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Open Access publishing for Aston authors: FAQs

Open Access publishing and PURE: FAQs


About Open Access publishing: 


About depositing in Aston Research Explorer using PURE:

Copyright and publishers

About Open Access publishing:

What is Open Access publishing?

Open Access (OA) publishing promotes the sharing of research freely and openly to all readers through unrestricted access to publications, principally journal articles, on the internet.  Free access to research outputs has significant social, economic and scientific benefits, and forms part of the Government’s commitment to transparency and open data.

Why is Open Access publishing important?

  • Many HE research funders now mandate for Open Access (OA) publishing in terms of compliance with specific levels of discoverability and accessibility, eg. UK Research & Innovation (UKRI - the new body combining HEFCE, and RCUK), the European Commission and the Wellcome Trust.
  • In addition, UKRI/HEFCE requires that all journal articles and conference proceedings accepted for publication from April 2016, and that are submitted to the post-2014 REF, comply with their OA requirements.
  • To ensure that Aston is able to meet these requirements, our OA Policy and Code of Practice (inc. Guidance), is that all journal and conference publications should meet the same levels of OA compliance. 

What is Green Open Access publishing?

This comprises depositing research output, including journal articles and published conference papers, in an institutional and/or subject repository.  This process applies at all Aston authors - whether the corresponding author or as a co-author.  The version of an article deposited is normally the 'Final author manuscript' (post-peer review), also known as the 'Accepted'/'Post-print' version.  Depositing this version in the institutional repository helps to make the content widely available, often after an embargo expires.  See these instructions explaining how to deposit/upload.  'Green' OA publishing forms the basis of inclusion for the next REF in 2020.

What is Gold Open Access publishing?

This comprises immediate Open Access of a journal article on the publisher's website, usually in exchange for a fee, ie. an Article Processing Charge (APC).  'Gold' OA journal articles are normally published under the Creative Commons Attribution Licence 3.0 or 4.0 (CC BY); use of this licence is a condition of UKRI (formerly RCUK), the Wellcome Trust & other members of COAF, and is the preference with EC FP7/Horizon 2020 funding.  For more information on this type of licence and others see this infographic.


What are the various HE funder requirements?

HE funding bodies, notably UK Research & Innovation (UKRI - the new body combining HEFCE and Research Councils UK), the European Commission and the Wellcome Trust, now mandate for OA publication of journal articles and conference papers.  For funder-specific compliance requirements in relation to depositing articles, accessibility embargoes and subject repositories click on the relevant funder logo on this  page to see a PDF information sheet.

What time scales do I need to follow?

Certain time scales are important to ensure Open Access compliance:

  • For UKRI/HEFCE/REF 'Green' compliance, self-archive/deposit your publication record (metadata) and a version of the full-text article, ie. the author's accepted manuscript or 'post-print', in Aston Research Explorer (powered by PURE) within three months of acceptance.  However, we recommend that you deposit (instructions) on both the metadata and 'post-print' version of the article as soon as possible after acceptance (ie. within one month) using PURE because of the various compliance checking procedures Library Services needs to undertake.
  • 'Gold', by default, now will be automatically REF compliant but UKRI/HEFCE strongly encourage all journal articles published as 'Gold' via any APC route also be deposited in Aston Research Explorer (powered by PURE) within three months either after acceptance or of publication (inc. early online), ie. deposition of the metadata plus Author Accepted Manuscript or early online/final published version.  As such, for reasons of preservation and completeness, Aston's OA Policy also requires 'Gold' articles to be deposited (instructions) using PURE.

What are the ways I can check if a journal is Green Open Access compliant?

A journal that is Green OA compliant allows the uploading of publication details (metadata) plus the accepted/post-print version into PURE.  Most publishers provide information on this aspect on their websites, usually under a section called “Green Open Access” or “self-archiving in a repository” – useful if at the submission stage as well as acceptance stage.   At the time of acceptance many publishers will also include details of Green/self-archiving in their email.  Three databases also exist –

  • Sherpa REF ( to find out if the journal in which you wish to publish (or have published in) allows you to comply with the REF requirements for open access to research
  • Sherpa Romeo ( for general  information on publisher’s archiving policies and associated embargoes, and
  • Sherpa Fact (  for compliance checking in relation to grant givers, eg. UKRI/RCUK, Wellcome Trust, etc.  PURE itself  does contain some of this information on the record but it is only indicative

What are the embargo periods relating to Green Open Access?

