Author Archives: Maxine Borton

Research Support Win!

Hi I’m Maxine. I’ve been a member of the Research Support Team since 2017 and part of my role has been to support and liaise with our PGR student community. In 2019 we trialled getting the submissions made to the annual Graduate School Poster Competition uploaded to ORO, with a winning collection of posters added to ORDO.

This was a great success, with students feeding back that having their posters in these public repositories has allowed them to share their research more readily with colleagues, friends, and family. Winning entries uploaded to ORDO also receive a DOI (a permanent, citable web link), allowing students to get better recognition for these outputs.

The winning collections of posters on ORDO from 2019 and 2020 have been viewed over 1400 times, which is not only great for the students in terms of exposure, but great for the OU too, as it helps to highlight the amazing work our PGR community is engaged with and the breadth of research being undertaken. Topics have varied from developing robots with common sense to researching 50 million-year-old fish teeth to determine ocean currents.

Although the results were great and we felt it was important to continue sharing these posters more widely, the amount of additional work this generated was too high to justify. Not only did we need to contact students to seek permission to upload their entries to an open access repository, and ask them to choose from a number of available licenses to share their work under, we also had to check students hadn’t included any third party copyright materials in their work. This inevitably generated a lot of chasing emails and a high volume of copyright and licensing queries. Even within our team, the nuances of copyright law and the different Creative Commons licenses can be tricky to navigate!

This year I’ve managed to work with the Graduate School to streamline the process. We are now asking students at the point of submission whether they’re happy to add their poster to the repository, as well as offering advice on copyright within the entry guidance, and we have restricted the license options to minimise the volume of queries generated. This means it should be far quicker to upload the content so that we can continue to showcase the excellent work of our PGR community!

The winners for this year’s Poster Competition are due to be announced at a celebratory event on 23 June 2021, led by the new Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, Enterprise and Scholarship, Professor Kevin Shakesheff. So, look out for the 2021 entries landing on ORDO and ORO soon!

New publishing deal with Taylor & Francis!

We are pleased to announce that the OU Library has recently invested in a new Read and Publish deal with Taylor & Francis which allows OU corresponding authors to publish open access in Taylor & Francis hybrid (Open Select) journals at no cost to themselves. This replaces the previous 75% discount OU authors received when publishing open access with T&F.

To be eligible:

  • The corresponding author must be a current member of research staff or a current research student affiliated to the OU (this excludes visiting researchers);
  • You must be publishing an original research article (other paper types are excluded, such as Editorials, Announcements and Book Reviews);
  • You must be publishing in an Open Select (hybrid) Taylor & Francis or Routledge journal title (all Open Select titles are included);
  • Your article must have been accepted on or after 1st January 2021 (eligible papers published behind a paywall from this date but prior to the signing of this agreement will be eligible for retrospective conversion to open access, which we have already begun processing).

Authors don’t need to do anything to benefit from this deal. All accepted research meeting these requirements will automatically be considered for open access publication under this agreement.

Please be aware that there is a cap on the number of publications that are covered by this deal, so it is operated on a first come, first served basis. Should this cap be reached before the end of the year, the open access publishing element of this agreement will be paused until the beginning of the following year (1st January 2022).

Further details of the agreement can be found on the Research Support Team’s webpages, along with all the Read and Publish deals the Library has invested in with other publishers.

Want to publish Gold open access with Springer at no cost to you?

This is the first post in a new series thread where we will explore some of the biggest deals the Library has in place which allow OU researchers to publish Gold open access at no or reduced cost. Today we are focussing on the deal with Springer Nature.

What’s the deal?

The OU Library have been busy negotiating and investing in several deals with publishers over the past few years which look at ways to offset the costs of our journal subscription spending against the increasing institutional costs of open access publishing.

We have now invested in 20 such ‘transformative agreements’ with publishers which allow you to publish Gold open access (where the final journal article is immediately freely available to read or download from the publisher’s website) at reduced or zero cost to you. Have a look at our webpages for full details of the agreements we have in place. New deals are continually being added.

Transformative deals: Springer Nature

OU researchers publishing with Springer Nature can get articles published Gold at no charge to the author. To be eligible you need to be:

  • publishing in a Springer Open Choice journal i.e. a Springer hybrid journal AND
  • the corresponding author AND
  • affiliated to the OU AND
  • publishing either an original paper, review paper, brief communication or continuing education (Springer terminology)

How do I make use of the deal?

Eligibility for this deal will automatically be picked up by Springer Nature when submitting an eligible article type to an eligible journal title (see above). However, you must ensure that you identify yourself in one of the two following ways on the MyPublication form:

A request will then be sent to us to confirm your eligibility and approve funding for the article fee under our agreement, at no cost to you and without causing any delays to the manuscript publication process. See the Springer website for full details of the deal and steps to confirming eligibility.

Promote and share your research

When your article is open access, anyone can read and share it! So, whether you want to share your article on a website, a scholarly collaboration network, by email, on social media, in teaching, or anywhere else, you’re free to do so.


If you have any questions about this deal, or any of the other transformative deal we have in place, please don’t hesitate to get in touch:


New year, new publisher deals!

Find out if you can publish gold open access at no cost to you

You may be aware that the Library has deals in place with several publishers which allow OU authors to publish gold open access (where the final journal article is immediately freely available to read or download from the publisher’s website) at reduced or zero cost to the author.

