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Research Support: Open Access and Publishing

Open Researcher and Contributor ID

eResearch - QMU's publications repository

If you have any questions about publishing and open access at QMU, please contact the eResearch Team

Where to publish?


Think. Check. Submit. is a campaign to help researchers identify trusted
journals for their research. It is a simple checklist researchers can use to assess the credentials of a journal or publisher.



What is open access?

Open Access is commonly understood to mean where research is made freely available for anyone to view online, sometimes without the copyright and licensing restrictions commonly associated with publishing. True open access allows the end user to share and modify the paper, often following the terms of a CC (Creative Commons) license. 

Green open access is where the pre-print (first version of a paper) or post-print (final, peer-reviewed, pre-publication version) is deposited in an institutional or subject repository. The depositing of these papers can be subject to publisher imposed embargo periods, where the paper cannot be made available for a specified time period.

Gold open access is where an APC (article processing charge) has been paid to a publisher to make a paper open access on the publisher website. This does not necessarily mean that the paper can be posted elsewhere.

Where can I find out more about open access?


The mission of CORE (COnnecting REpositories) is to aggregate all open access research outputs from repositories and journals worldwide and make them available to the public.



This website provides summaries of the permissions of publisher and journal copyright policies regarding self-archiving of papers. SHERPA/RoMEO has been recommended as a tool for policy checks for the purpose of the next REF.



A website with information on research funders' open access policies.



SHERPA/FACT is a tool to help researchers check if the journals in which they wish to publish their results comply with their funder's requirements for open access to research.


DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals)

An online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals. It is a white list of open access journals and aims to be the starting point for all information searches for quality, peer reviewed open access material.

Useful links

eResearch latest additions

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REF 2021 and Open Access

REF 2021 Open Access publication requirements

The four main UK higher education funding bodies, including the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and Research England, have announced their policy for open access in REF 2021.

Essentially, all journal articles and conference proceedings, with an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), accepted for publication after 1 April 2016 must be made available on an open access basis.

The policy does not apply to monographs or other long form publications, to non-text outputs, research data, conference proceedings published with an International Standard Book Number (ISBN), or publications that must remain confidential for security or commercial reasons.

Open access criteria





Journal article or Conference Proceeding with an ISSN

to be deposited in an institutional repository (eResearch), or a subject repository (e.g. PubMed Central)

no later than 3 months after the date of acceptance from 1 April 2018.

(Research England advise they will introduce an exception to the policy after 1 April 2018, allowing outputs unable to meet deposit timescales to remain compliant if they are deposited up to three months after the date of publication) 

to be the 'final author version' or 'post-print' which can be replaced with the final published PDF version at a later date.

Further details available on the REF 2021 Guidance webpage.

Embargo periods

Any embargo periods imposed by journal publishers must not exceed the following lengths:

  • 12 months for REF Main Panels A and B
  • 24 months for REF Main Panels C and D

Outputs still under embargo can be selected for the next REF provided that the date of first publication is still within the REF reporting period.

Version to use

Use the final draft author manuscript, as accepted for publication, including modifications based on referees' suggestions, but before it has undergone copy-editing and proof correction. This is sometimes known as the post-print, author version, or personal copy. It is important to have the correct version of the file to upload and to check for copyright restrictions. It is often not permissible to make the publisher’s version accessible via an institutional repository. The Sherpa Romeo website can help you to find out more about a journal or publisher’s copyright restrictions. Alternatively, please contact the Library's eResearch Team for assistance.


There are a limited number of situations where an output may be exempt from the open access policy, which fall under the headings deposit, access and technical exceptions. Exceptions to the policy can also be made for 'gold' open access papers, where an article processing charge (APC) has been paid to the publisher.

Any output that falls within the scope of this policy and is submitted to the post-2014 REF but does not meet the requirements without a valid exception will be given an unclassified score and will not be assessed.