Studying and Student life

Open Access (OA) publishing

What is Open Access

Open Access is free, unrestricted access on the Internet to scholarly publications. They are free of most copyright and licensing restrictions in order to read, download, copy and disseminate a publication. However, the author remains the owner and there is a strict condition that the author must always be credited. Moreover, no permission is granted to change the publication or to distribute it for commercial purposes.

The purpose of Open Access is to improve the dissemination and feedback of scholarly literature. Scientific research results should not only be reserved for subscription holders of expensive journals and deserve to be accessed by a much broader audience. The internet offers the possibility to make research results freely accessible worldwide.


Green Open Access

When publishing Green Open Access, authors upload the full text of the final author’s version via the institutional repository. The repository of Tilburg University is the Research Portal. In most cases the author needs to respect an embargo period (0-48 months) before the postprint can be made publicly available. No costs are charged for Green Open Access. Under the tab OA via Research Portal, you can read how you can make your post print available in the Research Portal.

Gold Open Access

With Gold Open Access the full text of an article is immediately made available by the publisher at the publisher’s platform or website. The author or the institution to which the author is affiliated with, pays Article Processing Charges (APC).

In most cases, the publisher allows you to save and disclose the publisher’s version of the full text in the institutional repository. The repository of Tilburg University is the Research Portal. Under the tab OA via Research Portal, you can read how to make your publisher’s version available in the Research Portal.

Publishing Gold Open Access is done through 'true' (or fully) Open Access journals or through hybrid journals.

Hybrid journals

When publishing in a hybrid journal, it is your choice to publish Open Access or not. Publishing Open Access in a hybrid journal contains the problem of double payment: an author pays the publisher to publish Open Access (by means of APCs) and the reader pays the same publisher as well via a subscription as not all articles are Open Access. This is called ‘double dipping’.

Dutch universities (VSNU) have signed agreements with several global publishers, in which is stated that authors with 'corresponding author' status may publish Open Access free of charge or at reduced rates. You can read more about the agreements under the tab Publisher agreements.

'True' (or full) Open Access journal

A true Open Access journal is an online scientific journal that only publishes articles on the principles of Open Access: items are immediately accessible and free of charge, the author gives permission for reuse, copyright remains with the author, and the journal is peer-reviewed. The publisher does not receive any revenue from subscription payments but through APCs. This variant of Open Access is generally referred to as full or pure gold Open Access (to distinguish it from hybrid gold Open Access).

Pure – Tilburg University Research Portal

Pure is the research information system at Tilburg University. Pure is the source for the Tilburg University Research Portal, which is worldwide accessible. The visibility of all material in the Research Portal is further increased because it is harvested by various (inter)national databases.

Advantages of Open Access

For the researcher or author, Open Access increases the audience for a publication far beyond the audience of any priced journal. Open Access provides greater visibility of your work, which leads to more citations and greater research impact.

As a reader, you have barrier-free access to the literature you need for your research. Access is not constrained by subscription costs or library budgets. Open Access puts rich and poor on an equal footing.

For teachers, Open Access eliminates the need for permissions to reproduce and distribute content, for the author has given permission in advance by publishing in Open Access.

Students no longer have to depend on journal subscriptions the library offers. You always have access and it doesn’t matter whether you are on the campus network or not.

For universities, Open Access increases the visibility of their faculty which leads to increased visibility of the university. It also advances their mission to share knowledge.

Disadvantages of Open Access

Researchers tend to be rated by their ability to publish in journals with a high impact factor. Compared with traditional journals, Open Access journals are much younger. It takes some time before these journals acquire an impact factor and gain the same reputation that traditional journals already have.

The number of high-quality, fully Open Access journals varies across different disciplines. Some disciplines have very few or not enough.

Researchers can be spammed by Open Access publishers of often dubious quality. These publishers try to mislead and cheat researchers. Beall’s list of predatory Open Access journals offers an overview of unreliable journals and publishers.

Most universities have not yet made provisions for the payment of Author Processing Charges (APCs), like Open Access funds or payment arrangements. Furthermore, there is the practice of double dipping, paying twice for the same content: once via a journal subscription fee and secondly via APCs for gold Open Access articles in subscription journals.

Tilburg University

Tilburg University wants to explicitly stimulate Open Access as part of its social responsibility and because it will increase the broad awareness of the results of Tilburg University’s academic research. In addition, Tilburg University attaches great value to building an institutional academic repository.

On 14 June 2016 the Executive Board has established the Open Access policy of Tilburg University. This policy entails the following:

  1. Researchers follow at least the green route to open access. As soon as possible after the formal acceptance of their article by the publisher, they place a digital version of the publication in the university’s research Portal (Pure). Where possible, and insofar as permitted by copyright, this so-called postprint version is made publicly available.
  2. Where possible, researchers choose to publish in an open access journal (gold open access), preferably of a publisher with which Tilburg University has reached agreements with as part of the national big deal negotiations.
  3. When open access agreements with a publisher are not available (yet), ‘true open access’ is preferred over ‘hybrid open access’.
  4. The university library, in cooperation with the Schools’ Pure coordinators, provide support, where necessary, on archiving articles in Pure, finding an open access journal, and the alignment of open access with the publisher’s archiving policy.

