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Open Access and REF eligibility

Open access workshop

To be eligible for the next REF, HEFCE’s Open Access Policy requires that journal and conference articles are made Open Access.

From 1st April 2016, authors need to upload their articles to Pure immediately when they are accepted for publication.

If your article has not been correctly uploaded to Pure within 3 months of being accepted for publication, then it will not be eligible for the next REF.

If you have any questions then please contact the Research Outputs Team at

Alternatively, you can come along to an Open Access workshop (please see the presentation slides from June 2016 workshop).

Please also see the below FAQs.





How do I make my work Open Access?

OA policies apply to peer-reviewed journal and conference articles.  There are two routes to OA: the 'free' green route and the 'paid for' gold route.

Open access flowchart‌ 

The University has a preference for the green route. However, we recognise that in some cases it may be necessary for an author to follow the gold route, for example if you are RCUK funded.


Green Route to OA (preferred):-

Summary: An author publishes in a hybrid (subscription) journal and uploads a post-print of the article to an institutional repository (i.e. Pure).  This makes the article freely available online (ie. on the Research Portal), either immediately or after a publisher-imposed embargo period. 



1. Before submitting your article, look for a hybrid journal that meets funder requirements (ie. HEFCE's REF requirements and any external funders) and does not require an Article Processing Charge (APC) to be paid. 

This involves making sure that the embargo period the publisher imposes on your post-print does not exceed the embargo that funders will accept (e.g. HEFCE allow up to 12 months for REF panels A and B, and 24 months for panels C and D. RCUK permitted embargos are shorter).  Publisher's copyright and self-archiving details can be found on Sherpa Romeo, and if you're externally funded the Sherpa Fact is useful. (If you are publishing with Elsevier, do not use Sherpa Romeo. Please look at this Elsevier list).  If you have any questions at this stage, please contact

In addition to OA, the quality of the journal is also important and bibliometrics provide one method of comparing journals. 


2. Submit your article to your chosen publication, and follow the normal publication and acceptance procedures.  Keep evidence of the date your article was accepted.


3. Within 3 months of your article being accepted for publication, upload the following to Pure:- 

Bibliographic information, for example authors, title, journal, abstract.

The post-print of the article.

Once validated by the Library, these details will be publically visible on the Portsmouth Research Portal.  

Authors can either upload publications to Pure themselves (see how do I upload my publications to Pure?) or send them to their Faculty Depositor.


Gold route to OA:-

Summary: An author publishes in an open access or a hybrid (subscription) journal and pays an Article Processing Charge (APC) to make the article openly available online (without charge/subscription) immediately on publication on the publisher's website.

Although in most cases the University prefers the green route, the gold route may be appropriate in the following circumstances:-


1. Before submitting your article for publication, secure funding to pay the APC.   The University has some funds available to help researchers to meet the costs of APCs.  

For non-RCUK funded authors, these funds are only available to authors who can demonstrate that they have no other sources (e.g. their departments) from which they can meet the costs, and that paying an APC to publish in the specified journal can be justified.  Also, while PhD students are welcome to apply if they are the corresponding author, the article must also include at least one other author who is a member of staff at Portsmouth.   

The University also has a separate budget for APCs for RCUK funded authors.

If you wish to apply for APC funding from the University’s central fund, then you are strongly advised to do so (and to wait to receive a response) before you submit your article to the journal.  Please note that acceptance of an article for publication by a journal will not necessarily guarantee that APC funds will be made available.

The University has a number of APC discount deals, as a result of our subscriptions with publishers.

Some hybrid journals also have general publication charges (e.g. colour charges), which are additional to APCs.  The APC funds cannot be used to pay general publication charges.  

To apply for APC funding, please complete the form below and email it to 

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2. Submit your article to your chosen publication, and follow the normal publication and acceptance procedures.  Keep evidence of the date your article was accepted.


3. Within 3 months of your article being accepted for publication:- 

Pay the publisher by sending the invoice to Make sure you select the CC-BY licience on your article. 

It is essential that you also upload the following to Pure:- 

Bibliographic information, for example authors, title, journal, abstract, and

The post-print of the article.

Once validated by the Library, these details will be publically visible on the Portsmouth Research Portal.  

