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Update to open access and research data management policy for postgraduate research students

The University of Exeter’s open access and research data management policy for postgraduate research students has been updated.  The existing PGR policy was almost two years old and in such a rapidly changing scholarly publishing environment was felt to be almost certainly out-of-date.  The policy was reviewed by Open Access and Data Curation staff and amendments suggested for approval by the Graduate Research Faculty Board.  The aims of the revision were:

  • To ensure the terms of the policy are consistent with current academic and funder guidelines;
  • To make the details of the policy clearer so that PGRs understand exactly what is required of them;
  • To eradicate any ambiguity by simplifying the language used;
  • To link to existing relevant documentation that underpins and clarifies elements of the policy.

Revisions to the policy were approved by the Board on 23/10/14 and the updated Version 3 has been uploaded to ORE.

As ever, if there are any questions, do get in touch with Open Access and Data Curation.

Updated NIHR open access policy

We blogged back in April about impending changes to NIHR open access policy – the new policy is now available  from the NIHR Policy and Standards web site.

The policy brings the NIHR approach to open access more in line with other funders of medical research such as MRC and Wellcome.

NIHR favours the paid ‘gold’ route to open access; new requirements include the use of CC-BY licences where a fee is involved and deposit in Europe PubMed Central within six months of publication.  You can, of course, continue to make your research available via the ‘green’ route by depositing it in Exeter’s institutional repository, ORE, providing any embargo period required by the publisher does not exceed six months.

Just a reminder that if you intend to submit any published journal article to the next REF, it will need to be in ORE.


New Wellcome Charity Open Access Fund

The Wellcome Trust has announced a new Charity Open Access Fund (COAF) aimed at helping researchers funded by medical charities to make their published research papers immediately and freely available.

From 1 October 2014 researchers funded by the following charities will be able to access this new fund in order to publish on open access by paying the journal publisher a fee:

  • Arthritis Research UK
  • Breast Cancer Campaign
  • British Heart Foundation
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research

Anyone who is wholly or partially funded by the charities above – including postgraduate research students – can apply.  The fund will be managed by the Open Access Team based in the Library.  Contact us at or apply by completing the Charities Fund application form, available on the Open Access web site.

Researchers who receive funds will be expected to adhere to Wellcome Trust Open Access Policy:

  • All peer-reviewed journal articles should be open access within a maximum of six months from publication;
  • A copy of the paper must be deposited by the journal or author in Europe PubMed Central within six months of publication;
  • Papers must be licensed using the Creative Commons CC-BY licence (typically offered by the publisher when a fee is paid);
  • If the journal does not offer a paid open access option authors should deposit the accepted version of the paper in a repository (such as Exeter’s ORE) with a six month maximum embargo on access.

See the Wellcome Authors’ FAQs for greater detail.

Scholarly monographs and book chapters should also be made open access but under slightly different conditions – please contact Open Access should you be planning a book or chapter.

We are available at  if you have a query or require further information.


New WHO policy on open access

On 1 July 2014 a new WHO policy on open access came into effect.  If you or your institution are funded or partly funded  by the World Health Organization you will need to make any published papers or book chapters open access:

“…articles produced by recipients of WHO funding will have to be published in an open-access journal or a hybrid open-access journal under the terms of a standard Creative Commons licence or in a subscription journal that allows for the depositing of the article in Europe PMC within 12 months of the official publication date”.

Anyone applying for WHO funding can include the anticipated costs of paid open access publishing in grant applications.


Taylor & Francis revises open access policy

Taylor & Francis now allows authors to post the accepted version of a published paper on their personal or departmental web site without an embargo.  The accepted version is the post-peer review paper – the new policy does not apply to the published version, use of this is not permitted.

This posting is allowed after publication and a DOI to the published version should be included.

This may seem like a step in the right direction but lengthy embargoes are still in place for papers submitted to an institutional repository or other subject-based repositories such as arXiv.  The same policy of embargoes applies to social networking sites such as ResearchGate, Academia.edu and Mendeley.

Funders require deposit in a stable environment such as that offered by established institutional or subject repositories – uploading a published paper to a personal web site will not make a researcher compliant with funder policy he/she will still need to deposit the same version to a repository – this time with an embargo of possibly 18 months.  Could get confusing.

I’m sure researchers will find this new policy useful but those who support researchers will need to ensure a clear message about what constitutes ‘funder compliance’ in terms of the availability of published works gets across.

