Open access vs paywall

Open access can greatly enhance the visibility and accessibility of your work. Depending on your personal preference or mandates from funders or institutions, consider whether you wish to publish your work as an open access rather than a subscription-based/paywalled/closed access article.

‘True’ open access is typically determined by using Creative Commons (CC) or other open licences.

Check the journal’s policies for open access terms and conditions to avoid delays in submitting or publishing your paper.

Consider financial and payment implications:

  • Do you have the required funds if you select a journal that requires payment for
    open access (e.g. article processing charges – APC)?
  • Does your institution have an agreement with the publisher or journal that covers
    the costs of APCs?
  • Does your target journal offer waivers or discounts that you may be eligible for?

You may find the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) a useful resource to get an insight into journals’ APCs or filter the journals in which you can publish free of charge.

Check your funder’s or institution’s requirements regarding immediate or delayed open access, licence type and rights, i.e. must your paper be published under a CC BY licence (where credit must be given to the creator) or will they allow the publisher to take copyright? Are the rights retained by the author defined? SHERPA RoMEO is a useful online resource that details publisher and journal open access policies, with summaries of licensing options, self-archiving permissions and conditions of rights available to authors.