Academics can either upload publications to Pure themselves (see how do I upload my publications to Pure?) or send them to your Faculty Depositor.


4. When your article is published: Publishers usually allow you to replace the post-print with publisher's version when the article is published. (The reason you need to have upload post-print earlier is to meet HEFCE's '3 months from acceptance' deadline').


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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



What is Open Access (OA) and why is it important?

OA means making the full-text version of a research output, for example a journal article, readily available online for anyone to access (without financial cost) and with only limited restrictions on its reuse. This makes it easier for other people and organisations to find your research publications via search engines (e.g. Google), which can increase awareness of your research and the number of citations for your publications. 

To meet HEFCE's requirements for the next REF, the University's OA policy, and the policy of any external funders, you need to make the post-print of journal and conference articles (with an ISSN) open access.

Although HEFCE's policy does not apply until April 2016, the University's OA policy applies to articles accepted for publication from January 2014, and any external funders' policies applies to articles published earlier (e.g. RCUK's OA policy has applied since spring 2013).

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 What workshops and support are available? 

Open access workshop

Please contact the Research Outputs team ( in the Library with any questions. 

Academics are encouraged to come along to an Open Access workshop, run as part of the Researcher Development Programmee.


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How do I upload a publication to Pure?

Instructions for uploading publication to Pure can be found here. (Or you can email your publications to your Faculty Depositors - see below). 

However, it is important that you also look at the full steps to making your work Open Access to ensure you comply with HEFCE's REF eligibility policy.  

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Who is my Faculty Depositor?

Faculty Depositor

Click here for a list of Faculty Depositors 


Your Faculty Depositor is someone who can add publications to Pure on the behalf of researchers

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'Post-prints', 'pre-prints' and 'publisher's versions': what is the difference?

Universities have to adopt the terminology publishers use for the different versions an article goes through before it is published. Sometimes this terminology is far from intuitive! 


Above: HEFCE's diagram showing different versions of an article. ‌



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What is an embargo period?

An embargo is the time period specified by the publisher before you are permitted to make your work publicly accessible via the University's Institutional Repository (i.e. Pure).

Funders and HEFCE's policy specifies the maximum embargo periods that they will accept.

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HEFCE's policy for OA in the next REF 

 hefce logo

HEFCE's OA policy states that:- 

"To be eligible for submission to the post-2014 REF, authors’ final peer-reviewed manuscripts [post-print] must have been deposited in an institutional or subject repository on acceptance for publication. Deposited material should be discoverable, and free to read and download, for anyone with an internet connection. The requirement applies only to journal articles and conference proceedings with an International Standard Serial Number [ISSN]. It will not apply to monographs, book chapters, other long-form publications, working papers, creative or practice-based research outputs, or data. The policy applies to research outputs accepted for publication after 1 April 2016, but we would strongly urge institutions to implement it now."

Please see HEFCE's policy for OA in the next REF for full details, or their OA information website.  


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External funders (e.g. RCUK) Open Access policies

RCUK logo

If your research is externally funded, for example by RCUK or the Wellcome Trust or Horizon 2020, then making your publications OA is a requirement of your grant - please check the terms and conditions of your award, particularly as some funders (e.g. Wellcome, BBSRC, ESRC, MRC) have additional subject-repository and/or data archiving requirements.

External funders may also have 'stricter' OA requirements (e.g. shorter acceptable embargo periods) than HEFCE.

The Sherpa Juliet website is a useful resource for checking funders' OA policies and the Sherpa Fact website shows how journals' requirements match those of funders.

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University of Portsmouth's Open Access Publication policy

The University's Open Access Publication Policy states that from the 1st January 2014 authors are required to add the 'post print' of all articles published in peer-reviewed journals or conference proceedings to the University’s Institutional Repository (i.e. Pure) upon acceptance for publication.  

This policy is aligned with HEFCE's OA policy for the next REF. Therefore, the University is promoting the charge-free 'self-archiving' route to OA, sometimes referred to as the Green Route to OA.



What is Pure?

Pure login

Login to Pure

Pure is a current research information management system (CRIS), which will be used to address many of the University's information and reporting requirements relating to research activities. In addition to research outputs and associated metadata, Pure can also store information about research staff (profiles), projects, activities and collaborations. Pure is being implemented in phases and it will be linked to finance and other corporate systems containing research-related information in future, so that it becomes the single authoritative source of research information.

