Open Access

Help With Payments for Gold Open Access

Find out more about what help is available to offset the costs of Gold Open Access


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?

Researchers at RGU have several options for finding help with paying the costs of Gold Open Access. The university has received a small block grant from UKRI, which can be used to pay for Gold Open Access for articles that acknowledge UKRI funding. However, this is not a large amount of money and there are no other centralised funds for this purpose. We therefore suggest that researchers work down the following list when considering whether to use the Gold route:

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 selection of publisher deals that help to reduce the costs of Gold Open Access. A full list of the deals available to RGU authors appears later in this guide.

If your journal of preference is not covered by any of the available offset deals, or if the relevant offset deal provides only a partial reduction of costs rather than a complete waiver, move on to the next step.

2. Check whether you are eligible to publish on Open Research Europe

The European Commission have introduced a new publishing platform called Open Research Europe, specifically for research outputs that acknowledge funding from Horizon 2020 or Horizon Europe. The platform aims to provide beneficiaries of this funding with an easy-to-use, high-quality and peer-reviewed venue for the publication of their results, in a way that is compliant with the European Commission's requirements for Open Access. Publishing open access on Open Research Europe is free to authors. Full details of how to use the platform are available on the Open Research Europe website.

If your article does not acknowledge funding from Horizon 2020 or Horizon Europe, or if you would prefer not to publish on Open Research Europe, move on to the next step.

3. Check whether you are eligible to request use of the UKRI block grant

If the article in question acknowledges funding from one of the UKRI research councils, then you may be able to use money from RGU's UKRI block grant to pay for Gold Open Access. Full details of the block grant and how to apply for it appear later in this guide.

If your article does not acknowledge UKRI funding, or if you are unable to make use of the block grant for some other reason, move on to the next step.

4. 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 medical research charities (formerly 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.

5. 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.

6. Consider Green Open Access instead

In most cases, Gold Open Access is not essential. It is usually 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

The following deals are available to researchers at RGU as a result of negotiations by various consortia on behalf of the university library. If you have any questions about the offset deals, please get in touch with the publications team at publications@rgu.ac.uk.

BMJ

BMJ have agreed to provide a complete waiver on all APCs for research articles associated with certain funders. This includes articles funded by: Blood Cancer UK; the British Heart Foundation; Cancer Research UK; Parkinson's UK; any of the UKRI research councils; Versus Arthritis; the Wellcome Trust. This deal is valid from 1st January 2021 until 31st December 2021.

This deal applies only to certain BMJ journals. A full list of the titles involved is available from the BMJ website - select "Robert Gordon University" from the drop-down menu under "Find out if you are entitled to institutional funding"; this will open an information box that features a list of journals covered by the deal for RGU authors.

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.

Brill

Brill have agreed to provide a complete waiver on all APCs for research articles. This deal is valid from 1st January 2021 until 31st December 2022.

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.

During the publication process, the publisher will automatically ask corresponding authors to self-identify as being eligible for this offer. RGU authors should indicate that they are eligible. After this, the article will be processed as Gold Open Access.

Cambridge University Press

Cambridge University Press (CUP) have agreed to provide a complete waiver on all APCs for certain article types. This includes research articles, review articles, rapid communications, brief reports and case reports. This deal is valid from 1st January 2021 until 31st December 2024.

This deal applies to the majority of CUP journals, both fully open access (Gold OA) and hybrid open access. A full list of the titles in which this deal can be used is available from the CUP website.

During the publication process, RGU authors should use their institutional address and e-mail address, so that the publisher can identify them as being eligible for the deal. After acceptance, you will then be asked to complete an OA publishing agreement - when choosing the licence, we recommend that you select CC BY.

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 to offer a complete waiver on all APCs for articles accepted in SAGE hybrid ("SAGE Choice") journals. This deal is valid from 1st January 2020 until 31st December 2022.

This deal applies only to SAGE's hybrid ("SAGE Choice") journals, 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 this deal, the corresponding author must be clearly affiliated with RGU and use their institutional e-mail address for their contact details. SAGE should then automatically detect that the corresponding author is associated with RGU and will inform all authors that they have the right to publish the article open access with no additional cost. The authors must then confirm with the publisher within 14 days that they want to publish open access through this deal and specify which licence should be used. RGU recommends that the authors select a Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC BY).

SAGE - SAGE Pure Gold

SAGE have agreed to offer a 20% discount on all APCs for articles submitted to SAGE fully open access ("SAGE Pure Gold") journals. This deal is valid from 1st January 2020 until 31st December 2022.

