Open Access FAQs

Yes, find out more about WestminsterResearch. WestminsterResearch is an example of Green Open Access, an Institutional Repository which archives accepted publications where publisher policy allows.

It is University of Westminster policy that members of staff should deposit the final author-formatted version of all articles and conference papers.

Open Access to publications arising from research grants is mandated by some funders, eg Wellcome Trust and RCUK and the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) and Horizon 2020.

To be eligible for submission to the post-2014 REF, authors’ final peer-reviewed manuscripts of journal articles and conference papers must have been deposited in an institutional or subject repository on acceptance for publication from 1 April 2016, see the Higher Education Funding Council for England website for more details.

Future funding streams and conditions of awards will be assessed by compliance levels, so researchers are strongly urged to publish in compliance as soon as possible.

Send your final author-formatted version to the WestminsterResearch administrator [email protected]. We will check publishers’ policies and add the full-text to WestminsterResearch where and when it is legal to do so. This is also the email address you can use if you have any questions about WestminsterResearch or this process.

Visit your funder's website. The Sherpa-Juliet database provides a summary of current funders' policies, plus links to their Open Access policies. New RCUK and Wellcome Trust Open Access policies apply from 1 April 2013.

The standards of peer review and editorial submission for Open Access are exactly the same as those required of conventional subscription based material. WestminsterResearch only includes either final author versions, or 'as published' versions of journal articles. This should allay any concerns that may arise over making pre-peer-reviewed journal papers available online.

WestminsterResearch is included in national and global registries including the Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) and the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR). WestminsterResearch publications also feed into University of Westminster authors’ publicly visible ‘Staff Profile’ web pages.

Interest in institutional repositories within the academic community has been stimulated by a growing awareness of the benefits of freely disseminating research. As no library will have subscriptions to every journal, Open Access publishing is strongly recommended as a complement to publishing in scholarly journals. By making our research available to everyone, WestminsterResearch is raising the profile of the University while following good practice in Open Access.

Increased citations. Making papers freely available can increase the number of people who access and cite a paper. Research has shown that free online availability can substantially increase a paper's impact. In some fields this can be by as much as 300%.

Steve Hitchcock's ongoing bibliography: The effect of open access and downloads ('hits') on citation impact: a bibliography of studies lists many papers on this subject.

Research management. WestminsterResearch was used to manage submissions during the Research Assessment Exercise 2008 and the Research Excellence Framework 2014.

After checking WestminsterResearch to see what may already be included, you should send a bibliographic list containing details of all your missing or new research outputs to the WestminsterResearch Administrator. You should also send an electronic copy of the final author-formatted version of journal articles and conference papers. For all other types of outputs, including book chapters and non text based outputs, such as video, photograph, music file, etc, additional third party permissions may be required. Please contact the Administrator for information on gaining any necessary permissions to add full text or files.

Publications you have produced in an academic capacity should be included in WestminsterResearch. You must comply with any restrictions on use agreed with your publisher when signing a contract for publication. A useful website to find a summary of permissions that are normally given as part of each publisher's copyright transfer agreement is RoMEO. For new publications, please contact the WestminsterResearch Administrator as soon as the output is accepted for publication. It can then be added as pending publication/in-press and updated once publication occurs.


You may have heard that you are not allowed to make articles you have written freely available online in this way. However, the majority of publishers will allow the author to deposit a post-print. A post-print is a final peer-reviewed manuscript as accepted for publication. Publishers usually describe these post-prints as 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.

RoMEO contains the policies of many publishers, some of whom may stipulate an embargo period following publication, indicating how much time must elapse before you make your paper freely available. If you have never assigned any of your rights under copyright or license to a third party, you are free to add this information to WestminsterResearch.


A Versions Toolkit has been developed as a practical guide to help authors when taking decisions about disseminating research on the Web. Download the toolkit.

An APC is a fee paid to the publisher of a journal to make an article free at point of access. This is Gold Open Access. While Open Access principles promote free availability of research and scholarly output, research papers are not cost free to publish. The cost of publication is moved from the reader (via subscriptions and paywalls) to the creator (via the APC).

