories.

Research Councils UK (RCUK)

Research Councils UK is the strategic partnership of the UK’s seven Research Councils, including the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework is a system for assessing the quality of research in UK Higher Education Institutions, and consequently levels of funding. There is no requirement under the 2014 REF for articles to have been published on an open acces basis.


SHERPA/RoMEO is a database of publishers’ policies on open access and self-archiving.

SPARC Europe

SPARC Europe is a European membership organisation which undertakes research and advocacy in the field of scholarly communication.