Open Access Week : what is Open Access (OA) and what do you really need to know?

Here is a quick guide to some of the various aspects of OA and the processes involved.  For more in-depth guidance and advice please use the “For researchers” part of the Nuffield College Library Libguide or attend some of the Open Access at Oxford events.

What is it?open access

“free online access to publically funded research by removing price and permission barriers at the point of use”  Many funders now require Open Access as part of their funding criteria.

Guide to jargon:

Gold route: gives immediate free unrestricted access to the final version of an article on the publisher’s site, with no cost to the user. An author ‘pays to publish’ in either an OA journal or in a ‘Hybrid’ journal.

APC/article processing charge: this is the cost of Gold Open Access charged by the publishers and can vary greatly depending on the publisher and journal.

Green route: this is essentially delayed Open Access, done via self-deposit & is free to authors and researchers. Research is published in a traditional subscription journal and author self-archives ‘accepted manuscript’ in an OA repository.

Repository: this is an officially recognised place where an author deposits their Author’s Accepted Manuscript, i.e. Oxford University Research Archive (ORA)

Embargo periods: funders have required timescales for when a manuscript should be publically available if an author opts for the Green route, so for example RCUK requires 6 months for STEM and 12 months for A&H, SS.

What do you really need to know

1) Act on acceptance


The new HEFCE policy applies to:

  • journal articles and conference papers (with ISSNs)
  • requires researchers to act on acceptance to deposit their ‘Author Accepted Manuscript’ (AAM) in a compliant open access repository within three months of date of acceptance
  • applies to article manuscripts accepted after 1 April 2016
  • failure to act will make research outputs ineligible for the next REF

The University carried out pilot schemes to assess the best way to ensure deposit in line with the HEFCE policy and the result is ‘Act on acceptance’:

  • applies to all academics and researchers employed by the collegiate University (not DPhils)
  • all journal articles and conference papers must be deposited in the Oxford University Research Archive (ORA)
  • deposit via Symplectic Elements (using your Single Sign On)
  • Start now: once deposited the Bodleian Libraries team will check copyright & licensing, create an ORA record and make the full text available after the embargo period.

For more information and advice, contact the library staff or go to Open Access Oxford


What are they?orcid_sign_up_button

  • ORCID is a unique 16 digit researcher ID that you keep throughout your life.
  • If you move to a different institution, you take your ORCID with you. Your ORCID record is owned and managed solely by you.
  • All researchers in Oxford are encouraged to sign up for an ORCID, including DPhils.

Why do I need one?

  • Disambiguation – stop being confused with researchers with the same surname and initial as you!
  • Ensuring correct attribution of research and other activities, helps you link and display your publications.
  • Increasingly used by publishers, funders & websites, and research funding bodies are integrating ORCID into their application processes.

Where can I get one?

Visit ORCID at Oxford where you can request an ORCID if you don’t already have one.  Alternatively, you can also use ORCID at Oxford to register for an ‘official’ Oxford-linked ORCID.  The benefits of this are that your Oxford University affiliation is verified and linking your ORCID will save time and effort when reporting publications, for example to funding bodies.

From October 2015 you can now link your ORCID to your Symplectic Elements account.

For more information and links to useful websites, contact library staff or visit

3) Oxford University Research Archive (ORA)

ORA is a permanent and secure online archive of research output produced by members of the University of Oxford, THE place for Oxford researchers and research students to deposit their material: thesis, articles, conference papers, data, working papers etc. Depositing is very straightforward: at the ORA homepage, click on “Deposit” (signing in with your Oxford Single Sign on), complete the details on the deposit form and upload the file(s).  The ORA team will do all the behind the scenes checking needed to ensure compliance with embargo periods etc.  Alternatively, you may also deposit via Symplectic Elements.

4) Research Data Management (RDM)    Research-data-Oxford-logo-v2

Research data management is a general term covering how you organize, structure, store, and care for the information used or generated during a research project. It includes: planning how your data will be looked after, how you deal with information on a day-to-day basis over the lifetime of a project and what happens to data in the longer term.  Research data can also now be deposited in ORA-Data as the University has compiled an RDM policy.  A copy of this, along with more advice about each stage of the research process, funder requirements and answers to many FAQs are available on the Research Data Oxford website or by contacting the RDM team.


About Nuffield College Library

We are a social sciences library serving Nuffield College and the University of Oxford
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