How to Make Your Research Articles Open at Westminster

*** This Blog Post has been updated in March 2023, to include the increased number of open access options available ***

The last couple of years have seen many changes in open access possibilities at the University, for Open Access week, I will give you a round up of the options that may be open to you.  Throughout the post, there are links to sources of further information.

The University has an institutional repository called WestminsterResearch.  Outputs can be added by all researchers through the Virtual Research Environment (VRE).  It aims to be a showcase of research outputs from the University, with as many as possible being made openly available, removing the cost barrier for many.

We make outputs openly available through open access in two ways, either they are published under gold open access by the publisher, usually under a Creative Commons licence.  Or, they are published in the normal way by publishers who charge their readers to access them, but we then archive an earlier version, known as the accepted author manuscript.  This is the version after any changes based on peer-review, but before it is formatted for final publication.  The green option is available for many journal articles and some book chapters.

Green Open Access

If you haven’t used the VRE to add your outputs before, there is a quick start guide available.  In order to benefit from open access simply create an output record in the VRE and attach a copy of the accepted author manuscript for journal articles and book chapters.  For journal articles, this should be done within 3 months of acceptance and attach a copy of the accepted author manuscript (AAM).  The repository team will check publisher policies, and apply any required embargo, before making the record live in WestminsterResearch.

Gold Open Access

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

Gold open access is often referred to as the ‘author pays’ model of publishing (rather than the traditional ‘reader pays’), but in actual fact there are many gold journals that do not make a charge. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a listing of reputable gold open access journals, and details whether or not they make an Article Processing Charge (APC) to the author.

Transformative / Transitional Agreements

Some publishers are working with universities and other producers of research to change the publishing model.  One way they may do this is through a transformative agreement.  The agreements we can benefit from at Westminster fall into three categories:

1. Offset deal: discounted APCs in return for the subscription the library pays to access their content.

2. Read and publish deals, which mean we can access and read their content, as well as publish through gold open access in return for a single subscription cost. Link through to see which titles are included and how to access. You do not need to apply through the University.

3. Flat fee agreements, with gold open access publishers, whereby we, as an institution, pay a fee for the years, allowing our researchers to publish in their journals without having to pay individual APCs.  We currently have one such agreement with the Public Library of Science (PLOS)

Paying for Gold Open Access to Journal Articles The University has a limited Article Processing Charge (APC) Application Fund to pay Open Access costs for journal articles. All applications are subject to the approval of the College Research Director and budget constraints, as the fund is very limited.

The Institutional APC Fund’s primary aim is to enable academic freedom to publish in the context of ensuring wide readership and impact for research. If the most appropriate place to publish is a gold, fully open access journal, then the fund will enable this.

Please email us at for help or further information.

Nina Watts
Repository and Open Access Manager


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