Open access publishing

Open access (OA) is a publishing model that provides free online access to research publications.

Open access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.
(Suber, 2013)

Open access is highly encouraged by the Norwegian government, the Research Council of Norway and research institutions in Norway. In 2017, the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research provided goals and guidelines for open access to research articles: the main goal is that all publicly funded Norwegian research articles should be made openly available by 2024.

On this page you will find information about

  • what open access is
  • how to publish your work open access
  • the read and publish agreements with some large publishers
  • how to comply with open access policies

Main principles

Open Access implies unrestricted access to and unrestricted reuse of research publications. The main principles of open access are:

  • Research publications are made available online for free
  • Users have the right to read, download, copy, distribute, print, share and (in most cases) build upon the full-text, as long as the original publication is properly cited and acknowledged.
  • The author retains the right to reuse his/her material.

There are two ways of achieving open access:

  1. Gold
    Gold means that open access is provided by the publisher. Publishing in an open journal, book or open articles in traditional journals ensures that the final version is made available open access, usually with a Creative Commons license that permits reuse. The author (usually the author’s institution or funder) might have to pay to publish (article or book processing charge/APC/BPC), but this varies from publisher to publisher.
  2. Green
    Green means that open access is provided by the author and his/her institution. This implies that peer reviewed publications (or even unpublished manuscripts) are made freely available in an institutional archive or some other repository. Depending on publisher copyright policies, you may submit pre-print, post-print or publisher’s version of your article to the repository. Green open access is also known as self-archiving.

Publishing open access can benefit you as a researcher. For instance, studies indicate that open access publications are downloaded, read and cited more often than other articles (McKiernan et al., 2016).

Choosing open access also benefits users, research institutions and society as a whole:

  1. Accessibility: Everyone can access and read open access publications online. In contrast, only students and researchers affiliated to institutions that can afford to pay for subscriptions have access to traditional publications.
  2. Democracy: An important principle is that publicly funded research should be publicly available. In Norway, there are national goals and guidelines for open access to research articles.
  3. Full re-use rights: Most gold open access publications are licensed in a way that gives users the right to share and reuse. This facilitates interoperability, innovation, and the creation of new knowledge.
  4. Visibility: Researchers can more easily promote and make visible their research output to internal and external users through their web pages and research systems.

Open access journals

Essentially, there are two ways a journal can provide open access:

  1. Open access only: The journal is a dedicated open access channel, where all content is made openly available.
  2. Hybrid open access: The journal is a traditional, subscription-based journal, and authors pay extra to make their work available open access. The option of hybrid open access publishing is generally not supported by publishing funds at universities and university colleges in Norway, because this would mean paying twice for the same article: first for the subscription, and then the fee to make it open access.

Publishing in an open access journal (gold) step by step

Open access books:

An increasing number of book publishers offer Open Access.
Examples of Norwegian publishers:

  1. Does your institution or research funder require you to make your work available open access? If so, what policies apply?
  2. If you are applying for research grants, be aware of the open access requirements, so that you can include the publishing costs in the total budget of your grant.
  3. Look for a gold open access channel within your subject field. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) provides an overview of open access journals.
  4. Choose an open access journal that is recognised in the Norwegian publication indicator model. See the Norwegian Centre for Research Data for authorised open publication channels on Level 1 or 2.
  5. Is there an article-processing charge? If so, can you get support from your institution, funding body or project to cover the fee? Some universities require that you apply to the publishing fund before submitting your manuscript to a journal.
  6. Upload the published article to your institutional repository, via the Current Research Information System In Norway (CRISTIN). Log in to CRISTIN with your institutional username and password, and register your publication. Select 'Deliver full-text document', and follow the instructions.

If there is no suitable gold open access journal within your research field, you should publish in a traditional subscription journal that allows online archiving in a repository (green open access). Most journals will allow you to make a peer-reviewed and accepted version of your article manuscript (a post-print) available online. Please note: the publisher may impose an embargo period, which could be anything up to 48 months after publication. It is important that you find a journal with an embargo period short enough for you to comply with the requirements of your funder or your institution (see open access mandates).

Where to publish open access?

Below is a selection of resources providing links to, or information on, different types of open access publishing channels.

Where not to publish open access?

Some open access journals may be seen as 'predators'. Beware of those. They do not support good scientific practice or proper editorial and peer-review procedures, but will happily take your money. How to spot the predators?

There is no entirely reliable way to spot predatory publishers. Early warning signs are promises of extremely fast review and email solicitations that are designed to flatter you. Usually, they are not found in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) or in the list of approved scientific publication channels of the Norwegian Centre for Research Data (NSD). Search the DOAJ and NSD for the journal’s name or ISSN number to check. Note that if a journal is not listed in DOAJ or NSD, this does not necessarily imply that the journal is predatory. Remember to think and check before submitting a paper: A useful website to help you evaluate whether a publisher or journal is predatory or not is Think-Check-Submit.

Read and publish agreements

The read and publish agreement is a new kind of subscription deal, which includes open access publishing. In short; this deal grants you the right to publish your research as open access articles in the journal of your choice without paying any article processing fees.

Starting in 2019, the Norwegian higher education institutions have signed read and publish agreements with:

  • Elsevier
  • Wiley

Springer Nature  and Taylor & Francis has also agreed upon a read and publish agreement with Norway, these deals will take effect from 2020, and the details are not yet disclosed.

The Elsevier agreement

  • Articles with a corresponding author from a Norwegian higher education institution will be published as an open access article, under a CC-BY license.
  • See a complete list of journals [excel file] that are part of the agreement.
  • Some journal titles owned by academic associations as well as third-party journals such as Cell and Lancet are not part of the agreement, but they can opt-in in a future expansion of the current agreement.

