There are two aspects to making a work OA that are discussed here:
1. Removing price barriers.
2. Removing licensing restrictions (permission barriers).
The simplest way to do this is to deposit a copy of the work in an Open Access repository like the Middlesex University Research Repository (see our 'how-to' video for step-by-step instructions). This is called Green Open Access. If you choose Green Open Access, then you should also visit Sherpa RoMEO to find out more about what your publisher allows and read below about which version to deposit.
The Middlesex University Research Repository deposit guide also explains that staff will check versions for you.
Please note that whichever route to OA you take, the Middlesex University Open Access Publications policy and the HEFCE Post-2014 REF requirements will require you to create a record describing your output in the Research Repository.
The other main route to Open Access is Gold Open Access. This means your publisher makes your work Open Access on your behalf. This may or may not involve the payment of a fee, often known as an Article Processing Charge (APC).
There are journals which are entirely Open Access, and those which are hybrid journals, offering authors OA for their individual articles. Also see our guide for authors on How do I find Open Access journals?
Whether you choose Gold or Green Open Access, you may have to be careful of embargo periods, which your publisher will expect you to adhere to (eg the post-print can be made Open Access six months after publication) and which the Middlesex University Research Repository is designed to handle for you. Embargo periods apply more often to Green OA and you may also find that your funder has expectations around embargo periods. See our guides to complying with the RCUK Open Access policy and the Horizon 2020 Open Access requirement, also refer to the SHERPA/JULIET website which provides information on funders’ open access policies.
When you deposit a Green Open Access work, be prepared to describe any licensing restrictions that apply to it. These will often be explained on your publisher’s website. They will also be on documents signed by lead authors.
When choosing Gold Open Access, you need to be aware of the licenses involved. These might be imposed by your publisher, and you might need to balance your publisher’s rights with your funders’ expectations. See our guide to complying with the RCUK Open Access policy, the Horizon 2020 Open Access requirement, and also the SHERPA/JULIET website which gives information on funders’ open access policies.
Note that funder policies are mapped to journal publishers’ policies through other Sherpa tools. In particular, the SHERPA/FACT site can be used to check if a journal complies with certain funders’ requirements, whilst SHERPA/RoMEO summarises and links to publishers copyright and self-archiving policies.