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. The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research has 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. As an author, you are expected to archive your articles
in an online repository.

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 different 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    Green open access implies that peer reviewed publications (or even unpublished manuscripts) are made freely available in an institutional archive or some other repository. A national open online archive is on its way. Depending on publisher copyright policies, you may submit published, accepted or submitted version of your article to the repository. Green open access is also known as self-archiving.
  3. Hybrid
    It is possible to publish open in one of the traditional subscription journals if it is included in one of the newly made publish and read agreements. See also more details on this option below.

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).

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, but it may be supported by the publish and read agreements.

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 below).

You may also check if there is a suitable read and publish agreement, read more about such agreements below.

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. Search the DOAJ and the register of channels for the journal’s name or ISSN number to check. Note that if a journal is not listed, 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.

You will find updated and detailed information on all the agreements on the website.

Here is an alphabetical list of current agreements, with participating institutions, title lists, and the author publishing workflow for each agreement.

You must check if your institution partakes in the agreement with a certain publisher. If it does, you should check if your preferred journal is included in the agreement. If it is, just follow the instructions for submitting articles, and make sure to choose the open access option. You may also have to choose between some Creative Commons licenses. CC-BY is the most common one.

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 Horizon Europe, 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.
Read 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 Europe), 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.

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.

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

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.