Choosing a suitable option

Define your priorities

Do you want a wide readership? Do you want an expert impact? Do you work on a project whose funder demands effectiveness and open access?

When you are choosing a suitable option for your research article, you must consider your audience, your study and career purposes and requirements of the university or the funder. Many universities and funders around the world demand research results to be published with an open access within the limits of agreements and laws. Openness brings a scientist more merits since openly accessible scientific publications are cited more often than articles published only in subscription-based journals. The open publishing of a research promotes the visibility of the work, utility and impact and increases opportunities for co-operation. You can get good tips from colleagues, so it is a good idea to discuss the suitable publication channels with them.

Most known open publishing options for scientific articles

Gold open access (Gold OA)

The articles/books are immediately published on the journal’s/publisher’s website and these publications are accessible to everyone and free of charge to all readers. In these journals, there is a reliable peer review process and, usually, they have an author/article processing charge (APC), which covers publisher’s costs. There is a book processing charge (BPC) for books.

Be sure to allocate sufficient resources for article processing charges already during the planning phase of your research. Some funders (i.e., Academy of Finland) expects the site of research to cover the publication costs, other funders may allow inclusion of publications costs into the budget. At UEF, if it is not possible to use research funding to cover the publication costs, you can ask your department if the open access fees could be paid from the unit’s basic funding. Also, see if your organisation has special APC benefits for researchers – since many organisations have such. At UEF, there are APC benefits for UEF researchers.

Check Open APC to see fees paid for Open Access journal articles by universities and research institutions. The Open APC dataset includes APCs of both gold and hybrid journals.

Hybrid publishing

The article is published in a subscription-based journal and this single article is opened by paying extra fees (APC). In this publishing model there are charges for both the subscription and for opening an article. This is called “double dipping”, and hopefully this OA option disappears soon.

However, many organisations have so-called transformative agreements with publishers. The transformative agreements include hybrid journals, and the aim of the agreements is to transform the hybrid journals into fully open access journals when certain criteria are met. These transformative deals usually include open access publishing in the agreement’s journals without APCs for the author. All the UEF’s transformative agreements are listed on the APC benefits from publishers page.

Green open access (Green OA)

The articles are published in a subscription-based journal, but the publisher allows self-archiving of your article. Similarly with books, the book is published as a print version, but the publisher allows self-archiving of your book. The self-archived copy is available e.g. via organisational (e.g. UEF eRepository) or discipline-specific publication repository (e.g. arXiv, bioRxiv, medRxiv). Self-archiving must be agreed upon between the authors and the publisher. Often the publisher can have set restrictions related to self-archiving and these restrictions must be obeyed. There might be an embargo period before you can publish your publication on the repository. Self-archiving is free of charge for authors, so it might be a good option especially if you don’t have a budget for APC fees.

Self-archiving in practice

Many universities and other research organisations have set up their own institutional publication repositories to allow their researchers to deposit their publications for free. If you’re not sure whether your institution has a repository, check with your library.

At UEF, self-archiving will be taken care by library after you supply your publication information to UEF CRIS research database and attach the final draft version of your article to the publication form. The UEF library will take care of the rest. Read more information about self-archiving and the UEF eRepository.

You can also search in the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR) and the Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) to provide more information about the repositories throughout the world. To find a discipline-specific repository, check out this OA Directory.

If you don’t have access to an institutional or discipline-specific (arXivEurope PubMed Central, etc.) repository to self-archive your publications, you can upload them to a general/multidisciplinary open access repository, like Zenodo (OA repository created by OpenAIRE and CERN) or Preprints (MDPI, publisher of open access journals).

Zenodo in a nutshell

  • Accepts any kind of research output from all disciplines.
  • Uploads are assigned a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) to make them easily discoverable and uniquely citeable.
  • Research outputs are stored safely for longer-term preservation.

Social networking sites (e.g. ResearchGate, can be great for boosting visibility of your work but they are not OA repositories. It is a better idea to self-archive your publication to an OA repository and then link to it from social networking sites.

What to self-archive?

Depending on the publisher, different versions of the manuscript can be self-archived. Always check the publisher requirements.

  • Pre-print​ – Manuscript. The version of the article before peer-review.​ Note that UEF self-archives only final drafts and publisher’s PDF to UEF eRepository.
  • Final draft – The version that has been peer-reviewed and accepted for publishing but which does not have the final layout of the journal. The final draft is also called a post-print, pre-proof or accepted author manuscript (AAM). The term “post” in post-print refers to peer-review, not the actual printing. In the same logic, a pre-print is the version before the peer-review.​ The version with page numbers and publisher logos is no longer a final draft version.​
  • Publisher’s PDF​ – The final published version of the article with the layout of the journal.​

When to self-archive?

