What is Open Access?

Open access makes scholarly research freely available online. The University’s policy is that you continue to have control and the ability to choose where to publish.

Why Open Access?

The move towards Open Access is motivated by two things; increasing access to published research and the new policies established by HEFCE and other funders, including RCUK and The Wellcome Trust.

This service is designed to help you comply with your funders' Open Access policies and ensure your work is eligible for the REF.

Benefits of Open Access

Open Access removes restrictions to view and read a work and allows reuse, redistribution and modification of the work with attribution.

For the author and researcher, Open Access enables them to raise the visibility and profile of their research and to increase its impact.

It also increases access to research, widening the spread of knowledge and ideas.

Open Access publishing

There are two main models for Open Access; self-archiving versus pay to publish.

1. Self-archiving (Green Open Access)

The deposit of peer-reviewed manuscripts in an Open Access repository. Publishers often stipulate a fixed period of time before the article can be made freely available (an embargo).

What does self-archiving mean for you?

  • An increase in the availability and visibility of your work
  • It removes the need to pay Open Access charges

The University prefers the self-archiving model. Find out more about uploading your manuscript.


The embargo is a fixed period of time a publisher might establish to delay the Open Access publication of a manuscript. These embargo periods may differ in length from 6 - 36 months and vary in subject fields. This will affect when your manuscript will be able to be viewed and accessed. We can help you find out how a publisher’s embargo might affect you.

2. Pay to publish (Gold Open Access)

Free access to the final published versions of articles, immediately on publication. The publisher requires an Article Processing Charge which includes Open Access charges.

What does this mean for you?
  • Provides immediate access to journals as soon as they are published
  • Meets the requirement of certain funders.

The University and funders may help in the payment of this. Find out more.

Open Access at the University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge has an Open Access policy and Open Access Project Board , who are responsible for responding to HEFCE and funder Open Access policy changes and establishing this service.