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Medical Sciences : Research Resources: Open Access publishing

Guide to Oxford University library resources for postgraduates, postdocs and researchers in the Medical Sciences Division.
Subjects: Medicine

Open Access and the next REF - Act on Acceptance

In order to be eligible for the REF, the final peer-reviewed version of journal articles and conference papers (with an ISSN) accepted since 1 April 2016 must be deposited in an open access repository within 3 months of acceptance for publication. This is the version sometimes known as the ‘Author-Accepted-Manuscript’ or AAM. 

The University developed a quick deposit system as part of its Act on Acceptance campaign. This began on 1st October 2015, in preparation for REF 2021, and to boost the wider accessibility of Oxford's research. 

What you need to do. All academic and research staff employed by the collegiate University should:

  • deposit all your newly-accepted journal articles and conference papers into ORA
  • do it through Symplectic Elements
  • do it within 3 months of the date of acceptance
  • start now. Go to Act on Acceptance to find out more and Deposit your work.

The ORA team check copyright & licensing conditions, create an ORA record and make the full-text available after the embargo period. 

If you have any questions please contact our email helpline:

Further information and updates are available on the Open Access Oxford website:

Funder requirements

Since April 2013 funding councils which are part of RCUK require articles published in peer reviewed journals or conference proceedings to be open access. The RCUK open access policy states:

"Our vision is for all users to be able to read published research papers in an electronic format and to search for and re‐use (including download) the content of published research papers, both manually and using automated tools (such as those for text and data mining), provided that any such re‐use is subject to full and proper attribution." (see RCUK Policy on Open Access and Supporting Guidance)

More information can be found at

Many other funding bodies have similar open access requirements.  See our list of funding bodies for more information or visit the Sherpa Juliet web site which provides full details of requirements for each funder.

Publisher policies

If you are required to make your article open access you will need to find out your publisher's policies on open access.

Some publishers will allow you to upload the final version or the accepted manuscript (after peer review) of your article to an open access respository such as ORA.  Please be aware that most publishers will insist on an embargo period, whilst funders will require your article to be available within a particular time frame (e.g. 6 months for most RCUK grants, 12 months for AHRC and ESRC).  This is known as the "green route" to open access and is generally free.

Some publishers allow articles to be made open access on the publishers web site (i.e. the article is made freely available at the point of publication on the usual journal web site). This is known as the "gold route" to open access and in many cases will require the author to pay an "Author Processing Charge" (APC) to the publisher.   RCUK has allocated Oxford a sum of money to pay APCs for RCUK funded research.  To find out more about applying for an APC to be paid from the University's RCUK fund please contact us.  For APCs for research funded by the the Wellcome Trust see Wellcome Open Access Publication Fees.

Please note that gold route journals may be divided into two categories:

  1. entirely open access journals in which all articles are freely available. The Directory of Open Access Journals lists 8000 scholarly journals in this category. You will be required to pay an APC to publish in many of these journals.
  2. hybrid journals in which articles are NOT  generally open access (i.e. they are only available to paid subscribers) unless the authors pay an APC to make their article open access

Please note that some open access journals do not allow you to deposit a copy of your article in an repository.  This can be problematic if the terms of your grant require deposit in, for example, PubMed Central.

To find out which of the different options are available from your publisher see the Sherpa Romeo web site which lists open access policies by publisher.

Depositing in ORA

Oxford and open access

To find out about Oxford's policies with regard to Open Access and the payment of APCs please see Oxford Open Access.

For advice on Open Access for your subject please contact your subject librarian

Bodleian Libraries is also running general (non subject specific) workshops on Open Access.

Open data

RCUK strongly supports making research data open access as well as papers. 

More information

Contact us