Open AccessFAQs

Open Access is free unrestricted online access to publicly funded scholarly research as soon as possible after the point of publication.

Open Access is important as it:

  • maximises the dissemination and visibility of research worldwide
  • makes work accessible to other researchers
  • is available to everyone, not just subscribers and those who pay for content
  • increases visibility and citations
  • increases effectiveness and efficiency of the research process, by providing easy access to research previously undertaken.
  • most research is publicly funded and therefore should be available to the public without cost
  • increases innovation and economic growth driven by access to the latest research
  • increases opportunities for collaboration and the wider sharing and use of research information
  • complies with funders funding policies - such as RCUK and COAF
  • meets the requirements for eligibility of submission in the post-REF2014

The University of Strathclyde expects that all research active staff will upload their research outputs to Pure at the point of acceptance and meet the requirements for the next REF as indicated by the UKRI Policy (pdf) on OA. Manuscripts will then be deposited in Strathprints, the University's Institutional Repository, as soon as possible in compliance with publishers' copyright restrictions.

An institutional repository is an online service for collecting, preserving, and disseminating (in digital form) the intellectual output of an institution.

At the University of Strathclyde the institutional repository is Strathprints.

Institutional repositories:

  • provide open access to institutional research output by enabling researchers to deposit their research
  • help to create global visibility for institutional research
  • collect content in a single location
  • store and preserve other institutional digital assets, including unpublished or otherwise easily lost ("grey") literature such as working papers or technical reports

Most institutional repositories also adhere to a number of technical protocols to ensure they are highly visible to search agents, such as Google Scholar.

Depositing your research in Strathclyde's institutional repository is achieved via Pure, the University’s Current Research Information System.

In order to be REF-eligible, all peer-reviewed journal articles and conference items accepted for publication after 1 April 2016 must have their accepted author manuscripts deposited in an Open Access repository. Outputs must be deposited as soon as possible and not later than three months after their date of acceptance. Publisher embargoes should be no more than 12 months for Panel A and B (STEM) and no more than 24 months for Panel C and D (HaSS); if your publishing destination stipulates an embargo in excess of the stated maxima, contact for further advice.

The version of your paper that should be deposited in Pure is the 'accepted author manuscript' (AAM). This can also be known as the 'post-print'. An AAM is a copy of the manuscript with peer review comments implemented and at the point it was accepted by the editor but prior to any copy editing. It is essential that any reviewer comments have been implemented as the intellectual content must be equal to that contained in the final published version.

Where a publisher does not operate peer-review, the AAM is considered to be the final version of the manuscript submitted to the publisher for publication.

In order to comply with HEFCE policies on Open Access it is essential that manuscripts are uploaded to Pure within three months of acceptance for publication. As such, the date of acceptance must be recorded in Pure in order that the timeline can be confirmed.

If a publisher requires an embargo be applied to the accepted manuscript this can be facilitated through Pure. It is not necessary to stipulate this upon upload, repository staff will check publisher requirements prior to validating any item in Pure.

If you are considering publishing, or have had an article accepted for publication, in a journal that has no open access policy or actively prevents it please get in touch with the open access team,, who can advise further on compliance and available options.

No. The UKRI policy stipulates that they do not expect authors or institutions to have to pay fees to meet their requirements for the REF. The vast majority of publishers offer a green route to open access where a research output can be freely made available in an institutional repository (often after an embargo period). If a publisher disallows green open access and a fee is required for which funding is not available then an exception may be applied if it was the most appropriate publishing destination for the particular research output.

The HEFCE policy stipulates that all journal and conference items be deposited in an institutional repository, however this is a "minimum requirement". Whilst long-form publications are excluded from the minimum requirements, HEFCE has indicated that institutions should be proactive in attempting to make these outputs openly accessible too and those that are capable of demonstrating such proactivity will be rewarded under the “environment” component of the next REF.

Not all publishers allow full text deposit of long-form publications’ chapters; repository staff will always confirm a publisher's policy before depositing any manuscript in accordance with their stipulations.