NIHR introduces new open access policy favouring the paid ‘gold’ method

All peer-reviewed research papers that have been wholly or partially funded by the NIHR should now be made immediately open access by paying the journal publisher a fee at the time of publication, known as ‘gold’ open access.

This new statement will affect all papers submitted for publication after 1 April 2014.  It includes review articles, final reports and executive summaries.

There will be a period of transition but NIHR expects full compliance in four years.  Revised policy and further guidance will be issued over the summer.

View the current policy:

Existing policy states:

“For any research supported by DH or NIHR funds, the DH and the NIHR expects all research costs (including publishing costs) to be budgeted for when the research is commissioned. Therefore, the DH or NIHR will not routinely fund additional publishing costs separately. However, if a researcher can demonstrate that the whole of the DH or NIHR award has been used for the purposes of the intended research and that the budget was correctly managed, the DH or NIHR may consider additional support on a limited ad hoc basis.”

Please ensure when putting a grant application together that you include all expected costs of paid open access publishing.  The average cost per paper is around £1.8k but can be much higher.  For example, to publish in BMJ costs £3k + VAT.

To get an idea of specific costs of publishing in your journal of choice use SHERPA/RoMEO, a web site that makes details of journal/publisher open access policies available from a single, searchable interface.  SHERPA/FACT allows you to find out whether your chosen journal is compliant with selected funder policy (if it’s MRC compliant it will be NIHR compliant).  The can advise if you’re uncertain.

NIHR has not as yet noted a particular licence requirement but it’s almost certain that they will start to ask for the CC-BY licence to be attached to published journal articles to come in line with other funders of medical research, such as MRC and Wellcome.

If you have any queries about the policy please contact your research support team or the .

We will post further details of the new policy as we receive them.

HEFCE Policy: Open access in the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework

In April 2014 HEFCE released its new policy on open access in the post-2014 REF.  While there are still some areas that are a little unclear or may require some new workflows, the policy is on the whole very good news, favouring the unpaid ‘green’ route to open access via deposit in a repository and outlining some genuinely useful exceptions.

The main points are summarised as follows:

Outputs covered by the policy

The policy applies to:

  • Journal articles and
  • Conference proceedings with an ISSN
  • Accepted for publication after 1 April 2016

The policy does not cover:

  • Monographs and other long-form publications (e.g., book chapters)
  • Conference proceedings with an ISBN (i.e., published as part of a book)
  • Non-text outputs
  • Data underpinning research
  • Output types requiring confidentiality (e.g., for security or commercial reasons)

Deposit requirements

In order for an output to be eligible for the REF the following must apply:

  • The output must be deposited in a repository (institutional, shared service or disciplinary) – you can use Exeter’s repository, ORE
  • The output must be deposited as soon after acceptance as possible and no later than three months after acceptance
  • The output deposited should be the accepted version (following peer review)
  • The accepted version may be replaced at a later date with the published version where this is permitted by the publisher
  • Pre-prints (the version prior to peer review) are not acceptable

Discovery requirements

  • The deposited item should contain sufficient information about the content (metadata) to facilitate its discovery via search engines such as Google
  • Where an accepted version is augmented or replaced by a published version, the same metadata requirements will apply

Access requirements

  • The full text of outputs should be fully open, i.e., PDF security settings should enable searching of the text, reading and downloading
  • CC-BY-NC-ND licences are strongly recommended but not mandatory.
  • RCUK/Wellcome-funded researchers will still need to use the CC-BY licence
    • Outputs deposited without a publisher embargo on access should meet all requirements as soon as possible and no later than one month after deposit
    • Outputs deposited with an embargo should meet all requirements as soon as possible and no later than one month after the embargo period expires
    • The embargo period starts from the point of publication (includes online publication)

Embargo periods

  • 12 months for REF Main Panel A and REF Main Panel B (http://www.ref.ac.uk/panels/unitsofassessment/)
  • 24 months for REF Main Panel C and REF Main Panel D
  • RCUK-funded research remains as before:
    • STEM/M ( MRC, NERC, BBSRC, etc.): six months
    • HASS (AHRC, ESRC, etc.): 12 months
  • Wellcome Trust: six months

Deposit Exceptions

There is a range of exceptions that can be read in the full policy, but include the following:

  • The researcher was not employed by a UK HEI at the time of submission for publication
  • It would be unlawful to deposit, or request deposit of, the output
  • Deposit of the output would present a security risk

Access Exceptions

  • The item contains third-party copyrighted material for which permission to publish on open access could not be obtained (within the given timescales or ever)
  • The publication requires an embargo period that is longer that what is recommended but is the most appropriate journal for the researcher
  • The publication does not permit any form of open access but is the most appropriate journal for the researcher
  • A closed deposit will be required with sufficient metadata for discovery

It’s still very early days but if you do have any questions or concerns at this point do take them to your DoR who can make sure they go forward to College research strategy groups.

