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 ultimately more citations for journal papers or research outputs made available under this model.

Why is it important now?

The new Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) Policy for Open Access (OA) in the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) states that to be eligible for submission to the post-2014 REF, 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 What Do I Need To Do?

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 recently updated their 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.

To assist with Research Councils UK’s OA policy Keele has received financial support for APCs (RCUK funded papers only) through a block grant to the University for those choosing the Gold OA route (see below). Authors wishing to explore this option should email: research.openaccess@keele.ac.uk, or contact David Amigoni, the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Enterprise.

What are the Open Access options?

What Are The Open Access Options?

The Open Access agenda has not heralded the end of academic journals - far from it. It does not dispense with the long-established processes (e.g. peer-review) around publishing academic work in journals.

However, in meeting the obligations of the post-2014 REF and 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).

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 a 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 research.openaccess@keele.ac.uk

What do I need to do?

As soon as you have a paper accepted for publication you must log in to the Publications Database and (1) enter the details of your publication and (2) upload your final, accepted author manscript. Videos are provided below to show you how to do this.

We strongly advise that staff do this as soon as possible after their paper is accepted - the HEFCE REF policy insists on manuscrupts being uploaded within 12 weeks of the date of acceptance.

If you do not upload your manuscript within 12 weeks, the publiction can not be submitted for the next REF.

The version of your journal paper we need for the repository is your final word document which you drafted that included any changes for peer review - and which was then finally accepted for publication by the journal. This is also known as the "accepted version" of your paper, or "author's post-print".

When depositing your paper for the repository, make sure you are providing the correct version. Unless you have paid for Gold Open Access (see the section above), DO NOT UPLOAD THE FINAL PUBLISHED VERSION OF YOUR PAPER, AS RELEASED ON THE PUBLISHER'S WEBSITE.

Most journals (but not all) mandate authors to deposit their accepted manuscripts on institutional repositories, under "Green" Open Access. The main condition they ask is that the manuscript is embargoed (or held back) from release to the public for a set time after it is published.

If there is an embargo you can still deposit and the repository administrators will ensure the embargo is respected. If you are unsure about embargoes please either check by searching for the journal title on the Sherpa/Romeo website, or contact the team at research.openaccess@keele.ac.uk.

The Depositing On Acceptance Publications Poster gives a quick overview on how to upload your publications to Keele's institutional repository.

Repository Guides

Please see the Repository Userguide for more detailed information.

Repository video guides:

Frequently Asked Questions


You should deposit as soon as possible after acceptance, and within 3 months of the acceptance date.


This is the version after peer review, but before the publishers typesetting has been applied.


No.  If your publication is available in a subject based repository then we can use this, but this information still needs to be recorded in Symplectic within 3 months of the acceptance date.


Your article or conference proceeding cannot be submitted to the next REF if it is not deposited on acceptance.

Training and Support


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 research.openaccess@keele.ac.uk and we can make arrangements with you.


We will be running a number of training sessions through the LPDC entitled 'Everything You Need to Know About Open Access and the Next REF'.

To book onto these sessions please visit https://www.keele.ac.uk/lpdc/


Please contact any of the team on:

Research Support Open Access - research.openaccess@keele.ac.uk


Scott McGowan - Research Support Librarian

01782 734506 / s.mcgowan@keele.ac.uk

Hannah Reidy - Research Support Officer

01782 733588 / h.reidy@keele.ac.uk

Ellie James - Head of Research Support Services (REF)

01782 733569 / e.james@keele.ac.uk

David Amigoni - Pro Vice Chancellor (Research and Enterprise)


Useful Links

The following links will provide additional information and support: 

Publications Database - publications.keele.ac.uk

Keele Repository - eprints.keele.ac.uk

Keele's Open Access policy

Keele has a ‘Take down policy’ which can be found here.

Sherpa - www.sherpa.ac.uk

Sherpa Romeo - www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo

Sherpa Juliet - www.sherpa.ac.uk/juliet

OpenDOAR - www.opendoar.org

HEFCE's Open Access Policy - http://www.hefce.ac.uk/rsrch/oa/Policy/

Jisc Open Access - www.jisc.ac.uk/open-access