This deal applies only to SAGE's fully open access ("SAGE Pure Gold") journals, 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 this deal, the corresponding author must be clearly affiliated with RGU and use their institutional e-mail address for their contact details. Additionally, the corresponding author must use a special discount code on the RightsLink author portal or, for journals where the RightsLink author portal is not used, the author must send the special discount code by e-mail to the publisher. Please contact the Publications Team to request the code.

SCOAP3

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

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

***DEAL UPDATE*** From 1st January 2021 until further notice, the national fund can be used for any "Research" or "Review" article, not just those that acknowledge certain funding. For full details, see the deal information below.

Wiley have made an agreement with the Jisc consortium, whereby a national fund for supporting Gold Open Access has been drawn from UK library subscriptions to Wiley journals. This fund has been split across each year of the deal, which is valid from 1st January 2020 until 31st December 2023. The fund can be used by RGU authors in the following ways:

  • For the first part of each year of the deal, the fund can be used to entirely cover the APC for any "Research" or "Review" article.

    In order to make use of this offer, the RGU author must be the corresponding author for the article. The article must then either be submitted to a fully open access ("Wiley Open Access") journal, or the corresponding author must choose "OnlineOpen" when their article is accepted in a hybrid ("OnlineOpen") journal. The corresponding author must also inform Wiley that RGU will cover the costs. The Publications Team at RGU will then eventually receive an authorisation request from Wiley to confirm the use of this offer.

  • If the allocation for any given year is getting low, then Wiley will change the deal such that the fund will still be used to entirely cover the APC for certain articles, but not others. In order to be eligible for the deal under these circumstances, an article must be associated with funding from any of the following: Blood Cancer UK, the British Hearth Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Parkinson's UK, one of the UKRI research councils, Versus Arthritis or the Wellcome Trust.

    In order to make use of this part of the offer, just follow the same instructions as above, ensuring that you acknowledge funding from one of the organisations listed here. Wiley should automatically detect that the article is eligible for the deal and process it accordingly.

    If the allocation for that year runs out entirely, then funding will cease to be available even for these articles. We will update this guide as soon as Wiley inform us that this situation has occurred, so you should always double-check this webpage for the latest information before choosing to publish open access with Wiley.

  • At the point when use of the national fund is restricted to certain funded articles, it will be possible for authors of other articles to claim a 25% discount on the APC, should they still wish to publish open access with Wiley.

    In order to make use of this part of the offer, the RGU author must be the corresponding author for the article. For articles submitted to fully open access journals, the corresponding author must select "UK/Jisc authors (25% discount)" in the "Institutional Discount" section of the payment form. For articles accepted in hybrid journals, the corresponding author must use a special discount code in the "Additional Discount Promo Code (optional)" box of the payment form - please contact the Publications Team to request the code.

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.


UKRI Block Grant

RGU holds a small block grant from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to help cover the costs associated with Open Access. There is not a lot of money available and so RGU must apply discretion when deciding whether or not to allocate use of the block grant for any given article. In general, the fund will be used only where payment for Gold Open Access is necessary in order to comply with UKRI requirements for Open Access (detailed in a separate guide). The block grant will not be used to pay for other publication costs, such as page or colour charges.

RGU cannot guarantee use of the block grant for all articles that acknowledge UKRI funding. As already mentioned, RGU has not been awarded a large amount of money for the block grant. Moreover, publishing through Gold Open Access is not always necessary in order to comply with UKRI requirements. Researchers are strongly encouraged to contact the Publications Team prior to submission in order to discuss their options for ensuring compliance.

The university will consider using the UKRI block grant to pay for Gold Open Access when all of the following conditions are true:

  • The article has one or more authors affiliated with RGU.
  • The article acknowledges funding from a UKRI research council (especially when that funding was awarded to an RGU researcher).
  • There is sufficient money remaining in RGU's block grant fund.
  • Paying for Gold Open Access is either the only method for ensuring that the article is compliant in the preferred journal, or the costs for Gold Open Access in the preferred journal are relatively small.

Eligibility

The following four scenarios describe what happens under specific circumstances - eligibility to use the block grant is affected by whether or not the acknowledged funding was received by RGU, and also on whether or not the article's corresponding author is from RGU. Our researcher guides offer more information about the definitions of Green and Gold Open Access, UKRI requirements for Open Access and the list of available offset agreements for RGU authors.

Scenario 1: Funding received by RGU and RGU-affiliated corresponding author

It is the responsibility of the grant-holding author to ensure that the article is compliant with UKRI requirements. RGU authors should contact the Publications Team prior to submission with information about their preferred journals. The Publications Team will be able to advise on whether the preferred journals offer a compliant policy for Green Open Access and also whether they are affected by any of RGU's offset agreements, which can help to mitigate the cost of Gold Open Access.

