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Open Access: Open Access Policies & Compliance

Open Access Library Guide

What do I need to do?

What do I need to do to comply with the University / HEFCW open access policy?
  • All Swansea University researchers are expected to ensure that their published outputs align with the University OA policy and the requirements for submission to REF 2021. Many external funders also have open access requirements that exceed the REF policy which will apply to any research acknowledging funding.
  • When you have an article or conference paper accepted for publication make sure you deposit it in the Research Information System (RIS) straight away. It must be the peer reviewed version with the text basically as it will appear in the journal but without the publisher formatting (unless you have paid an article processing charge to the publisher).
  • You will need to check that your publisher allows you to do this and whether they require an embargo period. Use the Sherpa Romeo tool to see a summary of the publisher copyright and self-archiving policy for your chosen title.

Find out more about RIS & Cronfa in our Institutional Repository Guide.

What type of material is covered by the requirements for the next Research Excellence Framework?

REF Open Access requirements apply to papers accepted from 1 April 2016

The policy covers journal articles and conference papers which are in a publication with an ISSN. No other type of material is required but HEFCW  / HEFCE are keen to see universities make as much as possible open access and universities will get credit for going beyond the requirements.

You must deposit your author accepted manuscript within 3 months of the date of acceptance to be eligible for REF. 
There are some exceptions to the REF Open Access requirements.  Exceptions include:

  • You were not employed by a UK HEI at the time of publication submission
  • You were employed at a different UK HEI which failed to comply with the criteria
  • It would be unlawful to deposit
  • It would present a security risk to deposit
  • The publication concerned requires an embargo period that exceeds the stated maximum, and it was the most appropriate publication for the output
  • Open Access rights could not be granted for third party content
  • The publication concerned actively disallows open access deposit, and it was the most appropriate publication for the output

Contact us if you require further information.  

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Open Access FAQs

Research Funders' Open Access Requirements

Many funders require some form of open access - look out for policies when applying for grants. The details of their requirements may differ from the HEFCE or REF open access policy. If you don't comply with your funder's policy, your existing grant may be partially withheld, and you may not be eligible for future funding. 

Sherpa Juliet contains details of many, including quite a few medical charities. 

It is not usually necessary to pay. Most publishers allow the deposit of an accepted manuscript or postprint in an institutional repository, often with an embargo period. In some cases where you have funding you can pay the publisher to make your paper freely available straight away (gold open access).

  • At Swansea we have central money available if you are UKRI (RCUK) funded which you can apply for via our online APC application form. 
  • Please note that for UKRI (RCUK) funded research where you choose to use the green open access route (deposit of the final accepted manuscript in a repository, usually with an embargo) you must ensure that the licence places no restriction on non-commercial reuse, including non-commercial text-and data-mining. The licence should allow for the sharing of adaptations of the material. This means a CC-BY-NC licence, or equivalent is acceptable. A CC-BY-NC-ND licence is not compliant.
  • There are limited College budgets available to support REF eligible gold open access for unfunded research.

Further information here

In the majority of cases you should be able to use your usual journals. HEFCW / HEFCE say that their aim is not to dictate where people can publish and there are some cases where exceptions to the open access policy are allowed (see section 37 of the open access policy). However, you should make sure you are aware of a publisher's policies before you choose a journal. In a small number of cases it might be advisable to change.

If the journal's embargo period is longer than 12 months (REF panels A and B) or 24 months (REF panels C and D), or the journal does not allow open access at all, your paper will still be eligible for the REF provided you consider the journal the most appropriate publication for the work.

The Think, Check, Submit Tool helps researchers identify trusted journals for their research.

You can browse Journal Citation Reports

Further information is available on our Library Guide: Publishing and Research Impact


Creative Commons (CCL) are pre-prepared licences that are intended to help copyright holders distribute their work; they define how the work can be used by others without the need to grant permission each time someone wants to use it.  There are various different types allowing for reuse, modification, commercial use etc. The Creative Commons web site has more information.