University of Westminster APC Policy FAQs

Contact your Academic Liaison Librarian for advice on Open Access publishing, funder and journal policies and further information about APCs when you are considering publishing.

If you have decided to publish in a journal which requires APC funds to make your article Open Access you should apply to the University for funding by filling out an application form.

The impact factor of journals is among the criteria used to decide on APC funding applications. Faculties may choose to add additional funds to the central University fund for APCs.

The career position of applicants is among the criteria used to decide on APC funding applications. Faculties may choose to add additional funds to the central University fund for APCs.

For April 2013-14 the University received £12,090 from RCUK to help towards paying for research outputs funded by RCUK grants. The University is considering a top-up to the central fund for APCs. Faculties will also have the option of adding to this centrally administered fund for their own researchers.

There will need to be balance between Gold (with a possible APC) and Green (no APC) Open Access.

Applications for APCs will be considered at monthly meetings of a University panel chaired by the Pro Vice Chancellor for Research on the basis of the criteria set out in the application form.

Payment of all APCs agreed by the University will be made centrally by Information Services’s Collections Management team. They will also monitor our progress on Open Access and provide the required reports to RCUK.

RCUK and other funders' Open Access policies

The policy applies to articles that have been submitted for publication since 1 April 2013.

Yes - the policy applies to students’ peer reviewed journal articles or conference publications resulting from research at least partially funded by RCUK.

No - but you can check journal and publishers’ policy on Open Access via the RoMEO database set up by SHERPA. SHERPA’s Funders’ & Authors’ Compliance Tool (SHERPA FACT) is also available 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.

For advice on whether your chosen journal is compliant with RCUK Open Access policy contact your Academic Liaison Librarian.

Gold Access describes publication in peer reviewed journals, which may require payment of an Article Processing Charge (APC), and which permits immediate, free online access to the full content of an article.

Green Access describes the process of depositing (also known as self archiving), cost free, a copy of an article in either the accepted or published format into an institutional or subject repository.

See the Research Council UK (RCUK) Policy on Open Access.

The intention is not to restrict where research can be published but to make outputs available widely and quickly. Gold is the preferred RCUK route but where a publisher allows it you may still choose Green. In such cases papers should be published in a journal with a maximum embargo of 6 months for biomedicine, 12 months for STEM disciplines or 24 months in the arts humanities and social sciences.

Where neither option exists you will have to choose another journal.

You have to deposit the final author formatted version which has been accepted and peer reviewed, not earlier revisions.

Creative Commons is a non profit organisation that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. Their free copyright licenses provide a simple and standardised way to give the public permission to share and use an author’s creative work — on conditions set by the author.

From 1 April 2013, Research Councils UK and Wellcome Trust ask researchers who produce work as a result of research being funded by them, to publish papers in Open Access journals using a CC-BY license or equivalent. A CC-BY-NC license or equivalent is to be used for papers that are alternatively deposited in an Open Access institutional repository. Under both licenses works can be shared and used as long as the work is attributed. The CC-BY license allows use for commercial purposes, the CC-BY-NC license is limited to non commercial use.

CC-BY and CC-BY-NC require acknowledgement of the author and copyright legislation still applies. Papers which are openly accessible make the risk of unattributed copying or paraphrasing less hazardous than most, being easier to identify and detect from source. The accessibility and metadata tagging function of Open Access will make it easier to recognise those committing intentional plagiarism and breaching intellectual property rights and/or copyright.

The University of Westminster has received some funding to pay for RCUK funded research outputs.

University of Westminster has RCUK funding from April 2013 of £12,090 and £14,224 from 2014. RCUK calculate this should fund approximately 7 articles in the first year and 9 in the second year. This is based on an average price of £1,727 + VAT per article but many APCs are well below this.

You will be able to apply for funding towards APCs for both UK based and international journal publishers. RCUK has been making publishers aware of the upcoming change and encouraging them to alter their own policies and licenses. A similar shift in emphasis to Open Access publishing policy is being discussed within both the USA and the EU.

We need to know when the article is accepted. The one exception is where you have already received a grant which includes funds specified for APCs. Grants should be used before applying to use the RCUK University OA block grant.

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