An Introduction to Open Access

This course aims to provide an introduction to Open Access (OA) within the context of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021. It will:

What is Open Access?

Open Access

Open Access (OA) is making published research outputs freely available to anyone with an internet connection.

From physical to digital publication

Routes to Open Access

There are two routes to OA publication:

Green Route

Depositing the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) of a research output in an OA repository. This might be an institutional repository such as Apollo at the University of Cambridge.

This route is free of charge.

The research output might be placed under embargo by the publishers, meaning that the article is not freely available until the embargo period has elapsed.

Gold Route

Publishing a research output in an OA journal, such as PLOS Medicine.

This route is subject to Article Processing Charges (APCs).

The research output is freely available at the point of publication.


What is Open Access?

  • Making published research outputs freely available to anyone with a library card.
  • Making published research outputs available through a pay-wall to anyone with an internet connection.
  • Making published research outputs freely available to anyone with an internet connection.

Please fill in the blanks from the drop-down options.

In order to make a research output OA via the Green Route, an author must deposit the of a research output in an OA . The research output will become freely available to anyone with an internet connection 

Please fill in the blanks from the drop-down options.

In order to make a research output OA via the Gold Route, an author must publish the output in . The research output will become freely available to anyone with an internet connection .

Please indicate true or false for both statements.

  • The Green Route to OA is subject to Article Processing Charges (APCs).
  • The Green Route to OA is free-of-charge.

What is HEFCE's Open Access Policy for REF 2021?

Research Excellence Framework

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs).

This assessment is used:

  • To inform the selective allocation of grants for research by the four HE funding bodies
  • To provide accountability for public investment in research and to produce evidence of the benefits of this investment
  • To provide bench-marking information and to establish reputational yardsticks.

Research excellence will be assessed according to three criteria:

  1. Research outputs (60%)
  2. Research impact (25%)
  3. Research environment (15%)

Open Access and Outputs

HEFCE has introduced a new Open Access Policy for REF 2021.

In order to be eligible for submission to REF 2021, research outputs must be Open Access.

This requirement is only applicable to journal articles and conference proceedings with an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN).

Outputs accepted for publication between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2018, must be made OA within three months of publication

Outputs accepted for publication after 1 April 2018, must be made OA within three months of acceptance.

Publications with an ISSN must be freely available digitally

Gold Open Access and REF 2021

HEFCE's Open Access Policy requires publications to be made OA as deposits in an institutional or subject repository.

Some OA journals (which publish via the Gold Route) may not publish within three months of acceptance and / or may not be listed within a subject repository such as PubMed Central which would compromise REF eligibility.

Therefore, the School of Clinical Medicine encourages all researchers to deposit their research outputs in the University of Cambridge's institutional repository, Apollo within three months of acceptance. 

This course will provide guidance regarding how to deposit research outputs in Apollo (i.e. how to publish OA via the Green Route).

Green Open Access and REF 2021

The School of Clinical Medicine advocates using the Green Route in all instances. This will ensure that research outputs are eligible for submission in REF 2021.

When a research output is placed under embargo, the output will be uploaded onto Apollo as a 'closed deposit' (i.e. it can be discovered via a search engine, but access to the article will be restricted until the embargo period has elapsed).

HEFCE stipulates that embargo periods should not exceed twelve months. However, it will make exceptions in cases where the publication concerned requires an embargo period that exceeds twelve months, and was the most appropriate publication for the output.

Open Access and Environment

Where an HEI can demonstrate that it has taken steps towards enabling OA for outputs outside the scope of this definition, HEFCE will give credit in the research environment component of REF 2021.

Therefore, the School of Clinical Medicine encourages researchers to deposit as many publications as possible in Apollo (e.g. errata, correspondence, etc.). 

Open Access will now form part of the research environment component of REF

Funders' Open Access Policies

This course is concerned with Open Access in the context of REF 2021. However, a number of funding bodies have different OA requirements to those stipulated by HEFCE.

Therefore, the School of Clinical Medicine recommends checking your funder's policy.

Which research outputs are subject to HEFCE's Open Access Policy for REF 2021?

  • All research outputs.
  • Journal articles and conference papers with an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN).
  • Journal articles and conference papers with an International Standard Book Number (ISBN).

A research output is accepted for publication on 1 April 2018. Within which time-frame should the output be made Open Access?

  • Within three months of acceptance.
  • Within three months of publication.

A research output has been made Open Access in an OA journal and is published with an ISSN. What steps should the researcher take now?

