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Researchers: Open Access

What is Open Access (OA)?

Open Access is part of the wider Open Science or Open Research movement. "Open access (OA) means making research publications freely available so anyone can benefit from reading and using research" [Introduction to Open Access by Jisc]. Open Access publications are available online for everyone to read, without the need to be a subscriber or to make a payment to read it. Watch the eight minute video by Jisc Open Access Explained!, and also have a look at the diagram from the introduction, to learn how you can benefit from making your research available open access.

Introduction to Open Access by Jisc - Benefits of open access diagram by Danny Kingsley & Sarah Brown

Benefits of open access diagram
courtesy of Danny Kingsley & Sarah Brown CC-BY

Open Access publishing is supported by various models. The two main approaches are known as the GREEN or the GOLD route:

  • Via the GREEN route you will not have to pay to publish. The GREEN route allows you to deposit your final accepted manuscript in the Middlesex University Research Repository, which will then become open access for anyone after any applied embargo expires. Access to the published article will require a subscription to the journal or a payment to get access to the published article.
  • Via the GOLD route most publishers will ask you for a payment to publish, to then offer immediate access to your published article online and for anyone for free. Most publishers also allow you to share the version of your published article in the Middlesex University Research Repository.


Post-REF 2021 Open Access requirements

The REF 2021 Open Access policy and guidance should be followed until further notice. The post-REF 2021 policy requires that 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 REF. 

The Middlesex University Research Repository is the Middlesex University framework to meet the post REF-2021 and other funders' Open Access requirements, for both the GREEN route and the GOLD route:

  1. Deposit your journal article or conference proceeding article in the Repository at the point of acceptance.
  2. Upload your Author’s Accepted Manuscript (AAM) to the Repository record.

For additional guidance regarding manuscript versions, consult the Manuscript version section in this guide. The Repository team will check and add any applicable embargoes (imposed by the publisher). The maximum permitted embargoes are 12 months for Panels A and B, and 24 months for Panels C and D.

  • Do not delay the deposit of your full-text, because then your work might not be compliant with the post-REF 2021 Open Access policy.
  • The post-REF 2021 Open Access policy favours the GREEN route (you do not need to pay to make your work available, but you have to deposit or self-archive your accepted manuscript in time in the Middlesex University Research Repository).
  • The post-REF 2021 Open Access policy does 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 create records for these in time as well, to enhance your research profile and to increase the visibility of all your work.

The UK HE funding bodies launched their consultation on the future UK-wide research system which forms one element of the Future Research Assessment Programme (FRAP). With this consultation and further updates on the way the programme of work is expected to conclude by late 2022

How do I comply with UKRI's Open Access policy?

UKRI launched in April 2018 as a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). It brings together the seven disciplinary research councils (AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, STFC), Research England (formerly HEFCE), and the UK's innovation agency, Innovate UK. Following the UKRI Open Access Review the new UKRI Open Access policy was published on 6 August 2021, to determine a single Open Access policy across UKRI. The new UKRI Open Access policy aims to ensure that findings from research funded by the public through UKRI can be freely accessed, used and built on. 

The UKRI Open Access policy favours the GOLD route (1), but it also offers a GREEN route (2). The policy applies to:

  • peer-reviewed research articles including reviews and conference papers submitted for publication on or after 1 April 2022;
  • monographs, book chapters and edited collections published on or after 1 January 2024

To be compliant with the UKRI Open Access Policy, you need to:

  • acknowledge funding from UKRI and its constituent councils;
  • apply a CC-BY license unless you have secured permission from your funder for a CC-BY-ND exception
    (note: embargoes are not permitted, and for the GREEN route, a rights retention statement is needed in your manuscript on submission);
  • provide a data access statement (unfold the Data Management Guide section for examples behind the link) with a link to underpinning data to your manuscript on submission.

Support with UKRI policy compliance is now available at the Journal Checker Tool (Sherpa Fact no longer provides UKRI funder compliance information!). 

The UKRI open access policy information pack (updated May 2023), is available for research organisations to support engagement with research staff about the policy. It provides a summary of the policy requirements and supporting guidance. 

Please also consult the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in relation to the UKRI Open Access Policy.

Note: A new guidance has been published 24/05/2023 for long-form publications, and we will soon update relevant references. UKRI updates guidance for open access policy – UKRI

Horizon Europe Open Access Policy

Horizon Europe is the EU's research and innovation programme for 2021-2027 and the successor to Horizon 2020. The Horizon Europe Open Science or Open Access policy applies to peer reviewed scientific publications as well as monographs and other long-text formats, research data and additional practices as per the General Model Grant Agreement Contract.

Open Science in Horizon Europe and Open Access to scientific publications - in brief:

  • You must deposit a copy of your paper in the Middlesex University Research Repository at the latest at the time of publication.
  • You must retain sufficient IPR to comply with the Open Access requirements.
  • Your publication must be licensed under CC BY (or equivalent); CC BY-NC/ND (or equivalent) allowed for long-text formats.

Only publication fees (if any) in full open access venues for peer-reviewed scientific publications are eligible for reimbursement. Where the call conditions impose additional obligations regarding open science practices, the beneficiaries must also comply with those.

