Open Access publishing FAQs

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Read the information below to help you make informed decisions.

Advice for authors

How does the University's Open Access Policy affect which journals / proceedings I can publish in?

The University considers the choice of where to publish research to be a decision for the staff and postgraduate research students involved in the research. Some journals or published proceedings do not offer any open access options that would comply with the normal requirements of the University of Salford or HEFCE Open Access Policies (e.g. they have embargo periods longer than 12 months of publication for articles in health, science and engineering or 24 months in the arts, humanities and social sciences). Both policies allow for exceptions where the most appropriate journal has been chosen.

If your preferred journal or conference does allow open access publication within the normal timescales, please contact the Library Open Access Team to discuss options.

Are there any journals / proceedings I can't publish in?

No, but if your preferred journal or conference does not offer an option to make your research open access in line with the normal requirements it will be necessary to explore whether the situation can be classed as an exception. Please contact the Library Open Access Team for further advice.

How can I decide whether to pay an open access fee (Article Processing Charge) or not?

Some publications are fully open access and will require an Article Processing Charge (APC) to be paid for all research outputs that are published. Other publications, often referred to as hybrid journals, offer a choice of whether to pay an APC or not. The main considerations are how soon you want your research output to become open access, and what the cost of the APC will be.

If you are publishing an output from funded research, the funders may require you to publish it open access.

Will publishing open access damage my academic reputation?

Open access publishing is already a requirement for RCUK-funded research so much of the UK’s leading research is already open access. Some people suggest that open access publishing is less prestigious than ‘traditional’ publishing, while others argue that this is generally because open access journals are newer and therefore have had less time to establish their reputation. Some studies have also found links between open access publishing and increased citations (more detailed information is available at which could contribute to a stronger academic reputation.

As with all decisions about journal choice, it is best to take into account a range of factors, including journal metrics where these are available and the opinions of your colleagues in the field. The University’s Publication Guide can help you with these choices.

How can I tell if an open access journal is reputable?

Alongside the many genuine and reputable open access titles, a few titles exist which do not apply rigorous academic quality standards (e.g. through effective peer review) and which will publish most or all of the submissions they received regardless of quality. Publishing in one of these titles, even if your submission is of high quality itself, may detract from your academic reputation.

Although there is no single method for identifying these journals, the following approaches may give an indication:

  • Talk to colleagues in your field (such as your supervisor if you are a postgraduate research student) and see whether they know the journal
  • Read some of the previous articles in the journal, and see whether they are of a reasonable quality
  • Check whether the journal has an ISSN at (having an ISSN is not a guarantee of quality, but not having one / using a false one should raise concerns)
  • Check whether the journal is listed on databases such as ScopusWeb of Science or the Directory of Open Access Journals – although several reputable journals, especially in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, are not included in these databases

Be particularly cautious if the journal approaches you and suggests that you submit, or if you are given assurances that your paper is highly likely to be accepted – most reputable journals are competitive to be accepted into.

Who has to pay open access fees (Article Processing Charges)?

If an author decides to publish open access they are responsible for ensuring that they have the money to pay the Article Processing Charge (APC).

Many research funders will cover the costs of APCs, although some specifically preclude the payment of APCs from research grants.

Although RCUK does not allow APCs to be paid from research grants, it has allocated a block grant to the University to allow payment of APCs for RCUK-funded research outputs. The University has also made funding available to pay APCs - find out more on our Open Access funding web page.

Will the University pay open access fees (Article Processing Charges) on my behalf?

The University has some funding available to pay Article Processing Charges (APCs) on behalf of staff and postgraduate research students. You can apply for this when your research output is accepted for publication - find out more on our Funding web page.