  • Nothing. The research output has been made OA via the Gold Route and will comply with HEFCE's policy.
  • Upload the research output to Apollo. Not all Open Access Journals are listed in subject repositories, so Gold Open Access is not necessarily compliant with HEFCE's policy.

Please indicate true or false for both statements.

  • The Research Environment component of REF 2021 will assess institutional attitudes towards OA. Credit will be given where an HEI can demonstrate that it has taken steps towards enabling open access for outputs outside the scope of HEFCE's Policy.
  • All funding bodies have the same OA requirements as those stipulated by HEFCE.

Why Open Access?

Video: Open Access Explained

This video by PhD Comics explains the history of Open Access and why choosing to publish Open Access is so pertinent in the present.

Open Access: The Benefits

For the researcher:

  • Increases visibility
  • Increases citations
  • Heightens academic profile

For the student:

  • Unrestricted access to research, regardless of economic status or institutional affiliation
  • Freedom to use and re-purpose research materials in new and interesting ways

For the general public:

  • Enables access to the research that their taxes fund and encourages lifelong learning
  • Allows independent researchers to access research
  • Gives businesses and other organisations access to research and encourages innovation

Open Access encourages dialogue between researchers, students and the general public.

Open Access Guidance for the School of Clinical Medicine

Depositing Research Outputs in Apollo

Apollo is the University of Cambridge's institutional repository.

Anyone with an internet connection can access research outputs which have been deposited on Apollo.

Depositing an output on Apollo is simple.

Apollo and Symplectic Elements

Symplectic Elements is the University of Cambridge's research information management system.

Using Symplectic, you can easily deposit your research outputs into Apollo.

You can also use Symplectic to manage your research in a number of different ways. The University IT Service website gives further details.

Video: Depositing a Research Output via Symplectic

This video by the Office of Scholarly Communication demonstrates how to upload a research output to Apollo via Symplectic.

Guidance: Depositing a Research Output via Symplectic

Login to Symplectic using your Raven ID.

You will be redirected to your homescreen.

Guidance: Depositing a Research Output via Symplectic

Your homepage will look like this.

Press the 'Accepted for Publication?' button to deposit journal articles and conference proceedings with an ISSN (i.e. research outputs which are subject to HEFCE's Open Access Policy in REF 2021).

This course will provide guidance on depositing these types of output.

Guidance: Depositing a Research Output via Symplectic

After pressing the 'Accepted for publication' button, the 'On-acceptance deposit' message will appear.

This message outlines the requirements placed upon you to upload your Author Accepted Manuscript to Apollo via Symplectic.

Click on the type of research output you are depositing.

Guidance: Depositing a Research Output via Symplectic

Enter the title (for accepted outputs) or DOI (for published outputs).

This step is quite useful, as it will avoid duplicated articles being submitted (e.g. one of your co-authors is also from the University of Cambridge and has previously added the article you are depositing into Symplectic).

Guidance: Depositing a Research Output via Symplectic

You should now provide information on the research output. Most published articles will already exist on Symplectic. If this is the case, most of the details of the article will be already pre-populated for you, so you only need to enter those required missing fields.

The required fields are: title, journal, authors, whether the research has either RCUK or COAF funding, an abstract or first paragraph.

It is also useful to know the acceptance date and publication date.

Guidance: Depositing a Research Output via Symplectic

The next step of the submission process is to link the article to the grant information held in Symplectic.

You should always update your grant information on your Symplectic homepage.

Guidance: Depositing a Research Output via Symplectic

Now you must upload your output onto Symplectic.

Press the 'Upload' button and select the document to upload. Next choose the file version (this should be the Author's Accepted Manuscript (AAM) not the published version).

Guidance: Depositing a Research Output via Symplectic

After uploading your chosen file you will be asked to complete your deposit. In order to do this, you must check the box 'I agree to the Cambridge repository licence terms.'

Then click the 'Deposit my publication' button.

Once the deposit has been completed you will be redirected to a confirmation page.

Please fill in the blanks from the drop-down options.

In order to ensure compliancy for REF 2021, researchers should deposit their research outputs on , the University's institutional repository, via , the University's research information management system.

When depositing an output on Symplectic, which details must a researcher submit?

  • Title, journal, authors, acceptance date
  • Title, journal, authors, publication date
  • Title, journal, authors, whether the research has either RCUK or COAF funding, an abstract or first paragraph

Congratulations

You have now completed the 'Introduction to Open Access Course'.

You can return to the course materials whenever you would like.

A list of helpful links is provided on the Moodle page.