Open Access Publishing: The Ultimate Guide

Thinking of publishing in an open access journal? Here is your ultimate guide to understanding the new world of online and open access publishing featuring information written by our amazing international representatives.


Open-access (OA) publishing is a hot topic. By publishing OA, anyone in the world can have free online access to your work. This PhD Comics video provides an excellent explanation of what OA is, and what its benefits are. There are two primary routes to OA publishing. The “green” route—self-archiving of publications—is free of charge, but typically involves an embargo period which delays OA publication, and often requires self-archiving of pre-prints. The “golden” route—publication in OA journals—involves payment of an article processing fee by authors (or their institutions), but makes articles immediately available online, free of charge to the reader. Each route has its advantages and disadvantages.

The purpose of this article is to review developments and funding opportunities for OA publishing in various countries around the world. Most of the country-specific information has been provided by local representatives of the European Association of Psychology and Law – Student Society. Nevertheless, the information in this article is relevant across all scientific disciplines. Before reviewing the general information, however, I will highlight some OA journals that are particularly relevant to the field of psychology and law.

Psychology and Law

Many OA options exist in the field of psychology and law.  Firstly, when submitting to a traditional journal in the field, it is sometimes possible to select an OA option. However, there are various reasons why it may be better to publish in a full OA journal.  Various well-regarded OA psychology journals regularly publish work focused on legal psychology, such as Frontiers in Psychology, PLoS ONE Psychology, and potentially the new APA journal, Archives of Scientific Psychology. Many more OA journals can be found in the Directory of Open Access Journals, though it should be noted that newer journals, such as Archives of Scientific Psychology, do not yet appear in the directory. Conversely, a list of potentially predatory OA journals (i.e., spammers more interested in profit than scientific quality) can be found on Scholarly Open Access.

A few colleagues and I have recently started a more specialized OA journal, Archives of Forensic Psychology. This innovative journal aims to link the science and practice of psychology and law (e.g., by offering readers Continuing Education credit). The journal also actively encourages multimedia submissions and submission of non-significant findings.

Country-specific information

Because many students and professionals are not aware of the developments with respect to OA publishing in their own country, and perhaps more importantly, how to get funding for golden OA publishing, below we have compiled specific information for 15 countries. For additional country-specific information, please consult the Global Open Access Portal, and Fee Support per country. We are always looking to expand this article, so feel free to contact me if you would like to contribute information on your country.


In Argentina, OA publishing is at an early stage. There is no clear national policy on OA, but recently, a relevant law was introduced, entitled “Creating Institutional Digital Repositories Open, Own or Rent access” (Law No. 26899). Basically, this law states that public bodies and institutions that make up the National System of Science, Technology and Innovation (SNCTI) and receive funding from the state, should develop institutional digital repositories of open, own or shared access. These repositories should contain scientific and technological products resulting from work, training and/or projects wholly or partly financed by public funds, researchers, technologists, faculty, postdoctoral fellows and masters and doctoral students. This scientific-technological production covers all documents (journal articles, technical and scientific papers, academic thesis, etc.) that are a result of conducting research.  Likewise, agencies and public institutions in Argentina should establish policies for public access to primary research data through institutional digital repositories or OA portals, as well as institutional policies for management and long term preservation. Finally, they should implement national systems for large tools and databases.

Thus, the law creates and ensures a system of open access to specific information. However, because the law was introduced only in November 2013, it is not yet widely implemented. For now, universities have not yet implemented OA publication. Nevertheless, the OA initiative seems very promising for Argentina.

Information on Argentina contributed by Nestor Litter


In Belgium, there has been considerable progress in OA publishing over the past years through an active OA community (European Commission, 2011; Unesco, 2013). These efforts accumulated in the Brussels Declaration on Open Access (2012). Consequently, several initiatives have emerged over the past years such as official OA mandates for research funders and institutions and the development of numerous OA repositories.

At present, there is no strong mandate for OA publishing on the national level (Unesco, 2013). A number of funding agencies however have committed to the Brussels Declaration of Open Access. The Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) is the major funder of Belgian research and has committed to supporting OA publishing. Specifically, researchers who are funded by the FWO are obliged to self-archive articles which are the result of FWO-funded research in OA repositories. Researchers are also advised to deposit other articles in an OA databank together with the research data for these publications (see rules and regulations). Similarly, other funding agencies require researchers to make their publications available in OA repositories, including the Fonds de La Recherce Scientifique (FRS/FRNS Belgium) and the Belgian Science Policy Office (Belspo).

Most Belgian universities have signed either the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (2003; see list of Belgian institutions) or the Brussels Declaration (2012; see list of Belgian institutions), or both. Participating members commit to supporting and contributing to OA publishing. The strongest mandates in Belgium are currently those of Ghent University and the University of Liège, which require their researchers to immediately deposit their articles in institutional OA repositories..

For authors in Belgium who are considering submitting their work to an OA journal, reimbursement for OA publishing is currently relatively scarce. Major funding agencies in Belgium do not currently provide a system for reimbursement of OA publishing fees, but it is worth keeping an eye open for up to date information on their websites:

Universities also do not systematically provide reimbursement for OA publishing fees. Given that most universities are partners of the Brussels Declaration on Open Access and have committed to investigating potential reimbursement of publication fees, this can be regarded as a long-term goal for the OA community in Belgium.