An embargo is the delay period imposed by a publisher on making full-text articles available online, eg. in an institutional and/or subject repository.  Embargoes can vary from six months to two years after publication (including early online publication) in some cases.  Sometimes a publisher's embargo conflicts with a funder's requirement, so it is worth checking this before you publish.  The maximum main HE funder (ie. UKRI/HEFCE, RCUK, Wellcome Trust/COAF, European Commission) embargoes for OA compliance are:

  • 6 months for articles from UKRI/RCUK & Wellcome Trust/COAF funded medical/biomedical research; and European Commission science, technology & maths research
  • 12 months for articles from non-UKRI/RCUK/Wellcome Trust/COAF funded medical/biomedical research; UKRI/RCUK funded & most other science, technology, engineering & maths (STEM) research; and European Commission social sciences & humanities research.
  • 24 months for articles from most arts, humanities and social science research (eg. AHRC and ESRC funded research).

The embargo period set (as specified by the publisher) can still be in place during the period of the REF, but for UKRI/HEFCE/RCUK/Wellcome Trust OA compliance to be met the embargo should not exceed the above timescales.

For more details on funder-specific compliance requirements in relation to depositing articles, accessibility embargoes and subject repositories see the relevant PDF

How do I get funding for Gold Open Access publication costs?

Making an article 'Gold' Open Access involves the payment of an article processing charge (APC) - this includes the OA fee and, if applicable, page/colour printing charges.  For Aston-based corresponding authors/principal investigators, Library Services administers and advises on payments for 'Gold' APCs from two budgets:

  • The UKRI (formerly RCUK) budget for a select number of articles from research funded by AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC or STFC.
  • The institutional budget for a select number of articles from other research projects or unfunded research.

If you are submitting an article to, or have recently had an article accepted in, a high quality journal and would like to be considered for a 'Gold' APC payment complete the Gold OA Application Form or email with details.  Library Services will reply to you with relevant advice within two working days of submission of the form/emailing.  If publication cost funds are already included in your research grant, can be reimbursed or can be claimed post-grant you should use this source; similarly if your School has funds available you can apply there to use them, but also notify Library Services as a discount scheme may exist which we can advise on.  For ABS and LHS, in all cases, contact us as we administer their budgets.

  • Note: In some exceptional circumstances an Aston co-author may be allowed to arrange for their corresponding author based at another institution to have an APC paid for by Aston; for example, in order to achieve OA compliance if no funds are available there or from elsewhere. 

How is the decision made to fund Gold Open Access?

Generally, the decision to fund a 'Gold' Article Processing Charge (APC) will encompass:

  • Journal quality, ie. usually 3* or 4*, or equivalent.
  • Paper quality,
  • Journal OA compliance - some publishers do not allow 'Green' depositing of journal articles, or do but impose lengthy embargoes.  See Sherpa/Fact for specific details,
  • APC cost and any other publication costs,
  • The decision-making processes and criteria for each School are detailed here: ABSEASLHSLSS, and the new AMS.
  • Note: For these reasons Library Services has not compiled a list of 'Gold-suitable' journals. 


How is Open Access publishing related to Research Data Management? 

The UKRI/ RCUK Policy on Open Access states “All papers must include … if applicable, a statement on how the underlying research materials – such as data, samples or models – can be accessed.”  For more information on Research Data Management see the Library's RDM LibGuide.


About depositing in Aston Research Explorer using PURE: 

What has happened to AURA (Aston University Research Archive)?

Aston's repository was originally branded as AURA but is now included in Aston Research Explorer (powered by PURE).  All content remains unchanged and PURE remains the means by which authors populate Aston's institutional repository. 

What is the relationship between Aston Research Explorer and PURE?

PURE is the current Research Information System used by Aston to manage our research activities. Aston Research Explorer is the external portal onto PURE that exposes the information in PURE for external use and acts as our research repository, but it also contains information on schools, people and our research activities.  Researchers need to enter information about their publications into PURE for inclusion in Aston Research Explorer and we are able to control which information is exposed through Aston Research Explorer. 

Who is eligible to deposit publications in the repository? 

Any Aston University member of staff can deposit their research publications. New members of staff are welcome to archive work from posts in other institutions.

What happens if leave Aston University? 

Your deposits will remain in the repository, but you may also archive your publications in your new institution’s repository.

What are the benefits for me personally?

Meeting Open Access requirements

  • you will achieve compliance with HE funder Open Access mandates, namely HEFCE and, if applicable, RCUK, the Wellcome Trust and others
  • You will be eligible to submit your papers to the post-2014 REF
  • you will achieve compliance with Aston University's new Open Access Policy.

Increased visibility for your research

  • you maximise your work's impact by widening your audience and making it accessible to those without journal subscription access

  • you increase the citation of your publications as they are indexed by search engines and other more specific scholarly services, with the enriched metadata helping to ensure that they will appear amongst the top rankings

  • people can subscribe to RSS feeds of your work, so they will be automatically notified when you add something new

  • you can track how many times your publications have been downloaded

Permanent, secure storage

  •  your deposited papers are permanently visible to everyone online and preserved for the future
  • your publications are securely stored and backed up
  • your publications have a permanent web address, enabling you and others to link to them

A reduced work load

  • researchers will be able to access your publications directly, rather than sending you requests
  • you can efficiently manage your REF submissions
  • you may export or import your entries as text or bibliographic databases (e.g. EndNote and BibTeX), which is useful for grant proposals and CVs
  • you can post the link on your social network pages, like Twitter

What are the benefits for Aston University?

