Skip to Main Content Page Title
Library logo

Library Research Support: Open Research: Routes to open access: 'Green', 'Gold' & Rights Retention Strategy

This guide is intended to provide advice and support on open access research, including guidance around Durham Research Online (DRO), open access publishing, research data management and related topics.

Routes to open access

Various models have emerged to support open access publishing.

Two of the models that you may hear about most often are Gold and Green, as well as Rights Retention Strategy, which we introduce below. 


Gold Open Access

  • Gold open access refers to a published work which is free to access via the publisher’s website immediately upon publication.
  • It will often have clear re-use rights (perhaps detailed through a Creative Commons licence) which go beyond what is permitted by copyright legislation.
  • A publisher may charge a fee for this through applying an Article Processing Charge (APC) or Book Processing Charge (BPC) to the individual work.
  • Some journals are fully/pure open access and contain only open access articles. Others, known as hybrid journals, offer both open and subscription content.
  • There are journals which do not charge authors (or their institutions) to publish open access. These may be subsidised by a third party or paid for by library partnerships (e.g. Open Library of Humanities). This is sometimes referred to as ‘diamond’ or ‘platinum’ OA.

Green Open Access

  • Green open access (also referred to as “self-archiving”) is when an author publishes in a subscription-based journal and a copy of the research (usually the author’s final, peer-reviewed manuscript) is deposited in either an institutional or subject repository (such as DRO).
  • There is no fee to be paid to the publisher.
  • Following any potential embargo period (set by the publisher) the manuscript is then made free to access.
  • The published final version of the journal remains behind a subscription paywall on the journal website, but a version of the paper (accepted manuscript or Version of Record if permitted) is available to anyone from the repository.
  • This is the university's preferred route (with mandatory deposit of all outputs in DRO).
  • Some book publishers also offer green open access as an option for book chapters.

Rights Retention Strategy

The Rights Retention Strategy

"Rights Retention" is a new initiative from cOAlition-S funders, including the Wellcome Trust, UKRI and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, each of whom has published cOAlition-S aligned policies which include a rights retention requirement.

What is the 'Rights Retention Strategy'?

The key expectation on authors from funders is to make their research articles Open Access immediately on publication, without embargo, and under a clear open licence, usually a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence

Rights retention supports the green (self-archiving) open access route (Route 2 in both the UKRI and Wellcome Trust Open Access policies), and aims to allow an author to publish in their journal of choice (even if that published Version of Record (VoR) remains behind a subscription paywall), whilst ensuring an author retains the right to share their Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) immediately upon publication, in line with the expectations of their funder.

It essentially takes the form of an author including a statement in all article manuscripts submitted for publication, notifying the publisher of their funding obligations and that they, as author, are retaining the right to share their accepted manuscript under those terms.

The intended outcome is that:

  • Authors
    • Retain the rights to share and re-use their own AAM as they wish.
    • Are able to meet the open access requirements where these form any terms and conditions in their funding contract.
  • Institutions
    • Can share the accepted manuscripts provided to them by authors immediately from their institutional open access repository.
    • Can provide clear and consistent guidance for authors on how to comply and how and when AAMs will be shared.
  • Researchers
    • Gain immediate open access to a peer-reviewed version of research publications, which would otherwise be hidden behind a subscription paywall.
    • Through the use of standard open licencing can clearly see how they can, and cannot, re-use that published research.
  • Publishers
    • Are clearly notified at the first point of submission of the funder's open access requirements that the author of the manuscript is obliged to meet.
  • Funders
    • Can ensure the authors they fund have a mechanism for making research open access immediately upon publication which is not dependent upon an author's ability to pay for publishing.

For more details on the University's approach to Rights Retention, including what authors need to do, see our Research Publications Policy Libguide.