These deals, known as offsetting deals, transformative deals or Read and Publish deals, are exploratory models in the shift from pay-to-read (the journal subscription) to pay-to-publish. The costs of open access are part of an overall OU payment to the publisher covering both subscriptions and open access publishing. The open access charges are part of the agreement.

We are now pleased to announce that the Library has invested in several new offsetting deals with publishers starting from 1st January 2021, including Cambridge University Press, the Company of Biologists, Future Science Group, Geological Society, PLOS, and the Royal Society.  Existing deals also cover major academic publishers such as Wiley, SAGE and Springer, as well as several smaller and society publishers. See the Library Research Support team’s webpages for full details of all the deals we have in place, along with their eligibility requirements.

These deals all vary – some will give you discounts on the full article processing charge (APC) and some waive it altogether; some deals cover only hybrid journals and others cover fully open access journals too. Most of the deals are only available to OU corresponding authors, and there may be restrictions on the types of paper covered (e.g. research and review articles only). Please ensure you check the details of the relevant publisher deal on the website before placing an order with a publisher and ensure you follow any instructions for authors to make sure eligibility for the deal is identified.

Where a discount applies, the Library is unable to pay the remainder of the APC, so these will need to be funded from a Faculty or other budget. The exception to this is articles from UKRI funded projects, if this applies please check the  requirements and complete the request form and the Library will advise you whether the  APC cost can be covered.

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the deal webpages, since these agreements can change at short notice and new deals are being negotiated all the time.

Open Access Week 2020 – Do you know your options for publishing Open Access?

Now it’s 13th year, Open Access Week is an international event which offers the opportunity to engage with the research community about the benefits of open access, and to help inspire wider participation to help make Open Access the norm for research and scholarship.

To mark the second day of Open Access Week, we’ve put together a short video to help you to get to grips with open access publishing – what it is, how to do it, and importantly, how to fund it (where a fee is charged).

We discuss the move away from the traditional subscription model of publishing towards an open access model, the difference between green and gold open access, and where you can look to fund ‘gold’.  Did you know that the OU has a whole host of new deals with publishers that allow you to publish gold at no or reduced cost? Watch the video to find out more, and see our website for full details of these transformative agreements (also known as offsetting deals), along with eligibility requirements.


Access the transcript.

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Find out if you can publish Gold at no extra cost!

Due to the various institutional subscriptions we have with academic publishers, several offsetting deals are now available to OU researchers who wish to publish Gold Open Access (where the final journal article is immediately freely available to read and download on the publisher website). Offsetting deals are exploratory models in the shift from paying to read (the journal subscription) to paying to publish.

The three largest deals we currently have in place are with Springer, Sage and Wiley. However, there are many other publishers that offer reduced or waived article processing charges (APCs). Have a look at the Library Research Support Team’s webpages for full details, to see if you could benefit.

The deal we have in place with Sage now allows any article in one of their hybrid journals which was accepted for publication on or after 1st January 2020 to be made Gold Open Access at no cost. This deal applies to the corresponding author on the paper. Some researchers will have already received an email from the publisher asking them if they would like to take advantage of this deal, so keep an eye on your inbox as you need to reply within 5 days. If you publish in one of Sage’s fully open access journals you can receive a 20% discount on the APCs.

The deal we have with Wiley applies to both their hybrid and fully open access journals and covers original research and review articles. To benefit from this deal, you need to be the corresponding author and must indicate your affiliation with the OU’s Wiley Open Access Account in the payment question during manuscript submission. Please note that the Wiley Open Access Account cannot be used to cover page charges. There is a cap on the number of publications that are covered by this deal, so we are operating it on a first come, first served basis.

The deal we have with Springer applies to original papers, review papers, brief communications or continuing education published in a Springer Open Choice journal. Again, you have to be the corresponding author and a researcher affiliated to the OU.

It’s a good idea to keep up to date with these publishing agreements via our web pages, as new deals are being negotiated all the time and they can change at short notice.

Please note that the Open University has a preference for a CC BY license to be applied to any outputs that are published under these negotiated deals, in order to maximise possibilities for re-use.

If you have any questions, please get in touch:

Changes to Library Search

The OU Library is always trying to improve the results you can find in Library Search.

Ex Libris (the Library Search providerhave created a new, more accurate and far reaching index. This index contains a vast amount of information from a large range of publishers. Since November we have been working with Ex Libris on integrating this into Library Search to give you an improved service. 

From 4th May you can expect Library Search to surface more content. You are also more likely to see the results you want at the top of your results list and fewer broken links.If you have set up search alerts in Library Search, you will notice the first alert after the update will contain a large number of results due to these improvements. This applies to both email and RSS search alerts.  

 The way you use Library Search and your My Favourites area will remain the same. 

FREE UKSG webinar – Research integrity 2020: New challenges for a new decade

April 27 2020 – 13:00 to 14:00

This webinar will give an overview of what research integrity is, why it’s important and new challenges faced by publishers to maintain research integrity in a fast-changing industry. The webinar will focus on the importance of collaborative solutions to these challenges and will be of interest to researchers, institutions, editors, publishers, librarians and anyone else involved on the conduct, oversight and dissemination of scholarly research.

Speaker Jigisha Patel, Research Integrity Consultant

 Sign up and contact info: