Open Research

Edge Hill University promotes and supports Open Research. Please see this statement for more information.

Edge Hill University has a Policy on Open Access (OA) and accompanying guidance which are informed by the UKRI OA Policy.

Open Access

Pure – Research Information Repository

Pure is the University’s research repository where anyone with an internet connection can find information on research outputs produced by EHU staff.

The depositing process is the same whether or not the output is subject to open access requirements: if you wish to deposit an output, simply follow these instructions.

Library and Learning Services are responsible for the management of research outputs in Pure.

All Pure User Guides & FAQ

What is Open Access?

Open access (OA) publishing allows any reader to view articles online without the need for subscription or other payment. The simplest and easiest way to allow this is by depositing the full text of research outputs into the research repository whenever possible.

OA increases access and engagement with research and is now mandated by Research England (for the REF) and some funders (including UKRI).

SHERPA REF may help to identify whether your preferred journal allows you to comply with the REF OA requirements

Sherpa/RoMEO may help to identify whether your preferred journal allows you to make your output OA in general.

Remember – OA is not limited to the REF: all researchers should be aware that some funders have their own OA requirements so it is important to understand them.

  • SHERPA/JULIET allows you to search research funders’ OA policies
  • SHERPA/FACT may help to check whether your preferred journal complies with certain funders’ OA requirements.

Benefits of Open Access

  • Allows researchers to build on the findings of others without restriction.
  • Enables the public to not only see the results of what is often publicly funded research but can also provide more opportunity to engage with it.
  • Helps to improve education by providing the latest research findings for teachers and students across the world.
  • Removes barriers to research and its benefits e.g. for people in developing countries.

Green or gold?

There are two main models for OA publishing:

Green OA

This involves self-archiving through the deposit of peer-reviewed manuscripts in an OA repository (i.e. Pure).

Where diamond OA (see below) or gold OA through a publisher deal is not available, Green OA is the University’s preferred model.

Green OA usually involves the journal imposing a fixed embargo period to allow its subscribers earlier, closed access.

The author does not pay to publish and, once the embargo ends, the reader does not pay to read.

Even if they are subject to an embargo, articles can only be REF compliant provided you deposit the ‘author accepted manuscript’ full text within 90 days of acceptance by the publisher; the full text will be in the system but will simply be restricted from public access during the embargo period.

Gold OA

This has traditionally involved the author paying an article processing charge (APC) to the publisher to ensure OA earlier. However, these charges are increasingly being covered by publisher deals arranged with Library and Learning Services and the Research Office, meaning no APC is payable. See Open access options for Researchers for a list of deals.

Gold OA features no embargo period and the public can read the article upon publication without having to pay.

Some funders may require gold or diamond OA.

Funding may be available from the University to help meet APCs but the choice of gold OA must be justified.

The article should still be deposited in Pure within the requirements of the Open Access Policy as normal to facilitate preservation, aggregation and text-mining, and to ensure its availability for the REF.

You may also encounter different colours:

  • White journals do not allow OA under any circumstances (you will need to request an ‘exception’ to the policy; Research England states that citation indices are not valid reasons for non-OA articles in the REF);
  • Diamond journals publish as OA by default for free (essentially gold OA without an APC).

 Sources such as Sherpa/RoMEO may use a different colour coding system to describe OA restrictions!

Internal funding for publishing charges

The University has a number of ‘read and publish’ deals with publishers to pay for OA with no article processing charges: for more information visit our Wiki pages. 

Where green OA may not be possible or appropriate, and if we have no suitable read and publish deal, there may be a strong justification for making the article accessible sooner through gold OA. Considerations may include making research accessible in countries where the research has the greatest benefit, such as developing countries.

Staff who can make an appropriate case may therefore apply for funding to support APCs for gold OA costs and other publishing charges. Such cases will be based on the appropriateness of the publication, benefits of placing the paper in the specific publication and the cost versus benefit (i.e. value for money).

Applications for Open Access funding must be made before the article is submitted for publication.  We aim to make a decision within 10 working days.

OA & the REF

Complying with the policy

If the full text was deposited in EHRA within 90 days of acceptance by the publisher (even if under embargo), and was made fully accessible within 30 days of deposit/end of embargo, it is REF OA compliant.

If the article is not in the live repository by the end of the 90 days it will not be compliant so cannot be submitted to the REF.

From 01 April 2016, you must deposit your output in Pure and send it to Learning Services for validation (through the system) as soon as the article is accepted by the publisher:

Your deposit should be as complete as possible and include the following files uploaded to the output (see the user guide):

  1. The written confirmation of acceptance you have received from the publisher (letter/e-mail)
  2. The author accepted manuscript (aka post-print version) of the article

You should allow time for Learning Services to make the deposit live so be sure to notify Learning Services at [email protected] if your article is already approaching its 90 day deposit deadline.

If you have co-authors at EHU, only one of you needs to deposit the article for it to be linked to all of your profiles in Pure.

Articles accepted before 01 April 2016 and other output types

All journal articles or conference proceedings articles (with an ISSN) must be open access (OA) to be eligible for REF 2021. However, if accepted before 01 April 2016 they are not subject to the 90 day deposit rule so you have a more time to upload the full text (if the publisher allows).

