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Researchers: Open Access

What is Open Access (OA)?

"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:

  • Via the GREEN route you will not have to pay to publish, but instead your institution will have to subscribe to the journal or pay to get access to the published article. However, 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.
  • Via the GOLD route most publishers will ask you for a payment, 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.

Open Access is part of the wider Open Science or Open Research movement. The Middlesex University Research Policy encourages the GREEN open access route via self-archiving of manuscripts in the Middlesex University Research Repository. The Repository team will apply necessary embargoes, copyright notes and information to comply with funder and publisher policies on your behalf, upon your self-deposit.

Open Access publishing is increasingly mandated by funders; it was encouraged for REF 2021 - see "REF 2021 Overview of open access policy and guidance" and will again be part of the next REF, with policy updates to be expected in 2021.

How do I comply with UK Research Councils 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), which is responsible for supporting research and knowledge exchange at higher education institutions in England, and the UK's innovation agency, Innovate UK.

  • The REF 2021 Guidance on Submissions Open Access policy covered all journal and conference articles with an ISSN accepted after 1 April 2016 and published before 31 March 2021.
  • "The UK HE funding bodies recognise that due notice will be needed prior to implementation of the OA policy for the REF-after-REF 2021, which will be consulted on after UKRI's OA policy is announced. [...] The REF 2021 OA policy should be followed until further notice."

The UKRI open access policies were under review (the new UKRI Open Access policy has been announced and published on August 7, 2021) to determine a single Open Access policy across UKRI. The new policy aims to ensure that findings from research funded by the public through UKRI can be freely accessed, used and built on. It covers peer-reviewed research articles and academic books that result from research supported by UKRI, which acknowledge funding from UKRI and its constituent councils.

If your research is funded by RCUK, consult the RCUK Policy on Open Access and Supporting Guidance. This will usually require a payment to the publisher for compliance via the GOLD route. Please note that the RCUK embargoes for GREEN open access compliance are shorter than those permitted for REF2021. Check Sherpa Fact for your embargo period and licence compliance. In addition, you must:

  1. Acknowledge the funder's support, and
  2. Provide a data access statement, where appropriate.
  3. Note:
    • There are limited institutional funds available to support the RCUK GOLD route; open access fees for RCUK-funded research are currently managed by each faculty/department. You should consult with your research lead and/or your Deputy Dean for Research about access to this funding.
    • 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 open access policy will apply to your joint articles and conference papers.

Contact the Research Support Team if your journal is published via a transformative agreement route, or if you have further questions about REF compliance or RCUK funded open access requirements.

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

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:

What is the repository (Eprints)?

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 (EPrints) 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 (

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.

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.

REF 2021 and post-REF 2021 Open Access requirements

The post-REF 2021 Open Access policy as part of the UKRI OA policies is currently under review. The REF 2021 Open Access policy (see Guidance) should  therefore be followed until further notice.

REF 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.  For your article to be eligible for REF, you must:

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

Article versions diagram courtesy of:, CC-BY

Article version diagram courtesy of University of Cambridge CC-BY


The Repository team will check and apply 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 publications will not be REF Open Access compliant.
  • The 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 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 upload these in time as well to enhance your research profile and to increase the visibility of all your work. The Repository team will request permission to make these openly available on your behalf.

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.

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.


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