You will find the policy’s full text here.

Dutch government

The Dutch government is of the opinion that publicly funded research should be freely accessible. This was what State Secretary Sander Dekker wrote in a letter to the Dutch House of Representatives in November 2013. He deliberately opts for the golden route. He aims to have 60% of Dutch academic publications available through Open Access in 2019, and 100% in 2024. If not enough progress is made, proposals will follow in 2016 to make Open Access publication mandatory.

The government has opted for the golden route because this is most sustainable in the long term and because publications are immediately free and available via the publisher’s website the moment the publication is published. The green route is based on depositing manuscripts in a repository. The green route often means lengthy embargo periods.

The National Open Access website and the VSNU website provide more information about the Dutch government policy.

Research funders


Since 1 December 2015, NWO tightened its granting conditions regarding Open Access. All publications emerging from a call for proposal published by NWO after this date, must be immediately accessible to everybody from the moment of publication. Publications that result from calls released up to 30 November 2015, former NWO granting conditions still apply.

Immediate Open Access to publications can be offered in three different ways:

  • Depositing a postprint version of your publication in the Tilburg University Research Portal (the green route)
  • Publishing in a ‘true’ Open Access journal (the gold route; financial support via NWO’s Incentive Fund Open Access Publications)
  • Publishing in a hybrid journal

A contribution from the NWO Incentive Fund Open Access can only be used for publishing research results via the gold route: publishing in a peer reviewed scientific Open Access journal or Open Access publishing of a peer reviewed book at a scientific publisher or in a scientific series. Only principal applicants of a research project can apply for a contribution. A maximum budget of 6,000 euros per research project is available. Applications can be submitted at any time within 6 month after the final publication date. Embargoes are not allowed.

More information about NWO’s Open Access policy is available on the NWO website.

European Commission - Horizon 2020

Open Access to scientific peer reviewed publications has been anchored as an underlying principle in Horizon 2020. All beneficiaries are required to deposit and ensure Open Access. The publication version can be the final peer reviewed manuscript accepted for publication, including all modifications from the peer review process (post-print) or the publisher’s final version of the paper.

The OpenAIRE web page Open Access in Horizon 2020 provides more information on what, where and when to deposit your publication. The Guidelines on Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data in Horizon 2020 detail the context and explain for the rules on Open Access applicable to projects funded under Horizon 2020.

European Commission - FP7 post-grant Open Access pilot

FP7 has a recommendation for Open Access instead of an obligation. In 2015, the European Commission launched the FP7 Post-Grant Open Access pilot to provide funding to cover the Open Access publishing fees for publications arising from completed FP7 projects.

Projects finalized less than two years ago are eligible to participate in the project. A maximum of three publication per FP7 project will be funded and publications must be peer reviewed. Funding requests must be submitted once the publication has been accepted. Only publications accepted in fully Open Access journals will be funded and the final version of the funded output must be deposited in an Open Access repository. A maximum of 2,000 euros funding will be provided for covering publication fees for articles, book chapters and conference proceedings, and a maximum of 6,000 euros will be allocated for Open Access monographs.

Authors who wish to publish their journal articles Open Access can publish in full Open Access journals or in hybrid journals. Publication via publisher platforms in Open Access journals is referred to as the ‘golden’ route.

Publishing in a full Open Access journal

A full Open Access journal is defined as an online scholarly journal in which all articles are published according to the principles of Open Access:

  • The articles are accessible free of charge
  • The author has granted a non-exclusive license for wide (re)use
  • The author holds copyright
  • The journal conducts peer review

Producing an Open Access journal is not without costs. The costs involved are for example for organizing peer review, typesetting, marketing, setting up an Internet server and archiving. The chosen business model determines who pays the publishing fees:

  • The author pays (or the university).
  • The research funder pays as part of a research grant.
  • Some journals have income from other publications, advertising, priced add-ons or auxiliary services; no fee or just a small fee is charged.

Publishing in a hybrid journal

Hybrid journals are the traditional journals from established publishers (as Springer and Elsevier) in which individual articles can be made freely available against extra payment. This free availability can be realized via a payment by the author. However, the author is able to retain copyright.

The advantage of publishing in a hybrid journal is that in most cases these journals are part of the system with impact factors for print journals. Also, the author is not limited to the sometimes small number of full Open Access journals in some research domains.

Universities are not eager to support the hybrid approach because these journals are paid for twice: via subscriptions and article processing charges (APCs). This so called ‘double dipping’ arises if a publisher seeks an unwarrantable increase in revenues by levying APCs for publication in a hybrid journal, while not providing a proportionate decrease in subscription costs.

