Open Access - FAQs

On this page, you will find the most frequently asked questions about publishing in Open Access. If you cannot find the answer to your question, please contact us here.

1 - What are the advantages of publishing in Open Access?

  • An Open Access article is much more visible because it is accessible both to journal subscribers and everyone with an internet connection.
  • The article is on average more cited (in some disciplines six times more than a 'closed' article).
  • Publishing in Open Access is advantageous because it allows access to most national or international funding programmes.
  • Open Access can facilitate faster dissemination of the article, more accurate and transparent reviewing and better management and preservation of research products.

2 - Do I have to change my publishing habits to join Open Access?

No, it is not necessary. You can continue to publish with traditional publishers by checking whether it is possible to deposit a version of your work on institutional or disciplinary open access repositories, even if it predates the editorial version (pre-print or post-print). Many publishers, especially international ones, now offer this possibility. To check whether the publisher you have published with allows this, you can consult the Sherpa/Romeo database, which lists many international publishers' policies concerning Open Access.

3 - What is the "Gold Road"?

It is a form of Open Access that takes place by the publication of one's work in an open-access journal, immediately accessible to all, without subscription and fully peer-reviewed.

For the management of publication costs, open access journals can be distinguished into

  • journals that are fully accessible and free of charge for both readers and writers (you can find a list of these journals at DOAJ-Directory Open Access Journal);
  • journals that are totally accessible and free for the reader, but require the payment of a fee for the writer - the so-called APC-Article Processing Charges, which can be paid by the individual researcher or the research institution;
  • hybrid journals, i.e. journals that maintain their own subscription standards for traditional access, but can host individual Open Access articles against APCs' payment. Please note that the publishers of these journals benefit from a double income represented both by the fee required for the single article and the standard subscription payment, according to the so-called double-dipping mechanism.

4 - What is the "Green Road"?

It is a form of open access achieved by self-archiving one's publications on institutional or disciplinary open access repositories. While continuing to publish with publishers and in the traditional way, authors deposit a version of their work (pre-print, but mainly post-print or, if granted by publishers, the editorial version) in open repositories, respecting the agreements with the publishers themselves.

5 - What rights to my work do I retain if I publish in Open Access?

Open Access concerns the method of publication of a work, while the licence defines the rights attached to that work. In general, in Italy, the author's moral right, i.e., the work's authorship, is inalienable by law. The other rights connected to an open-access publication result from the negotiated relationship defined with the publisher. Among the rights to be verified are rights related to the sharing of the work, the production of derivative works, and commercial purposes. To verify the rights attached to a work, it is always advisable to refer to the contract stipulated with the publisher, or to the indication of the licence in the full text, where, generally, the words "All rights reserved" or one of the Creative Commons licences can be found.

6 - What are Creative Commons licences?

Creative Commons (CC) licences are modular licences, created at the beginning of the 2000s in the United States, which change the concept of 'All rights reserved' to 'Some rights reserved'. Through CC licences, the holder of the rights to the work clearly indicates to users how the work can be used, under what conditions, and what context. In particular, by combining the characteristics of Attribution - Commercial Uses - Derivative Works, the six main CC licences offer users a quick and easy tool to know, for example, whether they will be allowed to copy the work, modify it or distribute it commercially and so on.

Each licence is legally supported by the Legal Code, a contract between the licensor and any possible user of the product, referring to the country's legal rules where the licence applies and guarantees its legal relevance.

If you deposit in IRIS a product already published under a CC licence, you must replicate the licence indicated on the publication; help on how to do this is available here. If you are depositing your PhD thesis in IRIS, you are free to choose which uses of your work you wish to allow, as the rights to use your work have not been assigned to third parties.

7 - What is the APC?

An acronym for Article Processing Charge, this is a cost necessary to cover the cost of publication. The author or research organisation has to pay the publisher to be able to publish in Open Access journals that require it (around 30% of cases) or in traditional journals that offer Open Choice, i.e. the possibility of publishing a single paper in Open Access in a journal that does not, thus activating a double-dipping mode.

8 - Do Sapienza authors have facilitation to publish in Open Access?

Yes, since 2020 the Sapienza Library System has signed the first "transformative" contracts with some important international publishers. These contracts allow Sapienza authors to publish free of charge in Open Access: the Article Processing Charge (APC) cost is borne directly by SBS as part of the journal subscription contract.

A list of publishers with whom it is possible to publish in Open Access for free is available on the SBS website, together with the requirements for accessing the facilities.

In addition to transformative contracts, SBS also has "traditional" contracts in which discounts for Open Access publication are provided with certain publishers. In this case, the cost of APC remains the responsibility of the author.

9 - What is a version of a publication?

From the moment an author produces a "manuscript" until publication, the work undergoes a series of changes. The first version of the work is the pre-print, i.e. the author's draft, sent to the publisher for publication, but not yet peer-reviewed or accepted by the publisher. The next version is called the postprint; this is the peer-reviewed version accepted for publication that the publisher sends back to the author with the requested changes. Finally, the version published by the publisher is the editorial version. It is recognisable because it bears the publisher's layout and logos, as well as metadata such as journal name, page numbers, issue number, publication date, etc.

It is important to identify the publication version because different versions may be associated with different access policies. For example, a publisher may allow open access to a postprint but not to an editorial version.

10 - I am a PhD student, do I have to deposit my thesis in Open Access?

Yes, after the discussion of the final exam it is compulsory, according to art. 6, c. 11 of the D.M. 30.04.1999, record. n. 224/1999, to deposit one's own doctoral thesis in IRIS to give visibility to the research results carried out and allow the National Libraries of Rome and Florence to directly retrieve the theses by archiving and preserving them permanently.

It is possible not to make the thesis immediately available for open access, with an embargo period of a maximum of 12 months from the date of discussion, as expressly provided for in the University Policy for Open Access, in cases where the theses have already been submitted to a publisher and are therefore awaiting publication or have been financed by external bodies that have rights over them and their publication.

11 - What do I have to do to comply with the open access publication requirement of the main research funding programmes?

The main EU and national research funding programmes (e.g. Horizon 2020; PRIN) require mandatory open access publication of research results.

In most cases, there are two ways to fulfil this obligation:

  • gold road, i.e. publishing in Open Access journals also against payment of an APC, the costs of which are reimbursed by the funding body of the research;
  • green road, i.e. depositing a version following peer review in institutional or disciplinary repositories.

It is advisable to check the specific provisions planned by the individual institution funding the research. For example, Sapienza does not have a specific funding line to cover APC and Open Access publication costs but has included these costs among the eligible expenses in the University's calls for research.

12 - What is ORCID and how can I get it?

ORCID, an acronym for Open Researcher and Contributor ID, is a unique and persistent identifier assigned to each researcher and allows linking the author profile to the publications and the different activities carried out by the researcher.

ORCID is also the name of the public register of researcher identifiers, promoted and developed by a non-profit consortium that includes some of the most important scientific publishers. It is an "open" project developed with Open Source software released in CC. Unlike the other author identifiers, ORCID is a non-proprietary identifier; the public profile is visible on a non-commercial platform that is not tied to a specific database.

ORCID allows you to solve the problems of ambiguity and homonymy, to manage all the affiliations associated with your name, as well as those related to your professional career (including projects and funding) and, thanks to the integration with Web of Science and Scopus, to easily populate your author profile with all the publications indexed in the two databases.

To obtain an ORCID ID, register at

Besides, IRIS has a feature that allows you to associate your ORCID ID with your IRIS profile, or create one if it has not already been created. Once you have associated your ORCID ID with IRIS you can transfer your publication data between the two systems.



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