The licences contain four main elements:

  • Attribution (BY) - You must credit the licensor of the work.                
  • Non Commercial (NC) - You can only use the work for non-commercial purposes                
  • No Derivatives (ND) - You may not create adaptations of the work.                
  • Share alike (SA) - You may create adaptations of the work, but these must be under the same licence as this work.                

These elements then combine to form six licences plus a final CC Zero or public domain licence which purports to waive all rights to the material it is applied to:           

  • Attribution-Only (CC-BY)             
  • Attribution-No-Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)               
  • Attribution-Non-Commercial No–Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND)                
  • Attribution-Non-Commercial (CC-BY-NC)                
  • Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike (CC-BY-NC-SA)                
  • Attribution-Share Alike (CC-BY-SA)                
  • Public Domain (CC-0)

Single grant
This work was supported by [Funder] [grant number xxxxx].

Multiple grants
This work was supported by the [Funder 1] [grant numbers xxxx, yyyy]; [Funder 2] [grant number zzzz]; and [Funder 3] [grant number aaaa].

ERDF (European Regional Development Fund)
Example - We acknowledge the support of the Supercomputing Wales project, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) via Welsh Government.

If you are required by your funder to add a data statement to your paper you could include information in this format:

My paper contains data which are openly available

  • All research data supporting this publication are available within this publication.
  • Additional research data supporting this publication are available from [insert repository name] repository via [insert DOI].

My paper does not refer to underlying research data

  • All data underlying this study are cited in the references.

It is not possible to make my research data openly available

  • Due to ethical concerns, supporting data cannot be made openly available. Further information about the data and conditions for access are available from [insert repository name] repository via [insert DOI].

The publisher policy will specify which version you can upload. This could be:

  • Pre-print version: normally the author’s pre-review draft, accepted for publication but no peer review will have taken place. Most publishers allow archiving of pre-prints without restriction. 
  • Author accepted manuscript (post-print) version: normally the final peer-reviewed article that has been accepted for publication but has not been formatted with the publisher’s final layout. Copyright and/or other publication rights are normally transferred to the publisher via a publishing agreement so you should check if you are permitted to archive this version. Self-archiving embargo periods may apply.
    This is the version of manuscript required to comply with the REF open access policy.
  • Published version (version of record) incorporating the layout and typographical arrangement of the publisher and usually providing a link to the published pay-wall version. 
    You are not usually able to upload the publisher created PDF version unless you have permission from the publisher or you have paid an article processing charge fee to the journal for gold open access.

What if I don't have the final accepted version of the manuscript?

  • Contact the corresponding author or your co-authors so that you can upload a copy in good time.
  • ​Non-UK authors may need an explanation about the UK HEFCE/HEFCW requirement that UK authors are required to deposit the final accepted manuscript (AAM) in their institutional repository. The AAM, which is the version of the article that was peer reviewed but without the publisher's typesetting, will be made open access after a delay period specified by the publisher policy.
  • If you cannot obtain your final manuscript then we can apply a REF exception to your paper. Contact the Research Support team.

If a conference proceeding is published with both an ISSN and an ISBN or in journals with ISBN only.
Please see the HEFCE FAQ 2.4 definition for full details.

In general:

Outputs published in journals with an ISBN are within scope. 

The distinction between ISSNs and ISBNs is intended to separate two types of conferences:

  • (a - in-scope) conferences that publish online-only, journal-like series of proceedings (typically in the sciences)
  • (b - out of scope) conferences that publish books or book-like outputs (typically in the humanities).

Check the self-archiving policy for the conference publication. It is advised that you deposit the accepted manuscript for all conference proceedings in RIS. 

New members of staff should upload the final accepted manuscript (AAM) of all journal articles and conference papers accepted for publication after 1 April 2016. If you have previously uploaded your output to another institution's repository you can provide the URL details to the Library Research Support team. We can set an exception flag to demonstrate that the output is compliant in another repository.

