Research and Knowledge Exchange

Open access

The University of Edinburgh and the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences are committed to making their research outputs fully and freely available through Open Access

What is Open Access?

Open Access is the unrestricted online access to scholarly research like journal articles and conference proceedings, but also other scholarly works like book chapters and monographs. Making your research Open Access increases readership, citations and reputation and reduces barriers to collaboration and cross-disciplinary research. 


Plan S

Research funders in Europe announce 'Plan S' to make all scientific works free to read as soon as they are published.

A new initiative to accelerate the transition to full and immediate open access to research publications was announced by Science Europe, under the name of ‘Plan S’.  Launched by the Open Access Envoy of the European Commission, it was further developed by the President of Science Europe.  Endorsed by a group of Science Europe member organisations (including UKRI and the Wellcome Trust), it puts forward a number of fundamental principles for developing Open Access to publications more fully. The ERC Scientific Council has decided to support the initiative.

Below is a downloadable summary poster with key facts and points to consider that you can circulate to colleagues.

 Plan S poster (136.19 KB PDF)


The key Plan S principles are as follows:

  • No scholarly publication should be locked behind a paywall.
  • Open Access should be immediate, ie without embargoes.
  • Full Open Access is implemented by the default use of a Creative Commons Attribution CC BY licence.
  • Funders commit to support Open Access publication fees at a reasonable level.
  • Funders will not support publication in hybrid (or mirror/sister) journals unless they are part of a transformative arrangement with a clearly defined endpoint.


Research Publications & Copyright Policy

Academic staff at the University of Edinburgh have traditionally, when publishing research outputs, exercised an independent right to assign or give away their scholarly works (in addition to the University’s right). This has enabled the current process of the corresponding author assigning copyright to publishers, which results in many journal articles and scholarly works now being under partial or complete ownership by the academic publishers.


In order for the University and its researchers to comply with funder requirements, and to enable the University to disseminate its research and scholarship as widely as possible, whilst enabling its staff to publish their work in a journal of their choice the University of Edinburgh adopted the publications and copyright policy which applies to all staff on research contracts. More information can be found at IS pages.


Open Research Strategy

Open Research (also referred to as Open Science) denotes research that is conducted in an open and transparent manner, in which the processes followed, the data collected, and the outputs produced, are available openly and freely. It implies ways of working that make research more transparent, inclusive, open, collaborative and efficient.

The agenda towards openness in research has been driven by a combination of cultural and technological changes, including digitisation and the availability of big data, the internationalization and standardization of research methods, the drive to improve the rigour and integrity of research, and the commitment to ensuring data and outputs are freely available to all researchers. It is being actively promoted by major UK and EU funders and by the REF.


Contact details

Veronica Cano

Scholarly Communications Officer 

  •  Work: +44 (0) 131 650 4398
  •  Email:

Room B.07, 55 George Square