Open Access @HKU

Items in open access (OA) are digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. Users anywhere in the world may read, download, copy distribute, print, search, or link to these items.

A growing number of research funders now make it a condition of grant that a duplicate of any research paper be placed in a Repository for open access. These mandates are applied as a condition of grant, so resulting research papers can have archiving conditions already attached before submission to any journal.

Open access Publishing: When referring to OA publishing, it is important to distinguish between two different approaches, sometimes called Gold OA and Green OA. The distinction between gold and green is only about venues, and not about user rights, or “fee or free”. The two approaches are defined below:

  • Green OA: the author self-archives into his or her personal web page, departmental web page, or institutional repository, some version of his or her article (preprint, postprint, or published version).
  • Gold OA: the publisher places the authored item in open access within the published journal. Some journals are OA, without fees involved. Other journals may charge the author, his or her institution or funding body, an “OA charge” so that the article may be placed in OA. This last model is sometimes called the “hybrid model”. The usual fee is US$ 3,000 per article.
  • The two approaches are not incompatible and can co-exist. Other conditions may or may not also be involved, such as embargoes, permission statements, etc.

Further reading on Open Access

Horizon 2020 Open Access infographic

OA Funders in HK

More and more funding agencies require that publications resulting from funding will be made available via Open Access.

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, important types of RGC funding now require researchers to deposit a version of their papers in their institutional repository (if the publisher’s version is not available Open Access).


UGC / RGC Funding Schemes

GC Early Career Scheme (ECS1) form – Aug 2018 – section 10 (page 12)

General Research Fund (GRF1) form – Aug 2018 – section 10 (page 13)

Collaborative Research Fund (CRF(E)1) form – May 2018 – section 12 (page 15)

National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) / RGC Joint Research Scheme (NSFC/RGC 2) form – Revised May 2018 – section 12 (page 17)

The French National Research Agency (Agence Nationale de la Recherche, ANR) / RGC Joint Research Scheme (ANR/RGC 2) form – January 2019 – section 8 (page 19)

European Union (EU)-Hong Kong (HK) Research and Innovation Cooperation Co-funding Mechanism by the RGC (EU/RGC 2) form – October 2018 – section 10 (page 19)

…undertake[s] that upon acceptance of a paper for publication

  1. I will check whether the publisher already allows (A) full open access to the publisher’s version, or (B) my depositing a copy of the paper (either the publisher’s version or the final accepted manuscript after peer-review) in the university’s repository for open access;
  2. if both (i) (A) and (B) are not allowed, I will request the publisher to allow me to place either version in my university’s repository for restricted access immediately upon publication or after an embargo period of up to twelve months if required by the publisher; and
  3. subject to the publisher’s agreement on (i) or (ii) above, I will deposit a copy of the publication in my university’s repository as early as possible but no later than six months after publication or the embargo period, if any

Submit your papers & other research output to the HKU Institutional Repository (HKU Scholars Hub).

Need help or have questions? Contact us.

Overseas - Governments


The Australian Research Council (ARC) – Open Access Policy & National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Open Access Policy both require that any publications resulting from their funding must deposited in an open access archive within 12 months.


Draft Tri-Agency Open Access Mandate

New Zealand

New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing (NZGOAL) framework set in place in 2010 encourages all publically funded bodies in New Zealand to use Creative Commons licensing in releasing their work.

Open Access in Aotearoa New Zealand – by Creative Commons Aotearoa/New Zealand


Research Councils UK Open Access Policies

Wellcome Trust Open Access Policy


Publication Policies of Major Research Funders - compiled by MIT

©HKUST Library - used with permission

OA Publishing for HKU Authors

The Office of Knowledge Exchange and the University Libraries have made agreements with the several publishers below, which allow HKU authors in some cases to publish in Open Access journals for free(!), and in other cases at a discount. Open Access can increase the readership of your articles, with a faster discovery rate, than can publishing articles behind a subscription wall. Increased readership can lead to increases in citations, offers of collaboration, etc. Please also explore the possibility of your grant funder paying the OA charges. The publishers:


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS)

Because HKU Libraries have a paid subscription to this journal, the publishers will allow a discount on article processing charges. After discount the APC is US$ 1,000. Exact information is still not confirmed. However the publisher advises that the author cannot claim this benefit, but that after an author has done online submission and choosing Open Access, the Libraries must then write to PNAS and claim this benefit.

BioMed Central

HKU has a Supporter Membership with BioMed Central. If the affiliation of the submitting author (author who uses the BMC online submission system) is HKU, then there will be a 15% discount. Therefore if you are one of the co-authors on a paper, please check with your other co-authors to determine which of their affiliations if any, have Supporter or Prepaid Memberships with BMC. Then the co-author of the affiliation with the most BMC discount could submit the article through BMC's online submission system. BMC writes,

When submitting a manuscript, either via a journal home page or via our online submission system, you will be identified as belonging to a member institution and automatically granted an article processing charge waiver if you are within your institution's firewall. If you are at home or at an external terminal when submitting your paper, you can still claim a waiver by starting your affiliation to your institution.