UKRI encourages innovators to apply for Horizon Europe funding. Horizon Europe funding is available for a wide variety of research and innovation areas including medical science and cancer treatment, adaptation to climate change, ocean health and agriculture.

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.

Theses and the Repository

All doctoral theses accredited by Middlesex University are uploaded to the Middlesex University Research Repository and will be openly accessible unless the author has requested otherwise. Via the deposit agreement form that you will have to sign, you can restrict access to the full-text of your thesis for a fixed time (usually around five years, although this is renewable) if you e.g. intend to publish your thesis, or register a trademark from your research, or to respect confidentiality and/or commercial obligations. 

On completion of your degree, you will need to send a copy of your final thesis and the signed deposit agreement form to the Research Degrees Administration Team.

  • The form must also have been signed by your supervisor.
  • You can't self-deposit your thesis in the Repository; your thesis will be sent to the Repository Team with the necessary documentation by the Research Degrees Administration team.
  • The Research Support Team (based in the Library), then uploads your thesis to the Repository on your behalf.
  • The Middlesex University Research Repository holds doctoral-level theses only, not taught postgraduate or undergraduate dissertations.
  • If you intend to register a patent, you should seek advice from the RKTO and make your intentions clear on your deposit agreement form, because even a public metadata record of your thesis in the repository may invalidate a planned patent.

Take into account:

Middlesex's Open Access Policy

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 at the point of acceptance.
  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.

The Repository team will check all files that are uploaded to ensure they comply with copyright law and will apply any embargoes required by the publisher. More information can be found in the full Middlesex University Open Access Publications Policy.

Transitional (Transformative) Agreements signed by Middlesex University

Middlesex University signed Transformative Agreements with below publishers which allow eligible authors to publish GOLD open access in selected journals without paying a fee (negotiated by Jisc on behalf of UK-HEIs). The list of journals included in Middlesex University agreements is available via the ESAC Transformative Agreement Registry. Information about agreements is also available via publisher web pages. See references to each Middlesex University agreement as follows:

Check the ESAC Transformative Agreement Registry or the Jisc's transitional agreement look-up tool to see if your journal is covered by one of the Middlesex University transitional agreements. You can also see what journals are covered in agreements for co-author institutions. Consult Jisc's guide for researchers on publishing in transformative journals for more details.

If you publish in a journal via a transformative agreement - upon acceptance of your article - the publisher will ask what licence you want to apply, select CC-BY unless you have secured permission from your funder for a CC-BY-ND licence.

  • Do have a look at our check-list provided via the slide-deck in the Training Materials section, to ensure you added all the eligibility criteria to waive the article processing fee.
  • If your journal is not covered by one of the Middlesex University agreements, or if you do not meet the eligibility criteria, you will have to look for alternative funding.

Middlesex University encourages the GREEN Open Access route in cases where no funds are available to pay for GOLD.

Manuscript Versions

The following diagram highlights the difference between manuscript versions and shows that the final accepted manuscript version is the version before copy-editing or type-setting by the publisher.

Article versions diagram courtesy of:, CC-BY

Article version diagram courtesy of University of Cambridge CC-BY

Another manuscript version diagram is available via the National Web Archive of the HEFCE domain, originating from earlier HEFCE guidance.

Rights Retention Statement

Initiated by coalition S, the so-called Rights Retention Strategy requires that researchers add a Rights Retention Statement to their manuscript on submission of their article. Several funders are following this approach, including the Wellcome Trust (Jan 2021), UKRI (Apr 2022), NIHR (Jun 2022), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (January 2021) and have introduced similar requirements.

If your work is funded by one of these organisations and you publish via the self-archiving or GREEN Open Access route in one of the eligible journals, your manuscript will have to include a rights retention statement in the funding acknowledgement section of the manuscript and any cover letter/note accompanying the submission. The statement will be slightly different per each funder, but should say something similar to the following: The research was funded by funder / grant number, and for the purpose of Open Access the author has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising.

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.

What is the repository?

In October 2011 the University mandated the deposit of all research items in the repository on acceptance for publication. "Following the decision of the Research and Research Degrees Committee in October 2011 Middlesex University has mandated that academic and research staff deposit all outputs resulting from their research undertaken while employed at Middlesex University in the Research Repository."

The Middlesex University Research Repository is an online, open access archive of published research and other scholarly content produced by Middlesex University staff and researchers ('Who is eligible to add work?'). Access to bibliographic information is open to anyone on the internet without the need to log in. In rare cases where full-text is associated, access may not be immediate. 

In addition to full texts of many articles, book chapters and conference papers, the repository is an index of Middlesex's practice related research, as it holds records of performances, exhibitions, compositions, artefacts, videos, portfolios, etc. The repository also holds a copy of all doctoral theses awarded by the University.

The Middlesex University Research Repository ( is managed by the Research Support Team, based in Library and Student Support. Library and Student Support encourages self-deposits of research and practice research in the repository. Consult Jisc's Sherpa/Romeo service for the particular policy of your journal.

Help or support is provided by the Research Support Team (

Training Material & Guidance References


In case you have further questions or need additional information about Open Access, Embargoes, Transformative Agreements, Rights Retention, Data Access Statements, or how to meet your funder's open access compliance, request a one-to-one or group training session, or contact the Research Support Team via

Open access articles - sources