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Open Access Publishing

Open Access Publishing

Open Access publishing makes research outputs (eg articles, data) accessible free of charge online and without subscription barriers, sometimes after an agreed period has elapsed since initial publication. It complements and extends the established practices and rigorous selection of publications in peer reviewed journals and elsewhere, operating in parallel with conventional publication channels. 

Most journal publishers permit the archiving (also known as self-archiving) of your final draft post-refereeing without the publisher’s type-setting, formatting, logos and pagination (also known as the post-print) in an institutional repository such as ARAN. Publishers may specify an embargo on access to the fulltext and that only the pre or post-print versions are used for self-archiving. 

There are two main routes to open access publishing, the Green and Gold routes. 

Green Open Access typically involves depositing the final manuscript version of your publication in an institutional repository such as ARAN at NUI Galway. Alternative approaches include deposit in a subject repository like PubMed Central or publication in any of more than 10,000 open access journal listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals.

Gold Open Access operates on the basis of paying an Article Processing Charge (APC) to the publisher of a subscription journal so that your article is made available without charge to the reader.

NUI Galway supports Green Open Access via ARAN which involves no costs on your part.

Read more ...

Green Open Access

  • Publish in a journal and deposit the final draft post-refereeing without the publisher’s type-setting, formatting, logos and pagination articles (also known as the post print) in an institutional repository such as ARAN (also known as self-archiving)
  • Free for users to download
  • Post print i.e. the final manuscript of the publication, after peer review and editing has occurred, but before publication.
  • A text file without the publisher’s typesetting, formatting, pagination and logos
  • An embargo may apply
  • Publishers policies adhered to
  • Link to published version provided
  • 80% journals allow this 

Gold Open Access

  • Publisher makes article freely available on publication
  • Author pays an APC article processing charge
  • Some journals are wholly open access
  • Others are ‘hybrid’  - traditional subscription journals with optional OA article processing charge for individual articles
  • APCs for open access is often an eligible cost in a grant application
  • APCs - a flat charge, varies from journal to journal, covers the entire cost of the publication process e.g. peer-reviewing, editing, publishing, maintaining and archiving, and allows immediate access to the full text versions of the research articles

Article Processing Charges (APCs) / Open Access Publishing Charges are the fees charged by publishers to make your articles available on publication for free on their platforms. This is called Gold Open Access. 


  • When raising a requisition in Agresso in relation to Article Processing Charges (APCs) or charges associated with Open Access publishing, please use the Product Code SERVE146 and GL Code 3078:

Reason for the Product Code

  • By tracking spending on open access publishing we aim to prevent double-charging of universities by publishers. This happens when authors pay Article Processing Charges (APCs) / Open Access Publishing Charges alongside their libraries’ subscriptions to the same journals.  
  • Knowledge of the University’s spend on open access publishing will help us negotiate better deals for both publishing charges and subscriptions
  • The new Product Code will help remove any confusion over how to log these charges in Agresso
  • This is part of an EUA initiative and is being rolled out across all Irish universities

Deals with publishers

The Library is negotiating publishing deals with publishers that enable our NUI Galway authors to publish Gold Open Access without payments. An important example is the deal with Elsevier. For more information please contact:

  • Hardy Schwamm, Open Scholarship Librarian, Phone: 091-493895, Email:


What are transformative agreements?

Transformative agreements shift the payments away from subscription-based reading towards open access publishing. Sometimes such agreements are also called Publish & Read deals for that reason. One advantage is that our authors do not have to pay an Open Access fee which typically is 2-3,000 Euros but publications fees are part of an overall agreement with the publisher.

Who negotiates transformative agreements?

These agreements are negotiated by IReL (based in Maynooth) with the help of a cross-institutional Steering Group. John Cox (University Librarian) chairs the Steering Group and Hardy Schwamm (Open Scholarship Librarian) is a member of the Steering Group also.

Why are they important for the Library?

Transformative agreements are part of a bigger shift in publishing towards Open Access. These agreements might replace the subscription-based models we know from the past. Part of the workflow of these agreements is that the Library needs to approve requests from NUIG authors.

For further information go to the Library website or contact Hardy Schwamm at


Plan S, an initiative of cOALition S, was launched in September 2018 with the goal of achieving full and immediate Open Access to publications. Members of cOAlition S include the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)  UKRIWellcome Trust and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. After extensive consultations Plan S will come into effect in 2021.

For more information go to the Library website or read the blogpost by Hardy Schwamm, Open Scholarship Librarian about "SFI's updated Open Access Policy - The Why and How" 

See also the following article by Peter Suber

Suber, Peter. (2021).Rights retention and open access. The European Research Council Magazine (28 October).

Increasingly scholarly articles are becoming available on an open access basis, often through institutional repositories like our own ARAN or through discipline-based repositories such as arXiv (Physical, Mathematical and Computer Sciences) or SocArXiv (Social Sciences) . The article version on these repositories will usually be the final draft post-refereeing (also known as the post-print), so the only difference to the published version is the absence of the publisher's type-setting, formatting, logos and pagination.  Several tools, services and browser plug-ins have been developed to help you find open access versions of journal articles:

DOAI (Digital Open Access Identifier) is an alternate DOI (Digital Object Identifier) resolver that takes you to a free version of the requested article, when available. To use it, replace by in any DOI link. it uses metadata from Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE).

Google Scholar – searching for an article in Google Scholar will link you to both the paywalled version of the article and openly available versions if available.  Please see our guide to configuring Google so that it will recognise you as an NUI Galway registered user and will link you to subscribed content where the library has a subscription.

Kopernio – another browser plugin from Clarivate Analytics that will link you to open access versions of articles as well as library subscriptions.  It is necessary to register (for free) to use this plugin.

Open Access Button - a plugin for Chrome or Firefox that works similarly to Unpaywall – click on the button while you are viewing a pay-walled journal article and it will search for open access versions.  If it doesn’t find one, it will give you the option to have them ask the author to make the article available open access.  You can also search directly for a known article by DOI or Citation.

OpenAIRE EXPLORE - find open access publications, includes 100+ million publications and 1+ million research data objects

Unpaywall  - a browser plugin for Chrome or Firefox, which will display a green icon when you encounter a pay-wall for a journal article if an open access version of the article is available and will link you directly to it.

More information is available on the Library website about alternative routes to scholarly journal articles