Because of the HKU Supporter Membership of BioMed Central (above), HKU authors (submitting author) may also claim a 15% discount in SpringerOpen journals. Submission process is the same as in BMC above.


As HKU Libraries is one of the member libraries of JULAC (Joint University Librarians Advisory Committee), which is a partner of SCOAP3 - Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics, HKU authors can publish in SCOAP3 journals at NO cost.

Bentham Science Publishers

HKU is a member of Bentham OPEN, which allows a 50% discount for HKU corresponding authors, and any HKU co-author. To receive this 50% discount, authors must include this code in cover letters, when submitting manuscripts: BOMI-HKU/01.

Policy Press

As a subscriber of Policy Press, HKU authors can enjoy a 20% APC discount on all Policy Press journals. Please quote the customer number (CU-0128046) when making enquiries about open access with Policy Press.

Directory of Open Access Journals

There are many more OA journals, many with no OA charges. The Directory of Open Access Journals lists 10,000+ journal titles, searchable by title, ISSN, and subject area.


Open SageExpired

The HKU Office of Knowledge Exchange has pre-paid article processing charges for 100 articles for HKU authors. The price to HKU authors wishing open access publishing in this journal is free. Submitting articles for this journal is done from this page.

On their submission page, in step 5, there is a box for “Pre-paid arrangemens”. In this box, the author doing the submission must enter a special CODE. To get this CODE, can you please write to and ask for it, while also giving the title of your intended article and names of any co-authors with their affiliations. Inputting this CODE does not guarantee article acceptance.

Please note that although the main author, the corresponding author, or even the person doing the article submission does not have HKU affiliation, if one of the co-authors has HKU affiliation, then that co-author must inform the person doing the article submission with the CODE, in order to receive this benefit.

Public Library of Science (PLoS)Expired

The HKU Office of Knowledge Exchange has paid for an institutional membership, HKU authors who are the corresponding authors, may publish in any Public Library of Science journal with a 10% discount. To receive this discount, you must claim, “The University of Hong Kong” from a pulldown screen in the online submission process. (an example)

HKUL OA Policy


  1. In November 2009, Prof Tsui, Vice Chancellor of HKU, became signatory to the Berlin Declaration on Open Access.

    Signatories of this declaration are asked to,

    • implement a policy to require their researchers to deposit a copy of all their published articles in an open access repository and
    • encourage their researchers to publish their research articles in open access journals where a suitable journal exists and provide the support to enable that to happen.

  2. HKU’s strategic plan, and statements on vision and mission now recognize that HKU and its researchers have an obligation for Knowledge Exchange with our community. By sharing our intellectual output, we and our community can realize greater benefits economically, socially, and intellectually.


The University Libraries have unanimously agreed to adopt the Open Access Policy below:

OA Policy, 19 Feb 2010

The University of Hong Kong Libraries is committed to disseminating the fruits of its research and scholarship as widely as possible. In keeping with that commitment, the Libraries adopts the following policy: Each Libraries member grants to The University of Hong Kong nonexclusive permission to make available scholarly articles to which he or she has made substantial intellectual contributions publicly available as part of the HKU Scholars Hub, or its successor, and to exercise the copyright in those articles for the purpose of open dissemination. In legal terms, each Libraries member grants to HKU a nonexclusive, irrevocable, paid-up, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of his or her scholarly articles, in any medium, provided that the articles are not sold for a profit, and to authorize others to do the same. The policy will apply to all scholarly articles written while the person is a member of the Libraries except for any articles completed before the adoption of this policy and any articles for which the Libraries member entered into an incompatible licensing or assignment agreement before the adoption of this policy. The Librarian, or the Librarian's designate will waive application of the policy for a particular article upon written notification by the author, who informs HKUL of the reason.

In order to assist the Libraries in distributing the scholarly articles, on or before date of publication, members agree to,

  1. request permission from intended publishers for permission to archive the published version, or the author's manuscript in The HKU Scholars Hub. Members will report the result of this query to the Librarians's designate. Requesting can be done by including an Author’s Addendum to the publisher, at the same time the manuscript is submitted.

  2. regardless of the outcome of number one above, make available an electronic copy of his or her final version of the article (i.e., the author's manuscript or postprint), at no charge, to the Librarian’s designate in appropriate formats (such as PDF) specified by the Librarian's Office.

The term “scholarly articles” includes articles prepared for presentation or publication, whether in electronic or print media. Other scholarly works in connection with the Libraries member’s academic or professional activities may be included at the discretion of the member.

The Librarian's Office will make the scholarly article available to the public in an open-access repository, the HKU Scholars Hub, or its successor. The Office of the Librarian will be responsible for interpreting this policy, resolving disputes concerning its interpretation and application, and recommending future changes.

The policy is to take effect immediately; it will be reviewed after five years by the Librarian, with a report given to HKUL members.