Lists of Open Access journals

The DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals) provides the most extensive overview of full Open Access journals with quality control (peer review of editorial review). It contains over 9,400 journals (May 2017).

BioMed Central (a division of Springer Science) is an Open Access publisher which publishes more than 280 peer reviewed journals in the biomedical domain.  In July 2015, 175 BMC-journals have impact factors of which 104 journals rank in the top half of their categories.

PLoS (Public Library of Science) is a nonprofit organization committed to making scientific and medical literature a public resource. PLoS publishes seven peer reviewed Open Access journals and each article is published immediately after it has been accepted. All content is published under the Creative Commons “attribution” license.

Open Access archiving in a repository

Besides publishing in Open Access journals, depositing publications in a repository is another way of making a publication Open Access. The main goal of repositories is providing access and ensuring durable storage. Open Access publications which are available in repositories is referred to as ‘green’ Open Access.

The repository of Tilburg University is the Publications section of the Tilburg University Research Portal.

Repositories can be organized by discipline of by institution. Generally, they contain the post-print version of an article, which is the final version after peer review, without the publisher’s layout. Sometimes, repositories also contain the publisher version.

Most publishers allow authors to deposit their papers in repositories. However, they differ over whether they allow this before or after the paper’s publication. Usually, they ask for an embargo period between publication and deposit in a repository. The SHERPA/RoMEO database provides details of almost 2,400 publishers’ current policies on self-archiving and copyright.

Open Access policy of research funders

An increasing number of research funders have an Open Access requirement. Some funders make a strong recommendation for deposit in a repository, others require a publication in a full or in a hybrid journal. The costs of Open Access publishing may be covered by the research funder.

SHERPA/Juliet is a database providing summaries of funding agencies’ grant conditions on self-archiving of research publications and research data.

ROARMAP (Registry of Open Access Repository Material Archiving Policies) registers the growth of Open Access mandates and policies adopted by universities, research institutions and research funders that request their researchers to provide Open Access to their research article output by depositing it in a repository.

Upload a Postprint

A postprint version of the article is the author's final version, or the accepted version of the article after peer review. In Pure this version is called 'accepted author manuscript'.

Most publishers allow postprints to be uploaded and made available in the institutional repository (Tilburg University Research Portal), with respect of an embargo period. The duration of the embargo depends on the publisher’s archiving policy and varies from 0 to 48 months. Usually you will find information on what you can do with postprints in the author instructions (in a section on green Open Access. You can upload a postprint in Pure once the publication has been registered in Pure.

A postprint version of the publication is not provided with information as issue number, volume and pagination. That is why Pure adds a cover sheet to the full text every time when it is downloaded. The cover sheet will show the correct citation suggestion in APA style. As a result, the article can always be cited correctly. Correct and complete information about your article when you register it in Pure is therefore very important!

This is how you upload the postprint version of your publication in Pure:

  • Enter or go to the metadata of the publication
  • Scroll down to ‘Electronic version(s) and related files and links’
  • Add electronic version (file, DOI, or link)
  • Upload an electronic version
  • Document version = accepted author manuscript
  • Public access to file = open or public access to file = embargoed (specify end date).
    Pure will release the full text after the embargo period expires.

Other than looking in the author instructions, you can also determine the embargo period by checking the relevant journal in SHERPA/RoMEO. This database provides information about nearly 2,400 different publishers and their policies on Open Access archiving.

Upload a Publisher's version

When publishing in a full Open Access journal or hybrid journal (with APC), it is allowed to upload the publisher’s version of your publication in Pure and make it publicly available.  You will find more information about full Open Access and hybrid journals under the tab Open Access – text block Definitions. You can upload the publisher’s version of the full text in Pure once the publication has been registered in Pure.

This is how you upload the publisher’s version of your publication in Pure:

  • Enter or go to the metadata of the publication
  • Scroll down to Electronic version(s) and related files and links
  • Add electronic version (file, DOI, or link)
  • Upload an electronic version
  • Document version = Final published version
  • Public access to file = open

Occasionally there will be a non-Open Access publisher that accepts your publisher’s version to be uploaded in a repository (Research Portal), usually this will be with an embargo period.

Support and questions

Both the Pure coordinators in the schools and the LIS Research Support team (LIS-RS) can support you with placing an article in Pure, finding an Open Access journal and make sure full text is uploaded according to the archiving policy of the publisher.

For any questions about uploading full text you can contact your Pure coordinator. As Pure coordinators and LIS-RS have regular meetings, they are aware of any issues and frequently asked questions in this area. LIS-RS regularly looks at the full texts uploaded in Pure. If needed, corrections are made but not without informing the author or the Pure Coordinator. Together, we take the step on the road for green Open Access!