General information about open access and ORE can be found on the Library’s open access website.

ERC revises its open access guidelines

The ERC has released revised guidelines on open access for all the researchers it funds.

“…an electronic copy of any research article, monograph or other research publication that is supported in whole, or in part, by ERC funding be deposited in a suitable repository immediately upon publication. Open access should be provided as soon as possible and in any case no later than six months after the official publication date. For publications in the Social Sciences and Humanities domain a delay of up to twelve months is acceptable.”

“…[The Council] strongly encourages ERC funded researchers to use discipline-specific repositories for their publications. If there is no appropriate discipline specific repository, researchers should make their publications available in institutional repositories or in centralized ones”

“The recommended repository for Life Sciences is Europe PubMed Central and for Physical Sciences and Engineering arXiv is recommended”


“ERC funded researchers [are reminded] that open access fees are eligible costs that can be charged against ERC grants, provided they have been incurred during the duration of the project”

Remember that you can use Symplectic to deposit your research in Exeter’s repository, ORE.  In this way you would be fully compliant with ERC policy.


Guidelines on Data Retention for EPSRC-funded Research Projects

All projects in receipt of EPSRC funding are required by the Council to comply with the requirements below.  All current and future researchers and research students funded by EPSRC are affected by the research data policy.

EPSRC-funded research data must be securely preserved for a minimum of 10 years.


  • Not all data needs to be preserved and not all data needs to be stored online.  Appraise and select data for retention carefully.
  • Deposit essential data in the University repository, ORE.  Essential data would normally cover:
    • Data underlying published research
    • Data required for validation, verification or replication of results
    • Data that is unique or significant to the community
  • If not suitable for open access data can be embargoed in ORE or held securely by the researcher/research group.
  • Data not held centrally in ORE should be stored following the guidelines available on the Library’s Research Data Management web pages.
  • Data should be uploaded via the ORE interface rather than via Symplectic.  NB.  The IT Infrastructure Team has developed a new data upload tool for transfer of large datasets to ORE.  In order to use this pilot tool contact  

Appropriately structured metadata (bibliographic information) describing the research data should be published on open access within 12 months of being generated.


  • Create a record in ORE describing your data and, where possible, upload the data itself.
  • If data cannot be made public a metadata-only record is acceptable but must contain details of the reasons for access restrictions, for example:
    • Commercially confidential
    • Contains sensitive personal information
    • Contains other information covered by the Data Protection Act
    • Contains third-party copyrighted or licensed material for which permission cannot be obtained
  • Metadata must be sufficient to allow others to find it by searching and to understand dataset contents and potential for re-use.  See an excellent example of a dataset record from the Marine Renewable Energy Group.

 Research data in non-digital format should be stored for the long-term in a format permitting access and re-use if required.


  • Follow University guidelines for storage of paper records.
  • Data containing confidential information should be kept in an access-controlled environment.
  • Consider digitisation of analogue data if feasible and legally permissible.

Published research papers should include a short statement describing how and on what terms any supporting research data may be accessed.


  • If you have already deposited your data in ORE include the handle (aka persistent identifier – equivalent to a DOI).  For example, http://hdl.handle.net/10871/682
  • If the data cannot be made openly available include contact details of the main author/PI in case of query.
  • Further advice can be found on the Library’s open access web pages.


The Open Access and Data Curation Team can advise and assist with queries relating to compliance with EPSRC policy, data storage, data upload and dataset description.  Contact us on


ORE Repository

EPSRC Policy Framework on Research Data

The Library’s Research Data Management web site

Exeter’s Information Security Policy

Open Access Week – drop in sessions

As part of International Open Access Week the University’s Open Access and Data Curation team will be holding a number of drop-in sessions commencing 21 October.  If any researchers, postgraduate students or Professional Services staff have questions about Open Access (e.g. funder policies, University policy, obtaining funding for Gold Open Access publishing) or Research Data Management (e.g. what is a data management plan and where can I go to for help in writing one?) the team will be available to answer your queries.

 We will be holding three sessions:

  • Wednesday 23 October – 1300-1600. XFI Board Room
  • Thursday 24 October – 1000-1300. XFI Seminar Room A
  • Friday 25 October – 1000-1300. XFI Seminar Room C

For more information please contact the team on .

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