You can still submit your publications to the REF and you should upload the manuscript to RIS where possible. These outputs can be selected for the REF even if a file has not been uploaded. The Library Research Support team will assign an applicable exception flag to the output record if you were previously employed by a non-UK HEI institution.

Please contact the Library Research Support team if you require assistance.

We are able to claim an exception if an open access deposit would put the author or the institution at risk. 

Please contact the Library Research Support team if you require assistance.

Uploading to RIS does not make your paper openly available unless you press the 'Publish to Cronfa' button.

A member of the Research Support team will usually double check the publisher terms and conditions using Sherpa Romeo and check that the applicable embargo period is applied to the journal output. The metadata description record will appear in Cronfa overnight but the full-text file is normally subject to the embargo period. 

  • Embargo periods are usually calculated from the first date of online publication.

Visit the Copyright Library Guide for help on copyright at Swansea University

  • The accepted manuscript needs to be uploaded to RIS, even if the paper will also be made available through a subject repository like arXiv, bioRxiv, SSRN or Europe PubMed Central. The University Open Access Policy requires deposit in RIS & Cronfa.
  • Swansea University needs to demonstrate that the accepted manuscript was uploaded within 3 months of first online publication, and subject repositories do not record the required metadata information. Institutions may submit pre-prints as eligible outputs to REF 2021 where a pre-print version is the same as the author-accepted manuscript.
  • If your funder requires open access in Europe PubMed Central, and your paper is not Gold open access, you will need to upload your manuscript both to Europe PubMed Central* and to RIS.
    *Your College REF Officer will help you with this.
  • Social networking sites like ResearchGate and do not ensure long-term access to deposited publications. These sites are not open access repositories.

If your paper contains third-party content for which open access rights cannot be granted you have the option to upload the text on its own. However, the REF policy recognises that the third-party content may be essential to the publication, and allows an access exception in these circumstances. 

Please contact the Library Research Support team if you require assistance.

It is important that all papers that fall under the REF policy are added to RIS so that they are eligible for submission regardless of where an author is based at the time of the next REF. Please add the output to RIS.

Publishing models for books are complex and at the moment there is no requirement to make books open access. A lot of innovation is starting in this area though. You can read more on this post from our blog.

If you would like to make a chapter from your book available you are welcome to put it in RIS/Cronfa if your publisher allows this. Author's are strongly encouraged to upload outputs outside the scope of the REF policy to increase citations and to provide greater research visibility.

Further information is also available on our Library Guide: Publishing and Research Impact or you can discover a selection of Guides for OA Monographs from the OAPEN website.

How do I make my PhD open access to comply with my funder or institutional OA requirements?
Full text PhD theses produced at Swansea University are provided in Cronfa, the institutional repository.
Please visit our E-Theses Library Guide for information on the Library mediated deposit service.

Compliance with the UK Research Councils’ (RCUK) policy on open access:
The UKRI (RCUK) document "Research Councils Training Grants Terms & Conditions"  Requirement TGC15 states that the institution must support RCUK funded Ph.D. students to publish the results of their research in the institution's repository as soon as possible after award. A full text version should be available within a maximum of 12 months following award.

Research Councils’ policies on research data require data generated or collected by research that supports published research findings (which could include e-theses) to be preserved and (where no commercial, ethical, or legal restrictions apply) made publicly available. Clarification on the EPSRC data access requirement can be found here. We can link your e-thesis record to your research data if you provide a URL.

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Checklist - Deposit Your Research

Within three months of the date accepted for publication, authors need to deposit in RIS:

 metadata (description of research output)   
 full text (author's accepted manuscript) 

Outputs under embargo can be submitted to REF 2021.
Acceptable embargo periods, by REF panel, are:

  • Panels A & B - 12 months
  • Panels C & D - 24 months

When choosing a publication journal ensure they permit a REF-acceptable embargo period.

Sherpa Romeo Tool

Publisher copyright policies
& self-archiving

Sherpa Juliet Tool

Funders & Authors Compliance Tool