Open Access and Repository

For any training or support queries, contact Open Access support team - or
Scott McGowan - Research Support Librarian, email: or tel: +44 (0)1782 734506
Hannah Reidy - Research Quality Assistant, email: or tel: +44 (0)1782 733588

What is Open Access?

The Open Access (OA) movement is based on the idea that publicly funded academic research should be made available to the public to ensure the work reaches the widest possible audience.

Open Access research papers are usually made available through online repositories (i.e. online collections of research documents and data), or through academic journals. Repositories can be subject-based online collections or repositories in educational institutions. As research is also published in academic journals, these too have become another source of OA material. Some publishers have created entirely new Open Access journal titles, and many existing high-impact titles have also developed options for authors to make their work OA.

The main point is that through either route, OA material is online and free to any reader at the point of access. Broadly speaking, making material OA on a repository is called the “Green route”, and making material OA through a journal is known as the “Gold route”.

Many studies have identified the benefits resulting from the growth of OA publishing, including wider readership, more downloads and a "citation boost" for journal papers or research outputs.

The REF 2021 Open Access policy

REF 2021 requires certain research outputs are deposited in an online institutional or subject repository when they are accepted for publication. The policy was originally developed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), and has since been adopted by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The policy states that to be eligible for submission to REF-2021, authors’ final peer-reviewed manuscripts must have been deposited in an institutional or subject repository on acceptance for publication. This ONLY applies to journal papers and conference papers (with ISSNs), but credit is also given for other types of publications. The policy applies to journal papers and conference papers accepted for publication on or after 1 April 2016.

Publications accepted after this date should be deposited on the Keele Research Repository within 12 weeks of the date of acceptance. Instructions on how to do this are below in the section Open Access and REF 2021 - common questions.

The version which should be deposited is the final word document (or document converted to PDF) which includes any changes for peer review - and which was then finally accepted for publication by the journal. This is also known as the "accepted version", or "author's post-print".

Research Councils and other funding bodies have also embraced OA policies. As a condition of funding, grant holders may now be required to make resulting publications OA.

Research Councils UK’s (RCUK) OA policy states that from 1 April 2013 peer reviewed research papers which result from research that is wholly or partially funded by the Research Councils must be published in journals which are compliant with RCUK policy on OA.

Open Access and REF 2021 - common questions

What do I need to do?
To make your journal and conference papers eligible for REF 2021, upload your accepted manuscript to the Keele Publications Database or email it directly to the repository team at

Visit our Research and Innovation Support page for details on how to use the research database or to find out more about REF 2021.

When should you do this?
Within 12 weeks of the date the paper was finally accepted for publication - don't wait for your paper to be published, deposit it within 12 weeks.

What do we mean by accepted manuscript?
Your final word-processed author version which includes changes from peer-review, which was then finally accepted for publication.

Can we really do this before the journal/series actually publishes the paper?
Yes - in most cases the journal will ask repository managers to set an "embargo" on release of the accepted version of the paper - usually between 6 and 24 months depending on the publisher. We set all this on the repository system for you. The repository record will provide a web link to the published "version of record".

What about books and book chapters?
These don't have to be made open access to be eligible for REF 2021 - only journal papers, and conference papers which are being published in a series with an ISSN (International Standard Serial Number).

Do you need to pay for Open Access? - Green and Gold explained.
No - most journals allow you to deposit your manuscripts open access through university repositories without charge. In meeting the obligations of REF 2021 and/or the OA policy of the funding body which has provided the grant for the research, authors need to ensure their work is made OA through one of the available routes (“Gold” or “Green”).

Green Open Access
In this model, authors publish a copy of their paper in a journal or elsewhere in the traditional way, and then self-archive in an OA repository. For Keele academics, this can be done through the Symplectic publications database, which enables publishing to Keele’s Research Repository. Most publishers will allow the author’s final version to be deposited in this way without any charges (but NOT the final published version as it appears in the journal).

How can I check my journal's open access policy and how long their Green open access embargo is?
Use the SHERPA/RoMEO website to check your journal's policy on self-archiving your accepted author manuscript on our repository under Green open access. This website is particularly useful if you wanted to check the length of embargo (i.e. delayed release) asked for by a journal, and whether it is within the maximum times stated by the 2021 REF rules, i.e. 12 months for Panels A and B, 24 months for C and D. If in doubt, or your journal is not listed on SHERPA, get in touch with the open access team.

Gold Open Access
Here, authors publish a copy of their research papers in Open Access (or partially OA) peer-reviewed academic journals or conference proceedings. Many publishers levy a so-called Article Processing Charge (APC) for this. Once accepted for publication, the publisher places the final version of your research paper on their website and makes it freely available under an OA licence. It is important to carefully check any licence agreements that you sign to make sure that you are allowed to deposit the published final version in repositories without restriction.

