What is Open Access?

Open access (OA) publishing is the means by which peer-reviewed research is made freely available online, with as few restrictions on how the works may be re-used as possible.

By making your publications open access, your work will be visible by those who do not have institutional subscriptions to journals or e-books, thereby increasing the reach of your research. Open access publishing does not circumvent peer review. Outputs are still peer reviewed and published in the traditional way, in addition to making a copy of the item available via open access.

Items are be made available through open access in two main ways:

  1. The item is published in the normal way and then a second copy, usually the accepted author manuscript version, is deposited (‘self-archived’) in an institutional or subject repository and made available on here after any embargo period agreed by the publisher has expired. This is known as ‘green open access’.
  2. The publisher’s version of the item is made instantly freely available on the publisher’s website, in some cases in return for an Article or Book Processing Charge (APC/BPC) being paid to the publisher and known as ‘gold open access’.

University of Westminster Open Access Policy

The University Open Access Policy requests deposit of all research outputs into WestminsterResearch. The creator should add details via the VRE. For journal articles and published conference proceedings, a copy of the final accepted manuscript and a date of acceptance must be included. Adding attachments for all other types of outputs is encouraged.

Green open access is the University’s preferred route. This route involves no fee.

Limited funding for Gold Open Access may be available where the application is supported by the College Research Director.


WestminsterResearch is the University of Westminster's institutional repository, containing a record of the research output of the University's academic community, including doctoral theses. Types of entries include journal articles, chapters, books, conference papers, practice based works such as exhibitions, digital and visual media, artefacts, designs, and PhD theses. Where possible full contents are included and made openly available.

Adding records

Whenever you complete a research output you must add a record of it to your researcher profile in the Virtual Research Environment (VRE). For journal articles and published conference proceedings, you must include a copy of your final accepted manuscript and the date of acceptance. For all other output types, adding attachments is strongly encouraged where permitted.

On logging into the VRE using your usual University credentials, select ‘My Research Outputs’, and then the ‘Add output’ button on the right hand side. Complete the form with as much detail as possible, then select ‘save’ and ‘submit’. If an item is considered ‘in press’ or ‘online first’ you will be able to note this, and update final details later.

Leave any fields you are unsure about blank, the repository team will check details of the output before making it publicly viewable on WestminsterResearch.

Adding full text

For journal articles and published conference proceedings, you must add a copy of your final accepted manuscript and include a date of acceptance. The repository staff will add a University of Westminster cover sheet to each item, which will include any specific text required by your publisher. They will also apply any embargo that may be stipulated; after which time the file will become available for download in WestminsterResearch to an external audience.

Your accepted manuscript is the text as accepted for publication, including any amendments required after peer review. This will not include the publisher’s typesetting or formatting, such as journal branding or pagination.

REF compliance

From April 2016, to be eligible for submission to REF2021, all journal articles and conference papers published with an ISSN must have been deposited in WestminsterResearch, via the VRE, within 3 months of acceptance. By completing the steps outlined above, you will comply with this policy. Further guidance on REF compliance is available.

Further help

If you require any guidance on the version to upload, have difficulties adding outputs to the VRE, or require further information, please see our list of FAQs relating to open access at Westminster, or email the repository team at [email protected].

Open access calculator

Open access funding

Support available to deliver our Open Access policy at University of Westminster.



The University of Westminster's online repository, containing the research output of the University's academic community.

Contact us

If you would like any help or advice please contact the Open Access team

 [email protected]