  • Aston University uses Aston Research Explorer (powered by PURE) as the tool for delivering Open Access and PURE as the tool for the institutional repository.  The Aston Research Committee has agreed that all Aston research output should be uploaded to Aston Research Explorer, with the exception of commercial and sensitive material.
  • Aston Research Explorer is a highly visible and accessible showcase of Aston's research activity
  • it opens our research to the wider research community may discover and retrieve Aston University’s work, increasing its visibility and maximising its impact, both institutionally and at group level.
  • Aston Research Explorer contains all Aston's research information for external use.
  • Aston Research Explorer ensures the long-term digital preservation of Aston research, so that the output remains highly visible and accessible in the future, independently from any other body (e.g. publishers are not formally addressing the issue).  

Who owns the copyright of my publication?

If you are the author of the publication, you are the copyright owner. However, when your paper is accepted for publication, the publisher agreement may require you to transfer the copyright to the publisher and places restrictions on using or distributing your work.  You should retain copyright details from your agreement with the publisher.  In the case of most 'Gold' Open Access articles published under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence (eg. CC BY) copyright is retained by the author.

What are the copyright implications of depositing in Aston Research Explorer?

If the publisher owns the copyright, they may allow you to place a specific version in Aston Research Explorer. You should check the publisher's policies on their website, SHERPA or contact the Research Archive Specialist for assistance. Even if your publisher prevents you from depositing your paper, you should still upload the bibliographic details and a link to the article and/or the publisher’s website.

If you own the copyright you are free to deposit the publication in the repository.

Journal articles can be deposited depending on your publisher agreement. The agreement should state if, when and how you are permitted to make the paper available on Aston Research Explorer (this is sometimes referred to as 'self-archiving'). On RoMEO you may check for the details on the publisher polices. Some publishers may grant permission on specific application even if you have signed your copyright away. Most publishers do not allow their branded PDF to be uploaded, but often allow your own final version of the article to be uploaded. Some publishers may impose an embargo, after which you may upload the full text article.

Conference papers can be deposited if copyright has not be assigned elsewhere by the organisers. Otherwise you need to contact the publisher of the proceedings.

Books and chapters can only be uploaded if you have retained the copyright, though you should check your publisher agreement. If you do not have the publisher agreement, you should send a request to your book publisher for the permission to deposit the publication.

Non-text items (e.g. images, artwork, audio, etc.), please contact the Research Archive Specialist to discuss how to make these available.

Why should I still upload the bibliographic information if the publisher prevents me from placing the full text in Aston Research Explorer?

There are several reasons why you should still upload the bibliographic information:

  • HEFCE has specific compliance requirements for both discoverability of research outputs, via bibliographic records, and access to full-text research publications that require the bibliographic information to be in repository.
  • you ensure that your publication record is complete, up-to-date, preserved and permanently available for the web pages and PDR purposes, etc
  • you inform a worldwide audience about your work, who may contact you for an offprint or purchase a copy from the publisher
  • your publications are included in PURE for inclusion in reports to funders.
  • publishers may change their mind and allow the deposit retrospectively. In the meantime you will have raised awareness of your publication. 

What copyright does the University retain?

Depositing your items on the repository does not change your rights, which are dependant on the publisher agreement. Please see the University IP Policy, however generally:

  • Journal articles, books and book chapters: the copyright belongs to the publisher or the author, depending on the publishing agreement signed by the author.
  • Working papers and technical reports: whether published within Aston or unpublished, copyright remains with the author, unless the author has specifically assigned copyright to Aston. Under our current Intellectual Property policy, Aston has waived ownership of copyright of such works in favour of the author.
  • PhD theses: copyright belongs to the student, except for any third-party copyright. 

What is the benefit to a publisher who allows authors to make their full text freely available?

More and more publishers are developing policies favorable to institutional repositories, suggesting that they do not have an adverse effect on the sale of journals.

Furthermore publishers who only prevent the deposit of the publisher PDF see the repository as means of showcasing the paper. In fact, once you deposit your final draft, in the comment field, you may need to put a copyright statement such as: "When citing this article, please refer to the publisher version in [journal title and volume details]", also include a corresponding link.  

How do I ensure that my publication is correctly cited?

When a user selects your publication for viewing, before the document itself opens, there is summary page, which gives the correct citation for the paper. When you upload the documents, you need only to input the correct bibliographic details in the fields. 

Do Open Access repositories encourage plagiarism?

