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PolyU Library

Open Access

This guide provides information and resources in open access and scholarly publishing.

Publish Open Access Articles using Library's TA

The recent uptake in Open Access mandates from funders, including RGC, has led to more authors seeking to publish OA and deposit their works in institutional repositories. Publishers have been transforming their business models to comply with funders’ requirements. University libraries have also started exploring journal subscription contracts, hoping to get the best arrangement for researchers to read scientific articles and to publish in Open Access. 


Publish Open Access Articles in Journals without APC

The PolyU Library's Transformative Agreement (or known as Read & Publish Agreement) with publishers lets PolyU researchers publish in their publications with Article Processing Charge (APC) fully waived during the eligible period while having full reading access to their publications based on Library’s subscription.


What is a Transformative Agreement? 

Transformative agreements, also known as transitional or "read and publish" agreements, are contracts signed between universities and publishers that transform the business model underlying scholarly publishing towards a fully open access model. 

The Library has been working closely with various publishers to obtain cost-effective Transformative Agreements (or Read-and-Publish agreements) for PolyU researchers. In these agreements with the publishers, PolyU corresponding authors may benefit from a full waiver of APC to publish their work with an Open Access option.

General Procedure to apply for an APC waiver via Library's TA

If you are publishing your article with Open Access option in eligible publications via Library's TA, here are the steps and things to take note of at different publishing stages. 

Stages Steps Things to take note

Manuscript Submission
& Review

1. Go to the homepage of your journal and click Submit your article.

2. Complete the submission form.

Make sure the corresponding author uses PolyU affiliation, address and email for submission.

Manuscript Accepted
for Publication

3. Once the article has been accepted, follow the instructions in the acceptance email, fill in and submit the Open Access Author Publishing Agreement (APA).

4. Choose a Creative Commons license which will determine how readers can use your article.

Do make sure PolyU’s affiliation is appearing on the manuscript at the time of acceptance. This will affect whether the APC can be waived or not.

Creative Commons licenses consist of a suite of licenses that permit others to use, distribute and reproduce your work, as long as the work is properly cited. Commonly used ones include: CC BY, CC BY-NC, and CC BY-NC-ND. Learn more here.

APC Transaction
Process (Only for publishers using Rightslink system)

5. Within 48 hours after APA is submitted, you will receive an email from Rightslink system requesting to settle APC. Choose “Seek funding from PolyU” and complete the form.

Register a Rightslink account if you haven’t done so. This is a required step in order to claim the APC waiver.

Publication Online

6. Your article is published in Open Access!   


1.  Does the Library's transformative agreement (TA) with publisher have a limited quota per year for Article Processing Charge (APC) waivers? If yes, how does it work?

Yes, and currently this quota applies only to two publishers, Wiley and Springer Nature. For the other publishers that we have agreements with, there is no specific quota in place. For TAs with APC waiver quotas, a limited number of waivers are offered by the publishers on a first-come-first-served basis. When the quota is reached for a given year, further APC waivers will no longer be available until the subsequent year. More details on the Library's agreements with different publishers can be found here.

2.  What happens when quotas for APC waivers are all utilised?

Transformative agreements vary depending on the business strategies of publishers. Some publishers impose a quota on APC waivers for publishing open access papers for each institution. Hence, when the quotas for APC waivers are fully utilised within a given year, no further waivers will be available until the next calendar year within our licensing period with the designated publisher. However, researchers still have the following options to make their articles open access:

  1. Deposit in PolyU Institutional Research Archive (PIRA): Researchers can publish their articles without the open access option and deposit the final accepted manuscripts in PIRA. Learn more about OA Archiving and how to deposit your work in PIRA.
  2. Self-funding: Researchers can choose to pay the APCs themselves using their research funding (if available) to publish their articles with the open access option.

3.  The current quotas for APC waivers have been fully utilised. Can the Library increase the quotas for APC waivers with the publishers?

The Library is unable to increase the quotas for APC waivers should they be fully utilised before the end of the year. This is because the quotas for APC waivers are established as part of our signed agreements with the publishers and these agreements are based on several factors, including the number of publications from the last few years and potential number of research outputs of our researchers. The Library will closely monitor the situation and make suitable adjustments to better support our researchers whilst ensuring cost-effectiveness of open access publishing for the University. 

4.  From the point of submitting my manuscript to being ready for publication, the time for this process can be long and quite varied. Hence at which point will the “first-come-first served” APC waivers be utilised?

Different publishers have varying workflows from author submission to the administration of APC waivers, hence, the final utilisation of APC waivers is dependent on publishers' process. Typically, at some point in the submission or editorial process, you, as the corresponding author, will be asked to confirm your institutional affiliation and if you would choose to publish Open Access (OA). If you have indicated that you wish to publish OA, the publishers will request the Library to verify the eligibility of the corresponding author (current PolyU staff or student). 

5.  The publisher of the journals I usually publish in does not have a TA with PolyU. What can I do to make my articles open access?

If the publisher of the journals you usually publish in does not have a transformative agreement with PolyU, you have the following options to make your article open access:

  1. Deposit in PolyU Institutional Research Archive (PIRA): You can publish your article without the open access option and deposit the final accepted manuscript in PIRA. Learn more about OA Archiving and how to deposit your work in PIRA.
  2. Self-funding: You can choose to pay the APC yourself using your research funding (if available) to make your article open access.

Our Library will continue to participate in conversations with publishers to establish a cost-effective and sustainable deal that benefits our University in the long run.

6.  The journal publication of my article is not covered in any of the agreements obtained by the Library. How can I still go OA to fulfil the requirements by the University and/or RGC?

Many authors publish articles in journals that are only accessible by paid subscribers. Authors can still go OA by sharing a version of the work in an OA repository. In PolyU, researchers are required to deposit the final accepted manuscript in PIRA, our institutional repository, if the work is not published in open access. This is the other option to make your work OA. Learn more about OA Archiving and how to deposit your work in PIRA.

7.  Will there be any difference in the review process if I publish my article OA?

No. Whether you choose to publish OA or keep your article behind a paywall, your article will undergo the same rigorous peer review to sustain the high quality of the journals. The editor’s decision to accept or reject your article won't be affected by the mode you choose either. The only difference takes place after your paper gets accepted. If you publish in OA, your article will be immediately available to everyone, and as an author, you retain the copyright of your article.

8.  Will Library's agreement with publishers cover OA publications for books?

No, so far all the agreements obtained by the Library do not cover book publications. For details about what types of publications are covered, please check the corresponding publisher's webpage about the OA agreement listed at this guide.

9.  Will Library work with other publishers to obtain APC waiver for PolyU researchers to publish in OA?

Yes. As a read-and-publish agreement combines the subscription cost to access journals by our researchers (READ) and the payment for publishing articles in Open Access by PolyU authors via waived APC (PUBLISH), the price of the agreement will be determined by a variety of factors, including the current and future trend of PolyU's authorship with their journals. Our Library will continue to participate in conversations with publishers in order to establish a cost-effective and sustainable deal that benefits our University in the long run, particularly one that limits the chance of "double-dipping" by the publishers and agreements that would really be transformative in a long run where contracts negotiated between institutions and publishers will transform the business model underlying scholarly publishing towards a model that is fully open access. Learn more about our current Transformative Agreements here.