Category Archives: Open Access

New UKRI fund for long-form outputs now open

You may already be aware that UKRI’s open access requirements are being extended to long-form outputs.  If you will be publishing a UKRI-funded monograph, book chapter or edited collection on or after 1 January 2024 it will need to be made open access. See UKRI’s guidance on making your research publications open access.

On 28 November 2023, UKRI launched a new ring-fenced £3.5 million fund, dedicated to supporting open access costs for monographs, book chapters and edited collections within the scope of the new policy.

Funding can be used to support costs to make the Version of Record immediately open access with a Creative Commons licence. UKRI will contribute up to the following maximums (these amounts are inclusive of VAT, where applicable):

  • £10,000 for book processing charges
  • £1,000 for chapter processing charges
  • £6,000 for participation in an alternative open access model (not exceeding the total cost of participation). UKRI will fund up to another £3,000 where there are two or more eligible outputs

To apply to the fund, you must first check the conditions of accessing the UKRI Long-from Publications Fund on the Library Research Support Team’s website, and complete the Funding Request Form available from that page. A publishing contract does not need to have been signed at this stage, but you should have an intended publisher and be able to provide an estimate of costs. The fund is centrally held by UKRI, and the Library Research Support Team will apply to the UKRI to access it on your behalf. UKRI will then review the application and confirm if the output(s) will be eligible for funding.

See the Library Research Support Team’s website for full details of the new UKRI open access policy and the UKRI Long-Form Outputs Fund

If you have any questions about this, please get in touch with us at:

World Digital Preservation Day 2023 – Open University Legacy Research Papers

To coincide with World Digital Preservation Day on 2nd November 2023, the Open University Library announce a new collection of over 450 Legacy Research Papers on ORO. In partnership with the University Archive and academic colleagues at the University, ORO now holds papers published by: 

Libraries and Archives are the Memory of their Institution

Maintaining the publication record of research groups remind us of what the University has done and how we got to where we are now. These papers have been collected from various sources: 

  • The Open University Archive 
  • The Open University Library 
  • Offices at Walton Hall 
  • Websites 
  • Shared network drives 

These collections were disparate and scattered lacking consistent metadata and a digital platform to help find their reader. We organised the collections, created metadata and issued persistent identifiers (Digital Object Identifiers) for each paper. They can know be browsed alongside each other on ORO and searched for on the web as they have been indexed by internet search engines. 

The ORO service is ready to add further legacy research collections.  Moreover, the architecture has been built to enable active research groups to disseminate their self-published research outputs – let’s make the most of our research and our repositories! 


The Collections 

Development Policy and Practice (DPP) 

The DPP working paper series comprise nearly fifty working papers and joint working papers from the DPP research group. Emeritus Professor David Wield supported this work with donations and advice, he writes about the group: 

Development Policy and Practice at the Open University was a very early initiative to integrate high level academic research in International Development with strong emphasis on policy and Practice impact. It attracted a large proportion of world class academics with similar interests in building a local and global critical response to the prevailing neo-liberal wave of destructive financial policies. It was the first group to analyse north and south relations together, including research on local development in the ‘north’ and major research on east and central Europe before the collapse of the Soviet Union. 

On investigation this collection had already been part digitised by the AgEcon – a subject repository for Agricultural and Applied Economics. We worked in partnership with AgEcon to complete their collection of DPP papers and create a complete collection in ORO. We harvested reports from AgEcon, missing papers were digitised by our digitisation partner, the British Library, which we shared with AgEcon. Both ORO and AgEcon now have complete collections of these working papers. 

DPP Front Cover

Browse the Collection: Development Policy and Practice 

Design Education Research Programme 

The University Archive and Library held a small collection of 13 Design Education Research Notes published by the Design Education Research Programme. This was within our small digitisation budget, and they were sent for digitisation to the British Library. Emeritus Professor Nigel Harris supported this work and contextualised the work of this group: 

This programme of research was based in the Design Discipline, Faculty of Technology, 1978 – 1988, funded by the Faculty and the University. It aimed to articulate and establish fundamental aspects of education in design so as to underpin the growth of design as a subject in general education and to support the concept of design as a discipline of study for the Open University’s students. This led into further research into design epistemology, the nature of design ability, design thinking and designerly ways of knowing. 

DERN Front Cover

Browse the Collection: Design Education Research Programme 

Design Innovation Group Reports 

The Design Innovation Group (DIG), which was founded in 1979, conducts research on the role of product design and technical innovation in the competitiveness of industry, both in the UK and overseas.

