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Homepage / Helping you with Open Access costs

Helping you with Open Access costs


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It’s important to publish open access (OA) wherever possible, both to ensure compliance with University, funder, and REF policy and also to maximise the visibility and potential impact of your work. However, OA publishing can seem expensive, so Cranfield has a variety of agreements in place to help with costs. These include a new fund for industry-supported work and an expanded list of publishers with whom we have various offset agreements for OA charges. You may be able to reduce your costs if any of the following criteria are relevant to your research:

Which publisher are you submitting to?

The Library has worked with a number of publishers to negotiate pilot financing models to help pay for APC charges and have recently added MDPI to the list. So, before you submit your article for publication to these publishers, contact as we may be able to offset your charge in some way. We currently have agreements with: AAAS/Science Online, IEEE, MDPI, Royal Society of Chemistry, Sage, Springer, Taylor and Francis, and Wiley.

If you’re a member of a professional society, and submitting an article for publication in a journal owned by that society, you may be entitled to additional discounts on APC charges.

Is your research European Commission funded?

If you are publishing work from an FP7 or Horizon 2020 project, the APC is an eligible cost that you can claim during the project’s lifetime. The EC also arranged to cover APC payments for FP7 funded work published after project end (see the EC’s recent announcement on approved journals), however there is no confirmation yet that a similar scheme will be set up for Horizon 2020 work.

Is your research RCUK funded?

As you are hopefully aware, the University receives a biannual RCUK block grant to cover OA publishing charges (APCs), which is managed by the Library. For the first time, due to the volume of papers we have published, the grant has been spent. We are due to receive the next block grant in April 2018.

If you are publishing in a journal that has a compliant gold* route, as we have no further APC funding, you can meet RCUK open access requirements by choosing the green route. This is compliant as long as the embargo period is 12 months or less for STEM disciplines or 24 months or less for social science research. (If the journal doesn’t offer a gold route, the green route is acceptable if the embargo period is 6 months or less for STEM or 12 months or less for social science.)

Does your research have an industrial partner?

Cranfield has been able to secure an additional £50,000 funding for APCs, to be spent on a first come first served basis. The criteria for requesting a payment from this fund are that the corresponding author must be from Cranfield University, and the research must have significant support from an industrial partner (cash or in-kind; RCUK Industrial CASE Studentships are unlikely to be eligible). You can request a payment using our intranet form. Library staff will check that these criteria are met and that sufficient funds are available, and will advise you on alternative routes if necessary.

Is your green route compliant with REF requirements?

For the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, the green route is acceptable if the embargo period is less than 12 months for panels A and B, or 24 months for panels C and D. Remember to forward your email notification of publication acceptance to and the Library will check everything and upload the manuscript to CRIS (this must happen within three months from the date of acceptance in order to be REF-eligible).

Finally, as always, please do email and the Library will be happy to help check and advise on your options.


* ‘Gold’ open access is immediate, where you usually pay a charge and the final manuscript is available open access via the publisher platform. ‘Green’ open access is free and means self-archiving your manuscript in an open access repository. Publishers may impose an embargo, i.e. a required delay between them publishing your article, and your self-archived manuscript being made public. The length of this embargo period determines whether or not Green OA is compliant with funding bodies and the REF.

Photo CC-BY-NC-SA from Omar Bermúdez Corona on Flickr

Written By: Georgina Parsons

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