Guidance on Open Access publishing

Here we give some brief guidance on open access publishing but please see the cOAlition S website if you need more detail. 

There are three main routes to open access publishing:
  1. The easiest and preferred route is to publish your work in Open Access (OA) journals. Often this means you have to pay Article Processing Charges (APC) which may not always be feasible, however there are some journals where you can publish OA for free (e.g., Application papers in Methods in Ecology and Evolution).  
  2. You submit to a journal in which your paper is behind a paywall but you retain the right to share a version of your manuscript via the Rights Retention Strategy (see below).
  3. Transformative agreements between your funder/institution and a journal. You can use the journal checker to check this whether this is in place for a particular journal/funder/institution.
Details on Route 2:

See here for a brief workflow summary or read below for details. 

Submitted papers go through the following stages:

  1. Submitted manuscript i.e. before peer-review – e.g. a “pre-print”
  2. Author accepted manuscript (AAM) i.e. after peer review but before the journal has applied any type setting
  3. The version of record (VoR) i.e. the paper that is in the journal

The Rights Retention Strategy (RSS) maintains that the AAM version (stage 2) is the intellectual creation of the author. To assert this ownership you apply a Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC BY) to the work.

The submission to the journal should make it clear that any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission is already licenced CC BY (or by exception CC BY ND).  This can be achieved by adding the following language to an article submission: 

“This research was funded, in whole or in part by the [cOAlition S Organisation name] [Grant number]. For the purpose of Open Access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.” 

Check individual funder’s instructions for details. Then on publication, make the AAM open access in a repository (e.g. BioRxiv, arXiv, zenodo etc)

Contact your funder (or library) in case of disagreement with, or obfuscation, by the publisher.

See for more details.