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Biological Sciences Libraries


Q. How can I check if my chosen journal meets my funder’s Open Access requirements?

Funders now have many different Open Access policies. You can check if your chosen journal meets your funder’s policies by using this Journal Checker Tool: The tool incorporates data from all the major funders, including UKRI. If you have any further questions or the information provided by the tool is unclear, please contact the Open Access team for assistance:

Q. What is rights retention?

Rights retention is a new strategy that aims to help researchers to publish in journals that are not otherwise compliant with Plan S Open Access policies (such as UKRI and Wellcome). Instead of paying charges to publish openly, rights retention allows the researcher to keep the rights to their author’s accepted manuscript so they can deposit it in their chosen repository without embargo. To find out more about how to do this, visit the Open Access website:

Cambridge is currently running a rights retention pilot (running from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023) where researchers can opt-in to be supported by the University in their negotiations with publishers about rights retention. For more information and to sign up for the pilot, see the following page:

For information on data availability statements, visit

Q. What do I do if a publisher doesn’t offer a CC-BY option?

You can request the journal to add a CC-BY licensing option to the agreement you sign. The Open Access team can help you with this negotiation process but only before you sign any agreement. Seek out their help as early as possible:

If you decide to sign the agreement without the CC-BY inclusion, the paper will not be eligible for payment of fees from the university block of grantsSee more about CC BY compliance and grants.

Please visit for a list of publishers that offer reduced costs for Open Access publishing due to the existing agreements.

If you are not funded, you may be eligible for publication under the Read & Publish agreement. Please contact with details and they will advise further.

Q. How do I choose the right journal?

The webpage Think Check Submit can help researchers to identify journals and publishers through a series of steps that will support your final decision.

Visit the page

Q. What are my data storage options (including for personal / sensitive data)?

A range of cloud-based and centralized storage options are available from UIS: 

In addition to the free allocations provided to all users and groups, there is a scheme (closing in 2022) by which PIs in the School of Biological Sciences can apply for additional free resources. Details here:

It is important to consider the confidentiality/sensitivity of data in choosing where to store it. The University guidelines and data security classification system can be found here: (see the links below the text for specific recommendations):

➤ Contact for advice:

➤ See also:

Q. I am new to the department. How do I access Symplectic Elements?

Your personal information is automatically transferred in from central HR. If you cannot access Symplectic this transfer might have been delayed. Please contact with your details.

Q. What is the ‘accepted manuscript’ that needs to be uploaded?

The accepted manuscript is the final author's manuscript which should be sent to you once the paper has been fully peer-reviewed and accepted for publication. It is usually a Word document. This is not the final version of record that appears on the publisher's website. For more information about different article versions, see this Moodle course:

Q. When should my manuscript be uploaded?

As soon as the manuscript has been accepted for publication it needs to be uploaded to the Open Access website. Visit and click on ‘Accepted for publication?’.

Q. Do I need to upload all the files I have for the submission of my manuscript?

Yes, please upload the manuscript and any supplementary information can be added as separate files. Please also consider uploading any supporting data to Symplectic - more instuctions about how to do this can be found on the Research Data website:

Q. Do I have to acknowledge the source of funding in Symplectic on submission?

Yes, If the work was done on a grant you can link it during the upload at the ‘Link Funding’ stage. Your Symplectic record will have a record of your grants, If the grant is not listed, select ‘Grant not listed’ and this can be updated at a later stage.

Q. Why do I need to submit grant information on Symplectic?

If you are funded by any UKRI institution, the source of funding acknowledged in the paper will help to decide whether or not you would be eligible for payment of Gold Open Access through the block grants.

Q. What do I do if I have no grant or funds to pay publication costs?

Check the Read & Publish site to see if the University has an agreement with the publishers of the journal. If they have then the cost of publishing may be covered by the agreement. Please contact with details and they will advise further.

NOTE: Please ensure that you qualify for open access under the terms of the agreement as listed below – This is important!

In each of these agreements all staff and students of the University may read journals published in the agreements and all researchers in the University may publish articles in the journals without incurring any article processing charge.

Identification as corresponding author

In order for your article submission to qualify as eligible under the agreements, you must be the responsible corresponding author and affiliated with the University of Cambridge.  In the article submission process you must identify yourself as affiliated with the University of Cambridge and/or you must use your email address (or sub-domain in the format

Q. Do “Read & Publish” deals cover all types of submissions?

No, the agreements do not cover reports, case studies, abstracts, reviews. In most cases, the agreements only cover research articles.

Please check with the Open Access team for more information:

Q. How do I check my chosen journal's policy on self-archiving (sometimes known as Green OA)?

Use Sherpa Romeo: This is an online resource that analyse publishers' open access policies. It will display if the journal can be self-archived in an institutional repository.

Q. What is an embargo period?

An embargo period can be set once an accepted article has been deposited into Symplectic. This means that the metadata about the article can be seen (including the DOI connecting to the version of record) but the full text is not available to view. Embargo periods are usually set by publishers and are somewhere between 6-12 months, after which the accepted version of the article becomes fully available on the repository.

Q. Should I sign a copyright/OA (open access) agreement?

We advise that you do not sign any copyright /Open Access agreements before your accepted manuscript is uploaded to Symplectic. The Open Access team can then advise which option to choose:

Q. I’m being asked to sign a copyright agreement or OA (open access) option on submission?

If this is the case, please contact the Open Access team for advice:

Q. Elements upgraded: What's changed?

  • Improved navigation 
  • Clearer actions
  • Structured publications view
  • Updated categories of research output
  • Notifications

Visit the dedicated share-point page 'Research Information' (Raven only*)

*If you have any problems accessing the page with your Cambridge login, please contact