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.

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 can be made available by 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 the embargo period agreed by the publisher, usually 12-24 months, 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’.


WestminsterResearch is the University of Westminster's institutional repository, containing the research output of the University's academic community, including doctoral theses. This archive contains thousands of records of publications created by members of the academic community at the University. Types of entries include journal articles, chapters, books, conference papers, exhibitions, digital and visual media, artefacts, designs and PhD theses. Where possible the full-text is included through open access.

What to do

Whenever you have an item accepted for publication, add details 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 include a date of acceptance.

Adding publication metadata

On logging into the VRE using your usual University credentials, you should see an ‘Add output’ button on the right. Click this, and then follow the process through to ‘save’ in the top right. Please provide as much detail as possible, but if an item is considered ‘in press’, then you will be able to update this to ‘Published’ at a later time.

Leave any field you are unsure about blank, as the Open Access team will check details of the publication before making this publicly viewable on WestminsterResearch and on your University staff profile page.

If you have problems adding items this way, please email [email protected] for assistance.

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 Open Access team will add a University of Westminster cover sheet to each item, which will include any disclaimers required by your publisher. They will also apply any embargo appropriate to your full text item. You do not need to provide this information yourself as this will be checked on your behalf.

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.

Most Westminster authors supply a Word document, to which the Open Access team add the University of Westminster cover sheet. The OA team will also apply the appropriate embargo to your full text item and at the end of the embargo period, the file will automatically become available for download in the VRE (for Westminster users) and in WestminsterResearch (for external audiences).

If you have queries about what version to upload, please email [email protected].

University of Westminster Open Access Policies

The University of Westminster Research Committee requests deposit of all research outputs accepted for publication into WestminsterResearch. The author should add details via the VRE. For journal articles and published conference proceedings, you must add a copy of your final accepted manuscript and include a date of acceptance. The author should consider adding attachments for other types of output. Help is available from [email protected].uk.

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

For further information please see our list of FAQs relating to open access at Westminster, or email the repository team.

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]