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What is the Portsmouth Research Portal?

Go to the Portsmouth Research Portal


Portsmouth Research Portal is a public website showcasing University of Portsmouth research personnel, our research projects, outputs and outcomes. It provides a publicly accessible, fully searchable and navigable interface, with information drawn directly from Pure.

Research portal


You may also be familiar with Parade. This is publicly accessible institutional repository of research outputs (e.g. publications) produced by University of Portsmouth staff. Research outputs added in Pure are automatically added to Parade.  The Research Portal, released summer 2015, largely duplicates and greatly extends the functionality of Parade, therefore the Library will be reviewing the future of Parade over the forthcoming year.

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Types of journal 

There are two main types of journals that offer open access:-

Hybrid (subscription) journals: These are journals that use the traditional academic publishing business model.  Universities pay a subscription fee to publishers, and unless an Article Processing Charge (APC) is also paid for an article, people (e.g. University staff and students) have to log in to read research articles on the publisher's website.  These journals support both green and gold OA:-  

Open access journals: These journals are accessible online to anyone in the world without a subscription fee. For example, the PLOS journals. Open access journals (nearly always) only support gold OA:- 




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'Predatory' journals and publishers

Warning sign

An unfortunate side-effect of the growth of high-quality open access journals is the number of 'predatory' open access publishers that have also sprung up.  These publishers essentially accept as many articles as possible in order to make as much money as possible.  These journals provide little or no peer-review and editorial services, and as a result the quality of the articles they publish is poor.

Academics considering where to publish, or students considering what they should cite, should avoid these journals for obvious reasons!

Predatory journals can sometimes be hard to spot. Their websites can look professional, while making claims that are untrue. For example, saying that they have an Impact Factor when they do not, or claiming recognised experts are on the editorial board when they are not.

How to spot 'predatory' journals and publishers:-

• If they offer a very fast turn-around time for publication then be suspicious.

• Check that the journal/publisher is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). This website lists reputable open access journals.

• Check that the journal/publisher is not listed on Beall's list. This is a blacklist of predatory publisher/journals.

• Check that the publisher is a member of Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM).

• Check that the editorial board of the journal are recognised experts in their field. 

• Sometimes predatory journals list people as editors without their knowledge.  Check that the people listed as editors are actually editors! E.g. check their profiles on their university website to ensure they mention their role as an editor, or contact them directly via their university email address and check.

• Check the journal is indexed by Web of Science and Scopus. (This may not be relevant for some subject areas, also new journals produced by reputable publishers may not be listed yet. So this is not fool-proof!)

• If the journal claims to have an Impact Factor, check that the journal is indexed in Web of Science. Some journals claim to have an Impact Factor but they do not.

• If the journal appears to have a back-catalogue of articles, make sure they are accessible.

• Look at the quality of the research published in the journal. If the quality is dubious then beware of the journal.

• If there is limited information about the costs (Article Processing Charges) of publishing on their website then beware of the journal/publisher.

• If the publisher sends spam emails to academics inviting them to submit to the journal, then beware.

• Check that the contact information for the publisher is verifiable. I.e. do they have an address and working telephone number? Be aware of publishers who only provide a web form as a means of contacting them.

In addition to working out where to avoid, you may want to also work out which journal to target.


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Other output types, such as book chapters and monographs

The instructions above apply to peer-reviewed journal and conference proceedings with an ISSN. However, if you have another type of output, such as a book chapter or monograph, then you are encouraged to also make these OA via Pure if the publisher's copyright permissions allow. 


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JISC Pathfinder project

jisc logo

The University of Portsmouth has been awarded funding from JISC to work on a collaborative Pathfinder project with Oxford Brookes and Nottingham Trent universities. Pathfinder projects aim to:-

"In essence, the Pathfinder projects will aim to develop shareable models of good practice with regard to implementation of research funders’ OA requirements. In doing so, the projects will enable their own and associated HEIs to find out what works best in implementing OA, in a variety of institutions across the sector, and will share this knowledge openly thereby aiding other HEIs in the wider sector."

 For more information, please se ethe JISC Pathfinder webpage, or the project blog

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