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Tips & Tricks Open Access

The process of Open Access publishing often starts with writing the project proposal. Staying informed on all the latest developments in the agreements with publishers and what is and isn’t allowed can be tricky. The University Library can offer help.

For questions about the information below or any other questions regarding Open Access, please contact the Open Access team via

This checklist for researchers can help you get started:
During project proposal
- Check if the research funding body has an OA policy or directive
- Check if a budget for APC’s (Article Processing Charges) can be included in the proposal
- Check if the research funding body has made other arrangements with publishers

During writing/submission of a manuscript
- Check in the VU Journal Publishing Guide if the journal of your choice allows Open Access publishing/if there is an OA-deal
- Check the information on the publisher's terms and workflow that may apply on the University Library website
- Make sure the corresponding author has an affiliation with the VU or VUmc
- In some cases, a waiver code or voucher must be applied for before submission (see the details listed for the different publishers). Please contact the University Library in these cases via
- If in doubt, please contact the University Library via

At submission
- Always use your VU or VUmc e-mail and work address
- Indicate during submission that you wish to publish OA or provide your waiver code

After publication
- Check on SHERPA/RoMEO which article version (e.g. pre-print or post-print) is free to be made publicly available at which time
- Upload the final version of the article in a reliable and sustainable repository like the PURE repository of the VU, with due observance of an embargo period if so required. VUmc researchers can find more information here:

PS: archiving research data in a repository and personal sharing of articles when requested contribute just as well to open and transparent science!

Free Access with the Open Access add-ons
Hitting a paywall when searching for literature because the University Library has no subscription? There are tools available that can assist you in your search for OA articles that are legally archived in several hundred repositories, like our own PURE repository:
•    Unpaywall: couple the add-on to your browser and it will automatically search for a legal Open Access pdf
•    Open Access Button; also searches for legally available OA articles while also providing the option to mail an automated share request to the author

More alternative ways to access journal articles: How to get the pdf?
VSNU and a number of publishers are negotiating open access, as part of the e-journal package subscription deals. Should this talk not result in new contracts, then publishers might switch off access to e-journals for students and staff of the universities involved. UKB, an association of libraries in the Netherlands, designed this infographic as a general guideline to help individual researchers in getting access to the PDF of an article, in case access via their own institution is difficult. Success is not guaranteed. Please consult your own university (medical) library for more specific information, advises UKB.
Overview of alternatives: How to get the pdf?

Predatory journals
Some publishers misuse the Open Access model with the sole purpose of making profit. These publishers charge hefty APC’s without providing adequate editorial services and peer review. They often mislead scientists by using prestigious names with a familiar ring. See Predatory Journals - how to recognize them or use the checklist of the Think. Check. Submit.-campaign to determine the reliability of a journal.