Key organisations in Belgium involved in OA publishing are Enabling Open Scholarship (EOS) and Both organisations offer information and guidelines for OA publishing in Belgium. There are Belgian OA journals specifically for psychological research, such as Psychologica Belgica. It is further worth checking up on OA events in Belgium, since a number of Belgian universities engaged in the Berlin or Brussels Declaration host OA information sessions, debates, and workshops such as Ghent University, Vrije Universiteit Brussel or the KU Leuven.

Additional useful links:

Information on Belgium contributed by Sarah Gordts

European Union (general)

OA publishing is highly encouraged by various institutions of the European Union (EU). In 2011, the European Commission (EC) published a comprehensive report on OA policies in Europe, based on a questionnaire to the European Research Area Committee. In July 2013, the EC held a one-day public consultation on open research data with relevant stakeholders. The results of this meeting were also published in a written report.

European funding agencies, including the EC and the European Research council (ERC),  often require researchers to make their publications available in OA repositories. In addition, some agencies offer publication funds for golden OA publishing. Some examples of OA publication funds from EU institutions are:

Information on the EU contributed by Ricardo Nieuwkamp, Sarah Gordts, and Annelies Vredeveldt


Germany has many policies and funding opportunities available for OA publishing, revealing a strong awareness of the importance of OA. Nevertheless, a 2012 survey amongst German researchers  found that awareness and experience with OA publishing varies considerably across different scientific disciplines. The main research funding agency in Germany, the German Research Foundation  (DFG) signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (2003).

More information about OA policies in Germany can be found at:

Some examples of OA publication funds in Germany are:

More universities can be found on the PloS ONE page on OA funds in Germany.

Information on Germany contributed by Annelies Vredeveldt


Greece does not have an organized national or funding agency policy for OA publishing. Despite the financial crisis, many universities and scientific societies are now trying to change and make scientific journal articles, theses and book chapters accessible to anyone online. Unfortunately, in Greece there are no structured programs to offer forensic/legal psychology courses and as a consequence there are no funding initiatives focusing on forensic/legal psychology and OA publishing. A great paper on this topic is entitled Open Access in Greece: current trends and developments.

Information on Greece contributed by Vaitsa Giannouli


Mexico continues to make progress in the development of forensic psychology programs offered at both private and public universities. The availability and formation of these programs has coincided with the modernization and reform of Mexico’s legal and judicial systems within the last 10-15 years. However, with respect to OA publishing, additional time and funding sources may be required before research articles are made widely available to both students and professionals. Mexico does provide local, state and federal funding for scientific and academic investigations, such as the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) [National Counsel of Science and Technology] and Programa de Cooperación Científica UNAM- Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) de España [Program of Scientific Cooperation at the National Autonomous University of Mexico-Superior Counsel of Scientific Investigations of Spain].

Nonetheless, access to the majority of published research articles may still be dependent on the current system where payment is required to the specific journal. As the quality of academic programs continue to develop in Mexico, so too will the need for increased access and distribution of research investigations. International research collaborations between universities, and state and federal agencies, between Mexico, the US, Spain, and other countries, may further promote OA publishing and the potential benefits of such a system for the future.

Information on Mexico contributed by Leandro Velasco


OA publishing is widely endorsed in the Netherlands, by researchers, policy makers, funding agencies, and publishers alike. Twenty Dutch institutions have signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (2003), including the main research and funding organisations. Most universities request that their employees deposit their publications in a Digital Academic REpository (DARE). Moreover, the State Secretary of Education, Culture and Science has stated that his aim for the Netherlands is to have switched entirely to golden OA by 2024.

The main research funding agency, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), provides up to €5000 for OA publishing to researchers funded by NWO. In addition, publisher SAGE made an agreement with Dutch universities to give a 90% discount on OA publishing fees to corresponding authors employed at a Dutch university.

More information about OA policies in the Netherlands can be found at:

Some OA publication funding options in the Netherlands are:

University policies on OA publishing:

More universities can be found on the PloS ONE page on OA funds in the Netherlands.

Information on the Netherlands contributed by Ricardo Nieuwkamp and Annelies Vredeveldt


Open-access publishing in Poland is currently among the hottest science policy topics discussed and any information can be easily accessed online. Nowadays, there is a strong movement towards requiring from academics that every publication within publicly funded research projects is made OA. Since the vast majority of research funding in Poland comes from public sources, such a decision may significantly influence the way research is done in Poland. The most important research grants in Poland are available from:

  • Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MNiSW)
  • National Science Centre of Poland (NCN)
  • The National Centre for Research and Development (NCBiR)

As for direct OA publishing funding, the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education finances OA publications in Springer (English version / Polish version).

