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Open Access Editing: Open Access Sandbox

What is Open Access (OA)?

Publications that are Open Access are available online for everyone to read, without the need to be a subscriber or to make a payment.

They may also be free of copyright and licensing restrictions, upon consent of the author and copyright holder.

Open Access helps researchers by broadening the dissemination of their research.  Open Access material is more likely to be found, read and cited than work that is behind a paywall.

Sometimes publishers will ask for a payment to make your work Open Access (known as ‘Gold OA’). You should not need to make a payment to make your work Open Access (‘Green OA’) via the University Research Repository.   You may have to embargo your paper for a set period.  The Repository team will ascertain the embargo and apply this on your behalf.

This LibGuide will help you understand the Open Access (OA) requirements of Middlesex, the REF and funders.

What is the repository (Eprints)?

The Middlesex University Research Repository (Eprints) is an online, open access archive of published research and other scholarly content produced by Middlesex University staff and researchers.  Material in the repository is visible from anywhere on the internet without the need to log in. The repository is managed by the Research Support Team, based in Library and Student Support.

In October 2011 the University mandated deposit of all research items in the repository on acceptance for publication. Library and Student Support encourages self-deposit of research in the repository, with help and support provided by the Research Support Team as required.

In addition to the full text of many articles, book chapters and conference papers, the repository holds a copy of all doctoral theses awarded by the University.

• Video tutorial: how do I add work to the Research Repository?

How do I comply with the RCUK Open Access Policy?

RCUK is the abbreviation for Research Councils UK and encompasses: AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC and STFC.

The RCUK OA policy covers all journal articles and conference proceedings with an ISSN.

Papers must be made Open Access no more than six months from publication. This will usually require a payment to the publisher (Gold OA). Please note that the RCUK embargoes are shorter than those permitted for REF2021. Compliance with the RCUK policy can be achieved by publishing in a journal that permits an embargo of six months or less. In addition, you must:

  1. Acknowledge the funder's support, and
  2. Provide a data access statement, where appropriate.

See the RCUK Policy on Open Access for links to the policy, guidance notes and FAQs.

Students who publish articles during the term of an RCUK student award are also expected to acknowledge their funder and to comply with the RCUK policy on Open Access.

If you are working on a collaborative project, check if your collaborators are RCUK funded, as the RCUK OA policy will apply to your joint articles and conference papers.

Due to the short embargoes, RCUK favours Gold Open Access (you may need to make a payment to make your work openly available as soon as possible) and there are limited institutional funds available to help with this, which are currently managed by each research area. You should consult with your research lead and your Deputy Dean for Research about accessing this funding.

Theses and the Repository

All doctoral theses accredited by Middlesex University are uploaded to the Research Repository and will be openly accessible unless the author has requested otherwise.

On completion of your degree, you will need to send a copy of your final thesis and a signed deposit agreement form to the Research Degrees Administration Team. Theses are then uploaded to the repository on your behalf by the Research Support Team, based in the Library.

In your deposit agreement form, you can restrict access for a fixed time (usually around five years, although this is renewable) if you intend to publish your thesis, register a patent from your research, or to respect confidentiality and/or commercial obligations.

If you intend to register a patent, you should seek advice from the RKTO and make your intentions clear on your deposit agreement form. If the thesis is uploaded to the repository, it may invalidate a patent.

You may deposit research data that underpins your thesis on the data repository.

Middlesex Research Repository holds doctoral-level theses only, not taught postgraduate or undergraduate dissertations.

Jamie Test

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REF OA requirements

All journal articles and conference proceedings with an ISSN accepted for publication must be discoverable in the institutional repository, if they are to be submitted to the next REF.  To be eligible for REF2021, you must:

  1. Deposit your journal article or conference proceeding within 90 days of acceptance of publication.
  2. You must provide the Author’s Accepted Manuscript (AAM), which is the final, peer-reviewed text (not the publisher’s copy-edited version).

Repository staff will check and apply any applicable embargos (imposed by the publisher). The maximum permitted embargos are 12 months for Panels A and B, and 24 months for Panels C and D.

Do not delay the deposit of your file until after the embargo period ends, as your publications will not be eligible for REF.

HEFCE’s policy can be found at: Open Access in the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework.

HEFCE’s policy favours Green Open Access (you do not need to pay to make your work available).

The REF OA policy will not apply to monographs, book chapters, other long-form publications, working papers, creative or practice-based research outputs, or data. However, we strongly recommend that you upload these as well to enhance your research profile and increase the visibility of all your work. Repository staff will request permission to make these openly available on your behalf.

Middlesex's Open Access Policy

Middlesex University’s Open Access policy supports Green Open Access (you do not need to pay to make your work open access).

This policy applies to all academic staff, all research staff and all students whose research outputs derive from their employment by the University, from research grants or otherwise from the use of University resources and facilities. This policy requires researchers at Middlesex University to:

  1. Create a record in the University repository for each of their research outputs.
  2. Where legally permitted, make all research outputs Open Access upon acceptance for publication, in the University repository, in order to maximise the visibility of their research.
  3. Provide a link to where the full output may be accessed, in cases where it is not permitted to include it in the repository.
  4. Use the phrase 'Middlesex University' within the research output when stating the address of the originating institution.

Repository staff will check all files that are uploaded to ensure they comply with copyright law and will apply any embargos required by the publisher.

More information can be found in the full Middlesex University Open Access Publications Policy.

Horizon 2020 Open Access Policy

The Horizon 2020 programme requires all beneficiaries to ensure open access to all “scientific information that is free of charge to the end-user and reusable. 'Scientific' refers to all academic disciplines. It includes both published work and research data.

Deposit a copy of your paper in the Middlesex University Research Repository and any underpinning data in the data repository to ensure you are compliant with the policy.

The Guidelines on Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data in Horizon 2020 will provide exact details if you are unsure about whether the policy applies to you.

A summary can be found in the Horizon 2020 OA Fact Sheet.

Addresses and affiliations

When naming Middlesex University, you should declare your institution to be 'Middlesex University'.

The particular research centre, school or department may also be named separately and additionally, but not instead of Middlesex University, which should be the primary institutional affiliation of the author.

This will help to identify and retrieve all the University’s research publications in research aggregation services such as Web of Science and PubMed, and it will also help others to recognise you and your work.  

In order to assist others to identify your work, you are also advised to create and use an ORCiD identifier when publishing. Obtaining an ORCiD will help you manage your outputs across multiple research platforms.


For further information about Open Access or to request a one-to-one or group training session, contact