Open Access

What is Open Access?
Open Access (OA) is about making research outputs freely accessible. The University supports the principles of Open Access and is committed to making the outputs of its research as widely available as possible. Open Access means that research outputs are made available online at no charge to the reader, and that any restrictions on re-use are minimised. The aim is to give researchers, members of the public, and industry access to all the research they need and to give them the freedom to build upon research already carried out.Open Access applies to all digital material, but current discussions focus mostly on peer-reviewed research articles published in scholarly journals or conference proceedings.Below you can find out more about the ‘Green’ and Gold’ routes to Open Access, the benefits of Open Access and how you can meet Open Access requirements for the REF, funders and SHU.
Be ready for the REF

To be eligible for the next Research Excellence Framework (REF) your journal articles and conference proceedings with an ISSN number must be deposited in SHURA within three months of the date of acceptance for publication.

Routes to journal Open Access: ´green´ and ´gold´

The ‘gold’ route to Open Access consists of publishing in a journal that provides immediate Open Access on the publisher’s website, often after paying an Article Processing Charge (APC) to cover publication costs.

The ‘green’ route to Open Access (‘self-archiving’) consists of depositing the final peer-reviewed copy (‘post-print’) of an article in an institutional (SHU’s respository is called SHURA) or subject repository in parallel with conventional publication. Your deposit may be subject to a publisher’s embargo.


Depositing your research outputs

Find out how to use Elements to deposit your research and learn about depositing in your research outputs

In order to be eligible for the next REF, journal articles and conference proceedings with an ISSN number must be deposited in an the SHURA, no later than three months after the point of acceptance for publication.

You may also be interested in finding out more about sharing your research outputs and what you publisher allows.

‘Funding for ´Gold´ Open Access’

Your manuscript: pre-prints, post-prints and publisher´s versions

Funders and publishers acknowledge three phases in the writing of a manuscript.  It is helpful to understand the different phases of a manuscript when you are considering Open Access as you will for example, need to deposit the ‘post-print’ version on SHURA.

  • Pre-print or author original manuscript: anything up to and including your final draft, but before peer review
  • Post-print or accepted manuscript: the version that has been accepted for publication including any revisions or modifications made during the peer-review process, but without the publisher’s formatting
  • Publisher’s version or version of record: the final version of the article as it appears on the publisher’s website complete with formatting and pagination. The publisher’s formatting is owned by the publisher, independent of the actual article content.


Meeting Open Access requirements

Please make sure that you understand and meet Open Access requirements:

The University’s policy for open access to publications: Academic Board endorsed a policy in 2014 that requires researchers to add a record of all publications to SHURA on acceptance and to deposit a copy as soon as possible afterwards. SHU Open Access publication policy

HEFCE REF policy for Open Access: This states that for the next REF, articles and conference papers (published with an ISSN) that are accepted after 1 April 2016 must be deposited into SHURA within 3 months of the date of acceptance.  Open Access and the REF

Funders requirements for Open Access: For example, UKRI’s (formerly RCUK) policy on Open Access states that all peer-reviewed research papers that acknowledge UKRI funding submitted for publishing from 1 April 2013 onwards, and that are published in journals and conference proceedings, must be made publicly available through Open Access. Funder Open Access requirements

The benefits of Open Access
  • Opening up access: Traditional journal subscription models meant that access was restricted to those who can afford to subscribe or belong to an organisation that subscribes. With Open Access anyone can have access to research outputs.
  • Higher citation rates: The Open Access Citation Advantage Service identified 70 studies up to 2015 on whether or not there is a citation advantage for Open Access articles. Most studies (46) found a citation advantage, in some cases of up to 600%. Recent studies have confirmed this, for example a study by H. Piwowar et al. published on 2 August 2017.
  • Increased access and discoverability: Your work gets more exposure and collaborators, researchers, practitioners and the public, both nationally and internationally, can easily find and access it without any barriers.