RGU prefers to rely on Green Open Access for compliance where possible. Where compliant Green Open Access is not an option or where the cost of Gold Open Access is sufficiently small, RGU will consider paying for Gold Open Access from the UKRI block grant. The RGU author should request use of the block grant via the Publications Team (see workflow below). Please note that payment for Gold Open Access is not guaranteed. When RGU is unable to pay for Gold Open Access, the author may be expected to consider alternative journals in order to achieve compliance.

Scenario 2: Funding received by RGU and non-RGU corresponding author

It is the responsibility of the grant-holding author to ensure that the article is compliant with UKRI requirements. RGU authors should ensure that the non-RGU corresponding author is aware of the need for compliance as early as possible in the publication process. RGU authors are welcome to contact the Publications Team prior to submission with information about their preferred journals. The Publications Team will be able to advise on whether the preferred journals offer a compliant policy for Green Open Access.

RGU prefers to rely on Green Open Access for compliance where possible. Where compliant Green Open Access is not an option or where the cost of Gold Open Access is sufficiently small, RGU will consider offering to pay for Gold Open Access from the UKRI block grant. The RGU author should request use of the block grant via the Publications Team (see workflow below). Please note that payment for Gold Open Access is not guaranteed and it may be necessary for the corresponding author to request funds to cover payment for Gold Open Access from their own institution instead. Where neither RGU nor the corresponding institution are able to pay for Gold Open Access, the authors may be expected to consider alternative journals in order to achieve compliance.

Scenario 3: Non-RGU funding and RGU-affiliated corresponding author

It is the responsibility of the grant-holding author to ensure that the article is compliant with UKRI requirements. RGU authors should expect to help their co-authors achieve compliance with their funders' requirements for Open Access. RGU authors are welcome to contact the Publications Team prior to submission with information about their preferred journals. The Publications Team will be able to advise on whether the preferred journals offer a compliant policy for Green Open Access and also whether they are affected by any of RGU's offset agreements to mitigate the cost of Gold Open Access.

RGU prefers to rely on Green Open Access for compliance where possible. Where compliant Green Open Access is not an option or where the cost of Gold Open Access is sufficiently small, RGU will consider paying for Gold Open Access from the UKRI block grant. The RGU author should request use of the block grant via the Publications Team (see workflow below). Please note that payment for Gold Open Access is not guaranteed and it may be necessary for the grant-holding author to request funds to cover payment for Gold Open Access from their own institution instead. Where neither RGU nor the grant-holding institution are able to pay for Gold Open Access, the authors may need to consider alternative journals in order to achieve compliance.

Scenario 4: Non-RGU funding and non-RGU corresponding author

It is the responsibility of the grant-holding author to ensure that the article is compliant with UKRI requirements. RGU would not expect to be asked to pay for Gold Open Access in these circumstances. In addition, the article would not be covered by any of RGU's offset agreements for Gold Open Access. However, RGU authors are still welcome to contact the Publications Team with any general queries about their preferred journals.


How to Apply

If you decide to apply for use of the block grant, the following workflow comes into effect:

  1. The RGU author contacts the Publications Team prior to submission. The author should provide the following details:
    • The title(s) of the preferred journal(s).
    • The affiliation of the corresponding author.
    • The name of the funder(s) and the funder award reference number(s).
    • The name of the grant-holding institution.

  2. For each preferred journal, the Publications Team will investigate whether it has a compliant policy for Green Open Access, whether it is covered by one of RGU's offset deals (if the corresponding author is affiliated with RGU) and what the expected cost of Gold Open Access would be.

  3. The Publications Team then consult with the Head of Research Strategy and Policy, who is responsible for managing the fund, to determine whether RGU is willing and able to pay for Gold Open Access using the UKRI block grant.

  4. The Publications Team reply to the RGU author to confirm whether or not RGU is willing and able to pay for Gold Open Access.

  5. If RGU is willing and able to pay, the corresponding author goes through the publication process as normal, choosing Gold Open Access where it is optional or simply submitting to an entirely Gold Open Access journal. When selecting a publication licence, the corresponding author should choose CC BY. When providing details for payment, the invoice should be sent to:

    Head of Research Strategy and Policy
    Garthdee House
    Robert Gordon University
    Garthdee Road
    Aberdeen
    AB10 7QB


    When the invoice is received, it will be paid from the UKRI block grant. As usual, the RGU author should contact the Publications Team after acceptance, so that the article can be added to Worktribe and OpenAIR.

  6. If RGU is unable or not willing to pay, the Publications Team may provide advice on other potential journals that offer a route to compliance. It is then up to the authors to decide where to publish. Regardless of which journal is chosen, the RGU author should contact the Publications Team after acceptance, so that the article can be added to Worktribe and OpenAIR as usual.