Other output types should be OA wherever possible as best practice (e.g. books, chapters, etc.).

Which version should you deposit and when?

The date of acceptance is the point at which you are notified by the publisher that:

  • the article has been reviewed,
  • all requested changes have been made, and
  • the article will move toward publication.

OA publications

If your article was published with immediate open access (i.e. gold OA or the journal is OA by default), you should be able to deposit the final, published version immediately.

Please check the journal’s policy or ask Learning Services via [email protected] if you are in doubt.

Green OA publications

If the article was not published with immediate open access, the version you need to provide is the one accepted by the editor, at the point 4 in the list below – not the copy-edited, typeset or published paper (proof/galley/version of record).

  1. Submit to publisher
  2. Peer review
  3. Edit
  4. Accepted by publisher (accepted version post-print AAM)
  5. Copy-editing and typesetting
  6. Publication

Please check the journal’s policy or ask Learning Services via [email protected] if you are in doubt.

Embargo periods

Some publishers may make articles available without charge but only after an embargo, during which it is limited to those who subscribe/pay (green OA, above).

Embargo end dates are based on the article publication date but Research England states that embargoes for REF eligibility must not exceed the following without good reason:

  • 12 months for REF panels A and B
  • 24 months for REF panels C and D

If there is a permanent embargo, or if a temporary embargo exceeds these maxima, access may only be restricted in accordance with the REF OA Policy. If this is the case, you will need to an exception to the policy for your output.

If you wish to know whether an embargo applies to your output, your publisher may have informed you if there is an embargo in place, or you should be able to find the publisher’s embargo policy on its website or on SHERPA/RoMEO.

What happens after you deposit your output?

If there is any key information missing, Learning Services cannot validate it so they will return the output to you for correction.

If your output has been returned to you, it has been validated (publicly visible), so it is not OA compliant yet; you should take action as soon as you receive such a notification.

Policy Exceptions

It may be the case that your output falls within the scope of the OA policy but does not automatically comply with it, yet you believe there is a valid reason why it should still be considered compliant.

It may even be that your output was published as OA but, because you did not deposit it within 90 days, the metadata tells Pure it is not compliant.

In such cases, Pure will normally display the output’s compliance status while you are preparing it for deposit, so you know if an exception to the policy needs to be logged. This will be in the Assessment section of the editor window/form.

If you would like to apply an exception, please check the ‘Secure an open access compliance exception’ guidance on the Research Wiki and contact [email protected] with details.

The Assessment section will only appear if your output is subject to the REF OA policy (set up in Pure as an article with an acceptance date since 01/04/2016…).


If your output is subject to the policy but there is no Assessment section visible:

  • Check that you have included the necessary metadata (e.g. an acceptance date)
  • Try saving it to the Entry in Progress workflow step and re-opening the record. Remember to save it to For Validation when you are ready to send it to Learning Services!

Licences for Re-Use

All files uploaded to Pure should be deposited under the Creative Commons licence CC-BY-NC-ND unless you know it requires a different licence.

The licence will determine the level of re-use, allowing readers to use, share and, in some cases, adapt the file freely and without charge.

Details of what each type of licence allows can be found on the Creative Commons website.

Your publisher or funder may mandate the use of a particular licence, while the REF requires that articles in journals or conference proceedings with an ISSN must specify a licence no more restrictive than the abovementioned default.

Publisher licence requirements may be found on SHERPA/RoMEO or on the publisher’s own website.

If the file represents a creative work for which you are responsible for deciding upon a licence, you should carefully consider the implications of imposing an overly permissive or restrictive licence.

Safe Publishing

The increasing importance of OA has resulted in a move by some publishers towards gold OA. This has in turn led to the emergence of some unscrupulous publishers.

Predatory publishers

You may receive e-mails from journal editors soliciting papers for open access publication (or presentation at conferences). These journals will often publish quickly without peer review, reducing the credibility of the research (and by extension the researchers).

Papers published in predatory journals are unlikely to be properly indexed and, once published in there, you will not be able to publish the article in a legitimate journal.

The problem of these publications is increasing such that there were an estimated 420,000 articles published in predatory or suspect journals in 2014.

While some may well turn out to be trustworthy, researchers should always be cautious of unsolicited requests from publishers, whether they come via e-mail, social media or other channels. Some e-mails may be noticeably untrustworthy but others may be harder to spot.

How can you tell if a publisher is safe?

  • The Think, Check and Submit campaign helps you identify trusted journals for your research using a simple checklist
  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) reviews the journals and publishers within to ensure they commit to and prove quality, peer-reviewed OA.
  • Beaubien and Eckard’s (2014) Open access journal quality indicators may be a useful guide as to how ethical the publisher is for example;
    • Positive: scope of the journal, audience, reputation of its editorial board, affiliations, easy to find, clear fees information, presence of international standards such as DOI/ISSN, membership of OASPA, indexing in DOAJ (above)
    • Negative: difficult to locate/identify website, vague or missing information such as scope and policies, spamming or other obtrusive advertising practices
  • Publons’ journals list gathers information such as the reviewers and editors of a journal, review policy, and endorsements to help researchers. More details can be found online.

If you have any questions or concerns about publishers/conferences please contact one of the professors in your area or the Research Office.

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