Although it is true that the availability of electronic text makes it easy to cut and paste sections, depositing in a repository is an additional deterrent to plagiarism as:

  • it is much easier to detect plagiarism than traditional paper-only publishing. In fact online publications are accompanied with dates and appropriate metadata.
  • a full text-item deposited in the Repository is protected by the Copyright, Design and Patent Act 1988.
  • publications' text is indexed by search engines, making it easier and quicker to check if text has been plagiarised.
  • many institutions use software that checks dissertations, scanning the web for strings of text and highlighting cases of plagiarism. 

Will making my work freely available affect my Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)?

Uploading items to Aston Research Explorer does not affect any of your rights, on the contrary, it helps to assert your copyright worldwide. However if you expect to make money from your work (for example, a book), understandably you will not want it to be freely available through the repository. In these cases you may deposit just bibliographic details or impose an embargo on the full-text until you have made the most of your royalties.

I do not have a copy of my publication, can I scan it from the printed journal?

Check your publisher agreement or contact the publisher. 

My publication contains third party copyright material, can I still upload it?

When you published your work, you should have obtained written permission to include third party material in your work. Unless this permission explicitly allows you to upload the material online, you should obtain permission in writing.

Should I deposit my work in the repository before it is accepted by a publisher?

No. Making your research available before publication may harm the commercial value of your research and inhibit your chances of securing a publishing agreement. 

What is the Deposit Licence?

When you upload items to Aston Research Explorer you are asked to agree to the Deposit Licence. This grants Aston the right to make a copy of your work available online, to alter its format as necessary and to remove it if deemed necessary in accordance with the take-down policy.


Does all research output, eg. journal articles and published conference papers, have to be uploaded to PURE? 

Yes, for REF 2020 compliance purposes (ie. journal articles and published conference papers with an ISSN), and in accordance with Aston’s own OA policy, PURE is the central repository for all Aston’s research output.  Therefore, uploading to PURE must be in addition to any other repositories eg. PubMed Central or ArXiv, or websites eg. ResearchGate or personal web pages. 

How do I add my publication records?

Adding items to Aston Research Explorer is easy:

  • You can login and upload items to PURE yourself - it should only take between 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Preferably deposited items should be in PDF format.

Instructions are available here.

Bibliographic details and embargo compliance will be checked by the Open Access & Research Repository Specialist before the item is made publicly available.


Can I import publication records into PURE from any other online source?

It depends, due to HEFCE’s time-factor-compliance, ie. deposit soon after acceptance, the only suitable online source now is CrossRef which uses the DOI created shortly after the acceptance of an article/paper (usually within a week).   Scopus/Pub Med have a delay so can only be used for later tidy of existing records; ArXiv and GoogleScholar should not be relied upon because of both delay and variable data quality.  

Which version can I upload?

You should upload either the final publisher version or author accepted version for Gold Open Access, or the author accepted version for Green Open Access; preferably deposited items should be in PDF format.  However, we recommend you seek confirmation on this aspect via

What type of publication? - Subject to copyright permission you can upload the following items, which have been authored, co-authored or edited by Aston University staff:

  • accepted versions articles in refereed journals
  • articles in un-refereed journals
  • books and book chapters
  • conference publications
  • patents
  • theses
  • working papers and technical reports

What can't I upload?

You should not upload:

  • material that should not be publically available, such as confidential or sensitive information
  • material that if deposited would infringe copyright. Publishers may not allow 'in press versions', 'author’s PDFs' or 'accepted versions'
  • non-original work
  • teaching material or learning objects
  • university administrative reports 

My work has been accepted for publication, but it has not being published yet. Can I upload it?

Only if the following conditions are satisfied:

  • it has been through the peer-review process
  • it is permitted by the publisher

When you upload in the 'status' field, please indicate that the paper is 'in press'.

What happens after I submit my paper?

Your paper only appears online after the Research Repository Specialist vets it by checking the bibliographic details, and copyright & embargo specifications.  This will normally take 3 working days.

The publisher lets me upload on Aston Research Explorer, but wants me to add a note: how do I do that?

When you add bibliographic information you put the notice in the box ‘Bibliographical note’ and it will appear on your abstract page on the Repository.

How do I create a PDF?

Ideally publications should be converted into PDF before they are uploaded.  If you have a PDF creator:

  • Open the document in Word
  • On the menu select 'File' then 'Save as'
  • Under the file name select the 'save as type' to be 'PDF'
  • Save it in a convenient location, ready to be uploaded.

If you do not have a PDF creator installed on your computer, and you want to upload PDF, please contact the ISA helpdesk.


What is the link between 'Projects' and 'Research output' in PURE?

If applicable, publication records in PURE should have a link, ie 'Relation', with the PURE record of the project.  This will enable the Research Support Office to report to research funders to demonstrate compliance on your behalf.