Research funders and organisations may require that OA must be ensured immediately or after a certain embargo period. Often the acceptable embargos defined by research funders are:

  • GREEN OA – Usually 6 months (except 12 months for social sciences and humanities)
  • GOLD OA – Immediately

Some journals require longer embargo periods. Sherpa Romeo can be used for checking journals’ OA policies and embargo periods. It is important to note the possible embargos when choosing a suitable journal for your article.

So, there might be an embargo before your article can be openly published on the repository. But in most repositories you can (and in case of UEF eRepository, you should) still report your publication immediately after publishing. The article will be fully available to others after the embargo period.

How to self-archive?

When self-archiving your publications to an Open Access repository, be sure to include the following (if allowed by the repository):

  • The name and acronym of the related project(s).
  • The grant number provided by your funder (this is usually mandatory).
  • The publication date, and details of any embargo period if applicable. Embargos are often checked by the staff working with the repository (e.g. library of the organisational repository).
  • A persistent digital object identifier (DOI) which identifies the publication and links to an authoritative version and any related outputs (data, software). DOIs are usually provided by the repository.
  • Remember to add your ORCID identifier to link this output back to you!

Plan S

Plan S is an initiative for open access publishing launched in 2018 by cOAlition S, a consortium of national research agencies and funders from 11 European countries. Plan S requires scientists and researchers who benefit from publicly funded research to publish their work in open repositories or in open access journals.

Plan S is structured around ten principles. The key principle is that from the beginning of 2021, scientific publications must be published in open access journals or platforms, or made immediately available in open access repositories without an embargo period.

The ten principles are:

  1. Authors or their institutions retain copyright to their publications. All publications must be published under an open license, preferably the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY), in order to fulfill the requirements defined by the Berlin Declaration.
  2. The funders will develop robust criteria and requirements for the services that high-quality open access journals, open access platforms, and open access repositories must provide.
  3. In cases where high-quality open access journals or platforms do not yet exist, the funders will, in a coordinated way, provide incentives to establish and support them when appropriate. Support will also be provided for open access infrastructures, where necessary.
  4. Where applicable, open access publication fees are covered by the funders or research institutions, not by individual researchers. It is acknowledged that all researchers should be able to publish their work open access.
  5. The funders support the diversity of business models for open access journals and platforms. When open access publication fees are applied, they must be commensurate with the publication services delivered and the structure of such fees must be transparent to inform the market and funders potential standardisation and capping of payments of fees.
  6. The funders encourage governments, universities, research organisations, libraries, academies, and learned societies to align their strategies, policies, and practices to ensure transparency.
  7. The above principles shall apply to all types of scholarly publications, but it is understood that the timeline to achieve open access for monographs and book chapters will be longer and requires a separate and due process.
  8. The funders do not support the ‘hybrid’ model of publishing. However, as a transitional pathway towards full open access within a clearly defined time frame, and only as part of transformative arrangements, funders may contribute to financially supporting such arrangements.
  9. The funders will monitor compliance and sanction non-compliant beneficiaries/grantees.
  10. The funders commit that when assessing research outputs during funding decisions they will value the intrinsic merit of the work and not consider the publication channel, its impact factor (or other journal metrics), or the publisher.

Further information: Plan S – Making full and immediate open access a reality

Test the Journal Checker Tool (JCT, by cOAlition S)! The JCT is a web-based tool which provides clear advice to researchers on how they can comply with their funder’s Plan S-aligned Open Access policy when seeking to publish in their chosen journal.

Recently, a set of recommendations regarding academic books – in line with Plan S principles – that all cOAlition S organisations will seek to adopt within their own remits and jurisdictions, has been formulated. See: cOAlition S statement on Open Access for academic books (2.9.2021. Plan S.)

Other types of scientific publications, such as non-peer-reviewed articles,  conference proceedings and ‘grey literature’ (i.e. informally published material not having gone through a standard publishing process, e.g. reports), are not covered by the OA obligation.

However, to ensure fuller and wider access, researchers are encouraged to also provide OA to these other types of scientific publications, where possible.


  • OA journals (Gold OA) and self-archiving via publication repositories are the best options for OA publishing.
  • Self-archiving is recommended even if you are publishing in an OA journal.
  • Plan S requires scientists and researchers who benefit from publicly funded research to publish their work in open repositories or in open access journals by 2021.

(8/2023 KH)

Move to the next page “Tools for finding open access journals and articles