Q. What is the author accepted manuscript (AAM)?
The AAM is your version of the manuscript which has been accepted for publication by the publisher following changes made during peer review. If the document has been typeset or copy-edited by the publisher (such as proofs or the final published version of record) then it is not an AAM. AAMs prepared in a journal template are acceptable (such as ‘camera-ready’ manuscripts), however if the document has received page numbers or a DOI then it is not an AAM.
Q. I have no funders or my funder has no Open Access requirements (e.g. a College fellowship). Do I need to do anything?
Yes. You still need to send us the accepted manuscript upon acceptance as you will still be covered by the HEFCE policy. If you have co-authors whose funders have an Open Access policy, that will also apply to the paper and you will need to comply, even if you didn’t receive the funding yourself.
Q. I’m using arXiv, BioarXiv or another preprint server. Do I still need to upload my article?
At present, yes. We need to know about your article for HEFCE reporting and so that we can advise you on any other action you might need to take (e.g., for RCUK or COAF). We are exploring ways of having these servers communicate with our Repository but this is not yet in place. You should also make sure that you are not breaching publisher copyright by making your work available in this way. If in doubt, please contact the Open Access team.
Q. I’m publishing Gold Open Access in an OA journal (e.g. PLOS). Do I still need to upload the AAM?
Yes. There are several reasons why you should do this. First, according to current HEFCE guidance the article must be in a repository to be eligible for the REF. It is not sufficient to be freely available on a publisher website. It also needs to be deposited within three months of acceptance – which in some cases may be before publication. Second, it allows us to advise you on the correct Open Access option to select if there is a choice. Third, if there is a fee to be paid and you are funded by RCUK or COAF, it allows us to confirm your eligibility for financial assistance, to commit funds from our block grants and to provide you with instructions on how to have the publishers’ invoice us directly.
Q. My journal asks me to sign a copyright agreement or commit to an Open Access option on submission, not acceptance. Can I get in touch earlier?
Yes. Please upload your manuscript to www.openaccess.cam.ac.uk as soon as you are asked to make such a decision and before filling in any forms. It would be helpful if you could add a note in the comments field to tell us the article has not yet been accepted. We will then be able to advise you and if necessary commit funds, though we might have to ask for an updated version of the manuscript following acceptance for deposit into the Repository.
Q. Should I upload my back-catalogue of articles?
You can if you wish, however it is not necessary. HEFCE has a 3-month window from acceptance so anything older than that can’t be made to comply. For HEFCE and COAF, we can’t make things comply if they are more than 6 months from publication. So, with anything published more than 6 months ago there is little we can do to make things comply. If you want to add older articles to the Repository, it may be better to contact the Repository team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. What happens after I upload my article?
The manuscript and the details you added to the website come to the Open Access team. We then check out which funder policies apply and what the journal’s copyright policies allow. We’ll then get back to you with advice on what you need to do (if anything) and – if you are eligible for funds from the block grant – we’ll commit funds and give you instructions for how to have publishers bill us directly. We’ll also add the manuscript to the Repository if publisher policy allows.