It is expected that every effort is made to secure an accepted author manuscript and deposit it within the required timeframe, however it is understood circumstances may at times make this difficult, in particular when a paper has a large number of authors and the Strathclyde member of staff is not the corresponding author. If this is the case, please contact the open access team ( who will look into alternate arrangements to secure compliance.

It is a requirement that all peer-review journal and conference items affected by the UKRI policies on Open Access are deposited in Pure, whether or not it is anticipated they will be submitted to REF.

Please create a record in Pure for your output and contact as early as possible in the publication process. A member of the team will be in touch if further information is required and to advise on the publisher's payment and publication process.

Yes. It is necessary that an AAM is deposited while we await Gold publication to ensure compliance and in order that funder acknowledgements may be checked.

Hybrid journals are subscription journals that offer authors the option of publishing Open Access articles. These journals combine closed access articles (access by subscription only) with Open Access articles.

This model requires the payment of a publishing fee (article processing charge (APC) to the publisher in order for their work to be made open access.

DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) are unique alphanumeric combinations assigned to an electronic article.

A DOI will never change, so you can use it as a permanent link to any electronic article or dataset.

DOIs can be made into links by adding before the DOI number.

The link will then take you to the abstract of the article, with options to access the full-text.

DOIs can be located using the DOI look-up site.

ORCID is an open, non-profit, community-driven effort to create and maintain a registry of unique researcher identifiers and a transparent method of linking research activities and outputs to these identifiers.

ORCID provides two core functions:

A registry to obtain a unique identifier and manage a record of activities
APIs that support system-to-system communication and authentication. ORCID makes its code available under an open source license, and will post an annual public data file under a CC0 waiver for free download.

These identifiers, and the relationships among them, can be linked to the researcher's output to enhance the scientific discovery process and to improve the efficiency of research funding and collaboration within the research community.

Research outputs must undergo a process of validation before they can be deposited in Strathprints. The Scholarly Publications & Research Data teams is responsible for validating hundreds of items and depositing hundreds of files per week. The process of validation is largely undertaken on PURE and can be time consuming, entailing Open Access compliance checks, file handling tasks (e.g. to improve accessibility, digital preservation ingest, etc.), publisher policy checks, metadata creation, and many more. Some form of prioritisation is therefore required based on the type of content submitted for validation. 

Current Standards 

  • We will respond to email enquiries received via within 3 working days 
  • We will validate prioritised REF outputs within 7 working days 

Please ensure that when updated publication profiles are required for promotion panels, that notice of at least two weeks is provided. Due to staff departure and associated extra workload there may be additional delays in validating publications. We emphasise that REF outputs will be prioritised, but the final editing of metadata and papers required for promotion panels cannot be guaranteed without the requested notice period. The SPRD team would appreciate advanced notice of forthcoming panels if possible. 

To minimise the amount of record editing and corrections required, please consult the published guidance carefully before depositing, editing or deleting records in Pure 

Please contact in advance if you have a considerable number of publications to submit. 

Where a large number of items are submitted for validation with no prior communication, a Fresh Service ticket may be raised to monitor progress. An estimate on the time to validate such records will only be possible with reference to the existing workload at this time and the nature of the deposited items. 

Repository staff will check publisher policies (most often via SHERPA/RoMEO) for all items uploaded to Pure and apply the correct access restrictions and licencing where required. As such, a licence does not require to be selected and manuscripts can be uploaded as 'open'.

In order to ensure the accuracy of details held in Pure, publication information (such as volume/issue number, pages numbers, and so forth) may be updated when known. However, it is important not to remove or alter the visibility of deposited manuscripts once a record has been validated. Once a file has been deposited it is date-stamped and any changes to it may affect REF-eligibility.

Yes, all research outputs should be deposited in PURE.

PURE will be used for our submission to the next REF, we can only report on research outputs that are in PURE.

Once you have deposited your research output in PURE, you can use the link from Strathprints for personal websites/departmental websites and subject/external repositories - this will ensure that if there is a change, that once the change is made in PURE this will be done automatically for any other links.

Social networking sites like and ResearchGate are not repositories and do not provide the same sorts of services, such as preservation and making sure your article is abdiding by publisher's polices and findable by Google Scholar and other scholarly search engines.