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Which version of a work can be openly accessible?

Publishers have different policies on the versions of papers they will allow you to upload into a Univeristy repository, such as Pure, and make openly accessible. If the work will be, or has been, published by a traditional publisher you may have transferred your copyright as part of the publication agreement.

Often the Submitted Version or Accepted Version of a publication (see below) is permitted to be open and uploaded into an institutional repository.

It is important to understand these terms as they often define the rights/permissions you have as an author.

  • The Submitted version is the Preprint of the manuscript before peer review. This is the author's version of the article that is sent to a journal for consideration.
  • The Accepted version is the Post-print of the manuscript after peer-review. This is the author's version of an article that has been amended in order to reflect any revisions in the publication process.
  • The Published version: the final version, or Version of Record, as it appears in the journal.

Authors usually assign their copyright to publishers when they negotiate contracts. The SHERPA/RoMEO database provides a guide to publisher’s copyright policies and the deposit of journal articles on the web and in OA repositories. 

See the Author Rights page for further information.

The Accepted version and Publisher embargoes

If you have published in a subscription journal you have probably transferred copyright to the publisher. However, you will still be able to deposit the Submitted version or the Accepted version of your paper in Pure. 

Publishers generally allow the Accepted version of an article to be placed in a University repository after an embargo period.

Here are two publishers that provide easily accessible embargo information for their journals:

The article record in Pure has the facility to hide the PDF of the Accepted version until the Journal's embargo period has lapsed.

It is helpful to know the copyright status of your work before submitting, or importing, it into Pure, but the Scholarly Publications team can assist in determining the copyright status of your work and complying with publishers’ copyright restrictions.

OA models

There are three current approaches to Open Access publishing, known as  'Green', ‘Gold' and 'Hybrid' models. 

Green modelGreen OA allows authors to self-archive a version of their article for free public use. This is the model supported by the University's Research Repository (Pure) and other institutional and/or subject repositories where accepted authors’ manuscripts or other pre-publication versions (pre-prints, post-prints, or the ‘Authors’ version) are uploaded at no cost to the author or reader.  

Gold model: Under this model an 'Article Processing Charge' is paid by the author, the author’s institution or research funder so that the resulting paper can be made freely and openly available without the requirement for the reader to pay for access, and without the restriction of an embargo period. The author/s also retain copyright over their work which can be shared and re-used under a Creative Commons licence. Gold Open Access journals make every paper freely accessible and the published papers can also generally be deposited in institutional repositories. Biomed Central journals exemplify this model.

Hybrid: In this model only some of a journal's content is openly accessible. These are journals that have a mix of content where some authors have paid to make their papers open access, but other papers are published under a traditional subscription model where payment is made by subscribers, such as the University Library. For example, under Springer's Open Choice and the Taylor & Francis Open Select options, authors can pay to have their article made freely accessible online via the publisher's website as well as being included in the print and online versions of the journal that is available to subscribers. Policies vary from publisher to publisher.


cover artPLoS, SPARC and OASPA have collaborated to create a guide that identifies the core components of OA and how they are implemented across the spectrum between “Open Access” and “Closed Access”. 

The guide provides an easily understandable, comprehensive, and quantifiable resource to help authors make informed decisions on where to publish based on publisher policies.

The guide is available in different languages.

Get your copy

Copyright and Open Access

Copyright is an important component of Open Access.  OA journals allow authors to retain copyright, with or without a fee depending on the OA model. Copyright of a scholarly work published in a subscription only journal is signed over to the publisher by the author in the publishing contract.

If authors are familiar with their publishing contracts they will know the potential  'openness' of their work. See the Author Rights page to further understand the author's position and the available copyright and publishing options.

Most publishers will allow some version of a published article to be made openly accessible. Depending on the publisher's policy they will often allow the Submitted version (or pre-print) or Accepted version (or post-print) of a publication to be uploaded into an institutional repository.  The definitions of these terms are found above.