What is Gold Open Access?
As described in our guide to the basics of Open Access, Gold Open Access is one way of making published outputs - like journal articles and book chapters - open access. It involves the publisher themselves making the output freely available on their own website under an open licence, allowing people to download, read and reuse the content of the published version.
Gold Open Access can be called different things by different publishers, and sometimes even a single publisher will have different ways of referring to it. For example, the publisher Springer have a set of journals that contain exclusively Gold Open Access content and this set of journals is called "SpringerOpen". In comparison, Springer also have many journals that are traditional subscription journals, but in which you can choose to make your article Gold Open Access instead - Springer refer to this method as "Springer Open Choice".
A variety of business models currently exist to facilitate Gold Open Access. In most cases, the publisher requires the author to pay a fee, which allows the publisher to make money despite not being able to sell the content to readers as they would for traditionally-published outputs. For journal articles, this fee is called an "Article Processing Charge" (APC). The costs of Gold Open Access can be very high and it is not unusual for an APC to cost upwards of £1,500. The costs of Gold Open Access for longer outputs (like book chapters or even entire monographs) can be significantly more expensive.
What support is available?
1. Check the library's offset deals
RGU library is part of several consortia that negotiate with publishers. These consortia have been able to obtain a small number of publisher deals that help to reduce the costs of Gold Open Access. A full list of the deals available to RGU authors appears at the end of this guide.
If there is no offset deal available, or if it is not a complete waiver and there is still a reduced fee to pay, move on to the next step.
2. Check with your funder
Some funders may include money to help pay for Gold Open Access when they award a research grant. Other funders - like several of the charities that form part of the Charity Open Access Fund (COAF) - may be willing to provide additional money for Gold Open Access on an individual basis. In either case, it is worth double-checking the terms and conditions of your grant to see whether your funder may be able to help you. Further information on the support offered by certain funding bodies is available in our guide on funder requirements for Open Access.
If your funder is unable to help, or if they are unable to cover the entire fee, move on to the next step.
3. Check with your department
Some Schools at RGU may be willing to contribute a small amount of money to help cover the costs of Gold Open Access, depending on departmental budgets and the amount involved. You should speak directly with your line manager or Head of School to discuss this.
If your department is unable to help, or if they are unable to cover the entire fee, move on to the next step.
4. Consider Green Open Access instead
In most cases, Gold Open Access is not essential. It is possible to make your work openly available via Green Open Access instead, which costs you nothing and can often still ensure that your output complies with funder requirements. More information on how the Green route works is available in our guide on the basics of Open Access, and more information on funder requirements for Green Open Access is available in our Funder and REF Requirements for Open Access guide.
If you still want to publish through the Gold route, or if using the Green route for the specific journal/publisher you have in mind would not be compliant with your funder's requirements, then you will either need to choose a different journal/publisher, or you will need to find a way of paying for Gold Open Access yourself.
Library offset deals
Brill have agreed to provide a complete waiver on all APCs. This deal is valid from 1st January 2020 until 31st December 2020.
This deal applies to all Brill journals. A full list of the titles in which this deal can be used is available from the Brill website.
Royal Society of Chemistry
The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) have agreed to provide a complete waiver on a limited number of APCs and a discount of 15% on all other APCs. This deal is valid from 1st January 2020 until 31st December 2021. The complete waiver is offered for the first three articles accepted in each year.
This deal applies only to the RSC's hybrid journals, not to fully open access journals. A full list of the titles in which this deal can be used is available from the RSC website.
The publisher will automatically inform the corresponding author if a complete waiver or discount is available during the publication process, based on the corresponding author's affiliation with RGU.
SAGE - SAGE Choice
SAGE have agreed that all APCs will cost only £200. This deal is valid from 1st January 2019 until 31st December 2021.
This deal applies only to SAGE's hybrid journals ("SAGE Choice"), not to fully open access journals. A full list of the titles in which this deal can be used is available from the SAGE website.
In order to use the deal, you must be the corresponding author. When the publisher contacts you to accept your submission for publication, they will alert you if a SAGE Choice option is available for the journal in question. You will receive another alert with the "Contributor's Agreement Form" and you should specifically request SAGE Choice via an e-mail to the publisher using the address provided in the alert. You will then be sent an "Open Access Contributor Form" instead. You should then contact the publications team so that we can provide you with the code that you need to use in the form.
SAGE - SAGE Pure Gold
SAGE have agreed to provide a 20% discount on all APCs. This deal is valid from 1st January 2019 until 31st December 2021.
This deal applies only to SAGE's fully open access journals ("SAGE Pure Gold"), not to hybrid journals. A full list of the titles in which this deal can be used is available from the SAGE website.
In order to use the deal, you should contact the publications team at firstname.lastname@example.org when you receive the "Open Access Contributor Form" from the publisher, so that we can provide you with the right code to use on the form.
The Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics (SCOAP3) have a range of deals with various specific journals, in which there is a complete waiver on all APCs. This deal is valid until 31st December 2022.
This deal applies only to high-energy physics articles published in certain journals, a list of which is available from the SCOAP3 website.
Springer have agreed to offer a complete waiver on all APCs. This deal is valid for articles accepted from 1st January 2019 until 31st December 2021.
This deal applies only to Springer's hybrid journals ("Springer Open Choice"), not to fully open access journals. A full list of the titles in which this deal can be used is available from the Springer website. There is a national limit on the number of articles that can be published using this offset deal. Although we do not expect it to be a problem, we will update this guide to notify researchers if we become unable to continue using the deal.
Wiley have made an agreement with the Jisc consortium, through which a certain amount of UK subscription spend is available to cover any APC on a first-come, first-served basis. This deal is valid until 31st December 2023.
This deal applies to both Wiley's hybrid ("OnlineOpen") and fully open access ("Wiley Open Access") journals. A full list of the titles available from Wiley are available from the Wiley website - just click on the price list links to see the list of journal names. The money available across the UK to cover Wiley APCs is limited, so we will update this guide to notify researchers if we become unable to continue using the deal at any point.
In order to use the deal, simply select either a fully open access journal, or choose the "OnlineOpen" option when publishing in a subscription journal. Tell Wiley that your institution will cover the costs and make sure that you identify yourself as affiliated with Robert Gordon University. We will then receive an authorisation request and will be in touch to confirm that with you.