You can read more about the Elsevier agreement on [in Norwegian only]

What you need to know as an author

The read and publish agreement will not constitute a great shift when it comes to publishing your article in an Elsevier journal. Articles published under Elsevier’s standard license, can be transferred into open access at no cost, given that the read and publish deal is applicable. Read more on the details below.  Already paid article processing fees for publication in an Elsevier journal after Jan. 1st 2019 will be refunded.

Please note:

  • Only articles with corresponding author from a partaking institution are subjects to this agreement.
  • Only scientific articles are eligible.
  • Your article needs to have a submission date of 1st 2019 or later.  Note that the acceptance date is irrelevant.
  • Upon accepting a publishing agreement with Elsevier, you are given a choice regarding which CC-license should be used for? your article.
  • Your library will need to approve the article as part of the read and publish agreement.
  • Open access publishing is now the default choice for publishing in an Elsevier journal.
  • If your article for some reason is not approved as eligible for the read and publish agreement, you are liable for the APC fee.

The Wiley agreement

  • 500 articles can be published open access in 2019, rising to 850 articles in 2021. As with the Elsevier agreement above, this number is close to the total Wiley-published articles based on experience from earlier years.
  • Only scientific articles are eligible.
  • 113 journal titles [excel file] are not part of the agreement with Wiley.
  • The agreement covers accepted publications in hybrid Wiley journals from May 1st and in Goldjournals from April 1st.
  • Articles under this agreement will have to have an acceptance date of May 1st 2019 or later. Note that this differs from Elsevier’s use of submission date.
  • Available licenses include CC-BY and CC-BY-NC-ND.
  • Open Access publishing is selected after acceptance through Wiley’s 'Author Services' account.

You can read more about the Wiley agreement at [in Norwegian only]

What you need to know as an author

  • Only corresponding authors from a partaking institution [excel file] can benefit from this agreement
  • Eligibility is identified at point of submission
  • Your library Wiley admin will need to approve the publication as affiliated with the correct institution.
  • If your institution exceeds the 'quota' set for the given year, you will be offered a 20% discount on the standard APCs. Starting from 2021, the quota is regarded as high enough to cover almost all the publications. Check with your institution if there is funding available for an unexpected APC.

Ask your library about more information on the read and publish agreements.

Open access mandates

Mandates for open access from governments, research funders and institutions will require you to

  1. make your research publications available in an open access repository (green open access), or
  2. publish your research open access (gold Open Access)

Mandates can also be a combination of the two options above.

You should find out which policy applies at your institution, or whether your grant provider requires you to make your research available open access. If you are co-authoring with researchers from other institutions or countries, they may have different polices to comply with.


National guidelines in Norway
The government aims to make the results of all Norwegian research openly available, by publishing gold or self-archiving (green open access). The government has established national goals and guidelines for open access to research articles.

The Research Council of Norway
If you have funding from the Research Council of Norway, it is a general requirement to self-archive peer-reviewed scientific articles in an institutional repository. Research funded through agreements signed after 1 January 2020, must be published in an open access journal or on an open access platform that complies with the principles of Plan S.

The European Union
The European Research Council (ERC) has been supporting the principle of open access to the published output of research as a fundamental part of its mission. If you are a grant recipient from ERC or the European Framework Programmes (FPs), you are required to deposit your publications into the open access institutional repository of the research institution with which you are affiliated.

Under EU Horizon 2020 (FP8, 2014-2020), each beneficiary must ensure open access to all peer-reviewed scientific publications relating to its results: research must be made available open access, either through self-archiving in open repositories or publishing open access. Preparations are underway for FP9, and after January 1st, 2020, research funded by the European Research Council must be published in an open access journal or on an open access platform that complies with the principles of Plan SRead more on openAIRE.

Examples of institutional mandates in Norway:

Contact your research administration or library to find more about the policies of your institution. Also refer to the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research’s goals and guidelines for open access to research articles.

For an overview of international policies and mandates see the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR).

Funding for open access

Many funders and research institutions have established funds to pay for article or book processing charges in open access journals and/or book publishers. You should find out what options exist at your institution or from your grant provider. If there is no open access funding available to you, find out if any of your co-authors have funds they can apply for.


This list includes some of the institutions offering financial support for open access publishing to their researchers and students:

If your research is funded by national research councils or international funding bodies, like the European Union (Horizon 2020), you may be able to get your article processing charge covered as a part of the grant. Check the guidelines for the grant, or the funder’s website.

Useful resources

Below is a list of resources to help you if you want to publish or self-archive open access. Some of them provide information on various aspects of open access that you may want to learn more about.

Creative Commons gives an overview of licences that can be used to make your work open access.

Definition: The most used definitions of open access are found in the Budapest Open Access Initiative (February 2002), the Bethesda Statement on Open Access (June 2003), and the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (October 2003). Organizations that commit to the Berlin definition of open access can sign this declaration.

HowOpenIsIt? This guide helps you to understand the components that make a journal open access and what makes a journal more or less open.

SOS. Questions and answers about open access publishing (in Norwegian only).

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) provides information on open access journals.
A list of Norwegian open access journals in DOAJ.

The Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) gives an overview of open access books.

The Sherpa-RoMEO database gives information on publisher and journal policies towards self-archiving.

Think-Check-Submit helps you avoid ‘predators’.


McKiernan, E. C., Bourne, P. E., Brown, C. T., Buck, S., Kenall, A., Lin, J., . . . Yarkoni, T. (2016). How open science helps researchers succeed. eLife, 5, Article e16800.

Suber, P. (2013). Open Access. The MIT Press.