Skip to Main Content

Library Services

  1. Library Services Home
  2. Resources
  3. Support
  4. About
  5. My Library

Understanding open access

What is open access?

Open access makes research outputs freely available to anyone who wishes to read them. Various types of licence can be applied to allow for different levels of access, for example limiting the use to read only or allowing commercial use of the material. The Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence is actively encouraged.

Open access is for the public good; it maximises the cultural and scientific value of our research when scholarly outputs are not blocked by paywalls. Improved access to scholarly content is likely to lead to new collaborations and institutions across the globe that are unable to afford journal subscriptions will have a fairer chance.

The university embraces open access and this is expressed in our Open Access Mission statement:

City, University of London wants to ensure that its research reaches the widest possible audience, both nationally and internationally. Open access publishing means that the intrinsic worth of scholarly content is magnified by the ease with which others can access this information and this will lead to benefits for society in general. Progress stems from sharing.

Open access routes

There are different ways in which research can be made openly available. The two commonplace routes are:

Green open access:

  • requires the output to be deposited in an institutional (City Research Online) or subject repository
  • makes available the author's accepted manuscript
  • is free
  • a publisher embargo period can be applied but, increasingly, funders are requiring immediate open access

Gold open access:

  • makes available the published version of the publication through the publisher's website
  • requires a payment of the Article Processing Charge (APC), which may be covered by an Open Access Transformative Agreement.

Benefits of open access

Diagram showing the eight benefits of open access.


The benefits of open access (clockwise from top):

  • more exposure for your work
  • practitioners can apply your findings
  • higher citation rates
  • your research can influence policy
  • the public can access your findings
  • compliant with grant rules
  • tax payers get value for money
  • researchers in developing countries can see your work.

CC-BY Danny Kingsley & Sarah Brown.