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Open Access @ UCC: Routes to open access

Open access is a broad international movement that seeks to grant free and open online access to academic information, such as publications and data.

Routes to Open Access

There are three main routes through which authors make their works Open Access:

1. Publish in a subscription (or hybrid) journal and self-archive the author's accepted manuscript (AAM) in an Open Access repository such as CORA: UCC's Institutional Repository (No cost to authors)

Many journals apply a 6-24 month embargo with this 'Green' route to open access. In order for authors to retain their rights to share the AAM with a CC BY licence without any embargo, many funders request that grant holders include the following “Rights Retention” statement, on all manuscript submissions to publishers:

‘This publication has emanated from research [conducted with the financial support of/supported in part by a grant from] SFI/IRC/Horizon Europe, Grant number [ ]. For the purpose of Open Access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission’.

Include this “Rights Retention” text upon submission in either the article submission letter to the publisher or the acknowledgements section.

Find out how to archive your publications in CORA here:

2. Publish in a fully Open Access journal

A list of reputable Open Access journals can be found in the DOAJ Directory of Open Access Journals.

Some journals charge authors articles processing charges (APCs) to cover Open Access publishing costs.  Many funders will allow researchers to use a proportion of their grant award to cover these costs in fully Open Access journals or transformative journals, but some exclusions relate to hybrid journals. . Hybrid journals are subscription journals which allow individual articles to be published Open Access upon payment of an APC.  

3. Publish in a journal covered by UCC Library's Open Access publishing 'transformative' agreements (No cost to authors)

IReL provides details of open access agreements with publishers, which typically allow corresponding authors from eligible institutions, including University College Cork, to publish their articles open access immediately on publication.

Under these 'transformative' OA agreements Open Access publishing costs are fully covered where the corresponding author is affiliated with UCC, subject to the terms and conditions of each specific agreement, so there is no direct cost to authors.

You can find out how UCC authors can avail of these agreements here:

Green Open Access

CORA is University College Cork's online, open access institutional repository, established by UCC Library to collect, store and disseminate the digital research output of the UCC scholarly community. CORA gives you free open access to University College Cork's scholarly and scientific research publications and theses.

The Library supports Green Open Access publishing via CORA.

This Green route involves no costs to researchers and enables you to deposit the final manuscript version of your papers in the CORA repository, where they will be published open access.

Gold Open Access

There are now many open access journals and platforms where researchers can make their articles openly accessible at the point of publication.

Normally a researcher submits an article to a publisher, which then undergoes the traditional peer review process and upon acceptance of the article, the publisher makes the article freely available at the point of publication.

The cost of publication however is usually covered by a one-off fee (article processing charge / APC) paid by the author. The average cost of an APC is approx. €2,000 per paper. 

UCC corresponding authors have access to some funded APCs though the IReL negotiated transformative agreements with publishers.

Some gold open access journals do not levy a fee directly on authors, but instead publishing costs are sourced through other means e.g. funding agencies, institutions and professional associations (e.g. Open Library of Humanities). This is sometimes called platinum or diamond open access.

Some journals are fully open access, others are hybrid i.e. traditional subscription journals with an optional OA article processing charge for individual article.

Which creative commons open access licence should I choose?

Creative Commons (CC) licenses do not replace copyright. By adopting CC licenses authors allow others to use their published work more flexibly. We recommend that you first check if your funding body requires or prefers a specific license.

The most common CC licenses are:

CC BY logo
CC BY: This license lets others distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.

CC BY-NC logo
CC BY-NC: This license lets others remix, adapt, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.

CC BY NC-ND logo
CC BY-NC-ND: This license is the most restrictive of the six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.


For more information on the full range of CC licensing options, and advice on choosing the right license for your research, see the CC license choosing tool.