Keele advocates the Green OA route, please see Keele's Open Access policy, and has put in place staff and resources to help academics in publishing their work to the Keele Research Repository. There are some funds available for APCs, however these are limited and will be considered on application from the academic concerned. Please contact

Help with Open Access costs and publisher agreements

Cambridge University Press
The University’s subscription agreement with Cambridge University Press enables unlimited open access publishing of research, review, or rapid communication format articles by Keele corresponding authors in participating journals from 1 January 2020. This agreement lasts until 31 December 2021.

  • Deal applies to all journals in the Cambridge Core journal collection, both open access and subscription-based (List of journals).
  • Available for all Keele corresponding authors, regardless of funding. The deal covers the full cost of Article Processing Charges.

To be eligible the paper must -

  • Have the corresponding author affiliated with Keele.
  • Be original research – eligible article types are “research articles”, “review articles” and “rapid communications”, “brief reports” and “case reports”.
  • Be accepted for publication in a journal from the above CUP list.
  • Be accepted for publication between 1 January 2021 and 31 December 2024.

For more information on the deal and the author workflow, see this website. or

Oxford University Press
The University’s 2021-23 subscription agreement with Oxford University Press enables open access publishing of research and review articles in all of OUP's participating journals for corresponding authors from Keele. For 2021 OUP guarantees the open access publication of all research and review articles. For the remaining two years of the deal, data for 2021 will be reviewed and the agreement amended or maintained for the remainder of the term.

  • Deal enables open access publication for Keele corresponding authors for a range of journals (List of participating journals).
  • Available for research articles and review articles only.
  • Keele authors need to set up a login on the OUP Author Services site to work through the publication process; (Instructions for authors).
  • When setting up an author profile, please use your Keele email address so that the system can identify you as eligible for open access fees to be waived.
  • Select the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence for your paper when prompted.

SAGE JISC Open Access Agreement 2020-2022
From Summer 2020, Keele authors can now publish open access in 900+ SAGE subscription journals at no extra cost, thanks to a new UK Jisc Agreement running between 2020 and 2022.
You must be a corresponding author at Keele and publishing an article in one of the subscription journals in the current SAGE Premier package. More details on the titles covered are available from this website; Please note that Sage’s pure Gold Open Access journals are not covered by the full discount and researchers would still need to obtain funding for publication in these titles.
Authors in the included journals do not need to take any action to benefit from this offer. SAGE will email contact all eligible authors to inform them of the Open Access agreement once their accepted article has been received into SAGE’s Production department.

Springer Journals Open Access fee waiver
If you are a Keele corresponding author on a paper accepted for publication by a Springer journal, you may be able to publish open access through the journal with no fee through our current library subscription deal.
Our Springer Compact agreement can be invoked as Keele researchers complete the post acceptance publication form, allowing immediate open access publication of their paper. Please note the agreement applies to a specified list of journals, which you can check on the Springer website alongside guidance for corresponding authors.

Taylor & Francis
Keele’s 2021-23 subscription agreement with Taylor & Francis provides,

  • Immediate open access publishing for all research and review articles by Keele corresponding authors in participating hybrid journals across Taylor & Francis' Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Technology, and Medicine Collections.
  • There is an annual funding cap in place for this agreement. This deal is in place from 1 January 2021 until 31 December 2023.
  • During the submission process, Keele authors must use their institutional email address, to be identified as eligible for the deal.

More details on this agreement are available from the following website;

UKRI block award
To assist with Research Councils UK’s OA policy Keele has received financial support for APCs (UK Research Council funded papers only) through a block grant to the University for those choosing the Gold OA route. Authors wishing to explore this option should first email, ideally prior to submission of your paper. Decisions on allocating funds are made by the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research and Enterprise).

Wiley JISC Open Access Agreement
Keele is included in a new four-year JISC open access publication agreement with Wiley.
Authors affiliated with UK institutions participating in Wiley’s Jisc agreement may publish primary research and review articles in any of Wiley’s fully gold Open Access or Wiley’s hybrid (subscription), OnlineOpen journals with no further open access costs to the author (subject to availability of national funds and confirmation of author affiliation by Keele staff managing the open access account).
To be eligible:

  • Your manuscript must have been accepted on or after 2 March 2020
  • You must be the corresponding author who is affiliated with Keele
  • You must publish open access in a fully gold OA journal or a hybrid (subscription) journal that offers OnlineOpen
  • All primary research and review articles qualify
  • This agreement cannot be used to cover additional charges (e.g. cover, color, and page charges), which individual journals administer separately.

Full details of the Wiley scheme are available from this website;

For more opportunities, see our Research funding page.

Training and support

One to one appointments
We are happy to meet with you to discuss any issues or queries regarding Open Access, the repository, Symplectic, Open Access funding or REF policy. We can also arrange any training that you require. To book an appointment with a member of the Repository Team please email us at and we can make arrangements with you.

Training sessions
We also run a training session through the Academic Development 'Essential Skills for Researchers' series administered by the Keele Institute for Innovation and Teaching Excellence (KIITE), entitled 'Making the most of Open Access to extend the reach of your research'. See our Information skills for research page for further details.

For further support, contact

Other useful links

For more information, see our RAISE Open Access page.