Some useful links:

Information on Poland contributed by Pawel Banas


As stated in the State of the Art Report of Open Access in Portugal, OA initiatives are relatively new, with the first dating from 2003. The development of OA was mostly carried out by universities and almost all Portuguese Universities have created OA repositories. There has been a tendency for an increase in international research publications, however the number of Portuguese scientific journals with OA is low (around 40). Similarly, the number of scientific journals is low, and many of them are still published in printed form, or without peer-review.

Information on Portugal contributed by Ana Rita Cruz


OA publishing is a very weak institute in Russia, especially in the sphere of forensic psychology. Only 33% of Russian journals are OA. Most academics do not know English, which may explain why OA publishing is not yet widespread in Russia. Speaking English is necessary to actively develop this form of presentation of scientific research in Russia, because our researchers are poorly represented in the global community. To learn more about submitting your work to an OA journal in Russia, you could contact:

Information on Russia contributed by Oxana Gurina


In Spain, the introduction of Law 14/2011 on Science, Technology and Innovation (which incorporated a set of measures pursuing novelty) put the Spanish legislation at the international forefront. The law contains 37 articles on OA publishing, stating that all researchers whose activities have been mostly financed from state budgets are required to publish one electronic version in OA form. In addition, Article 14.5 of the Royal Decree 99/2011 on official doctorate teachings provides that the thesis must be published in an OA format. The Centro Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) coordinate with the universities regarding the OA projects.

OA in Spain can take the form of publication in OA journals or self-archiving of the work in institutional or subject repositories. The main repositories are Recolecta and Hispana. Additionally, the main journal relating to psychology and law in Spain,  the European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context, is in OA format.

Information on Spain contributed by Jorge Jiménez Serrano

South Africa

OA publishing is a fantastic movement towards making research widely available – particularly in developing countries, such as South Africa. Unlike developed countries, the funds often are not available for researchers or institutions in developing countries to purchase online research articles that may be applicable to their research. Furthermore, institutions may not subscribe to specific journals (due to financial barriers), and it may be a lengthy and expensive process to order or request particular journals. Digitizing articles in OA journals provides unrestricted access to a plethora of research. Publications in OA repositories allows researchers, who do not have the funds to cover the costs of article processing, to have a wider reach and establish international collaborations, which can ultimately bring in more funds for further research.

In South Africa, there have been movements towards OA publishing; however, most of the funding support is limited to institutional/university support rather than national support for authors. Unfortunately, there isn’t a formal forensic psychology programme available in South Africa, so instead we’ve investigated OA funding in general at some of the academic institutions here.

Some universities did not list whether they provided funding for publishing in OA journals, so we strongly recommend that you contact your library or research office first, in case their policies have been updated. When applying for funding for OA publishing, please check whether the journal, where you have submitted your manuscript, is accredited, as most funding is limited to accredited journals only. If you are uncertain, you should contact your institution’s librarian or research office. Additionally, if you have a scholarship or grant then check with your funders if they have a clause about OA publishing. Some funders insist on researchers making their work available in a repository, for example. We have provided some links below to guide you.

General information:

Information about university policies and funding opportunities:

Information on South Africa contributed by Alicia Nortje and Kate Kempen


In Sweden, OA publishing gained momentum in the 2000’s. It has been driven by the university library sector and the National Library of Sweden through the Swedish OA programme This national programme develops guidelines for OA publication as well as promoting it. At present, major Swedish funding agencies (e.g., the Swedish Research Council, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working life and Welfare, and Swedish Research Council Formas) require recipients of research grants to publish their results freely accessible to everyone.

Below are some useful links for researchers in Sweden considering OA publication: 

Information on Sweden contributed by Serra Tekin

United Kingdom

Recently, the four higher education funding bodies in the United Kingdom, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) have introduced an OA requirement for publications. This means that, after 2014, all journal articles and conference proceedings must be available in OA form in order to be eligible for inclusion in the national evaluation of research institutions, the Research Excellence Framework.

More information about OA policies in the United Kingdom can be found at:

Some examples of OA publication funds in the United Kingdom are:

More universities can be found on the PloS ONE page on OA funds in the United Kingdom.

Information on the United Kingdom contributed by Annelies Vredeveldt

United States

In the United States, there have been recent movements towards OA publishing. For example, according to a large scale survey conducted in 2011 by the SOAP project, 89% of researchers who had published at least one peer-reviewed scientific article in the last five years (38,358) were in favor of OA publishing. OA publishing allows researchers to publish in a domain where access is not restricted to those who must pay for individual articles, or subscription fees. However, funding is required in order to address the basic costs of publishing. The process is made possible by shifting the cost of publication onto the author submitting a manuscript, rather than the consumer of the information. The author may then include the cost of publication in grant applications, or seek alternative sources of OA publishing funding.

For authors in the United States who are considering submitting their work to an OA journal, there are several sources of funding available. Below we provide some links to OA publishing funds, from funding agencies as well as universities:

Information on the United States contributed by Joseph Toomey


We hope that this post has given you some food for thought on the rationale behind OA publishing, and some ideas on funding sources. If you would like to contribute information on your own country, please contact me. Also feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or comments after reading this article.

Happy open-access publishing!

Annelies Vredeveldt

Vice-President of the European Association of Psychology and Law – Student Society