Frontmatter of DIG Report 5: The Commercial Impacts of Green Product Development 

Some reports from the Design Innovation Group (DIG) were already in ORO. They had been added some years ago by members of the group. We found other DIG reports in the University archive, online copies were retrieved via the Internet Archive and some found on researcher’s hard drives. Emeritus Professor Robin Roy supported our efforts, and work continues to complete the collection of DIG Reports in ORO. 

Browse the Collection: Design Innovation Group 

Alternative Technology Group 

Late in 1976, the Faculty of Technology at the Open University took the imaginative step of funding two full-time research workers, to work in the area of Alternative Technology and to begin a research group (the Alternative Technology Group), which would act as a focus for the research interests of a number of the teaching staff. This was the first attempt in Britain to mount a formal research effort in this field. 

Frontmatter of ATG Report 5: Self-sufficiency and the future of work 

ATG Front Cover

The eleven papers in this series were digitised from paper copies held in the University archive and include prescient work on recycling, renewable energy sources and green cars.  (Moreover, they have exquisite covers!) 

Browse the Collection: Alternative Technology Group 

Co-operatives Research Unit 

The Co-operatives Research Unit (CRU) has three main aims: 

  • to encourage and develop thinking and research on issues of importance to the social economy sector; 
  • to support the development of co-operatives and other organisations trading for social or ethical purposes; 
  • to work with practitioners, policy makers and researchers at European, national and local levels to develop comparative analyses of issues for improving policy, development and management. 

from the Co-operatives Research Unit webpages 

Initially, I intended only to digitise a small number of CRU case studies held in the University Archive. However, when I contacted Emeritus Professor Roger Spear of the CRU, he advised that a number of these publications had already been digitised and were available on network drives. Roger provided access for me, I harvested them, performed Optical Character Recognition on the PDFs to make them searchable and added them to ORO.  

This fascinating range of papers range includes a case study of the Milton Keynes radical bookshop Oakleaf as well as numerous studies of co-operatives from across the UK. 

Browse the Collection: Co-operatives Research Unit 

Open Discussion Papers in Economics 

The Open Discussion Papers in Economics were a different scenario. They already sit on a website and (to my knowledge) will remain there.  The purpose in harvesting these files was to be proactive in the preservation of content on a live website – of not waiting for the worst to happen 

Having gained consent from Head of Economics, Professor Susan Newman, to do this work, we found a few gaps in the collection. We tracked print copies down in the University Archive and digitised them. So, we were able to complete the collection as well as providing it with a second home. 

Browse the Collection: Open Discussion Papers in Economics 

Department of Computing Technical Reports 

Most challenging of all the collections in terms of scale and complexity were the Technical Reports published by the Department of Computing. In 2022 the University archived received a call to archive these papers as the website was being deprecated by local IT services. The University Archive harvested the PDF files, and we began the process of adding them to ORO. Dr. Amel Bennaceur, Director of Research for the School of Computing and Communications, writes: 

The website hosted technical reports to share research findings before publications, appendices or longer versions of published work, or students reports. While ORO offers a much superior way to host and archive technical reports, the website contained legacy reports that were referenced in published papers. By helping us add those reports to ORO, the OU librarians allowed us to retain those reports in line with today’s best practice.

An established series (with an ISSN) the reports ran from 1997 to 2017 and number more than 250 papers. Some of these papers were early working versions of published papers that were also in ORO – so I have done my best to not duplicate these records! These papers also included student dissertations from M801 Master of Science Degree in Software Development, which have been catalogued accordingly. Moreover, some numbers in the series appear to have been replaced at some point during the lifetime of series – so what we currently have in ORO is a snapshot of the series at point of its closure. 

Browse the Collection: Department of Computing Technical Reports 

Join the new ‘Open Research Community’ today


The Library’s Research Support Team have just launched a new Open Research Community on Microsoft Viva Engage (formerly Yammer).

We want to create an inclusive, supportive and active community for researchers and research support staff across the Open University to interact, discuss, share knowledge, and encourage good working practices to embed a culture of Open Research.

This will be a forum for all members to post relevant news, developments and policy updates and for prompting questions, debates and discussions on the direction of Open Research; as well as for sharing services and tools to support researchers in navigating this fast-paced world.

Why not join the conversation today by joining the Open Research Community?

UKRI Open Access Policy: new requirements

If you are publishing research articles and are funded by UKRI you need to be aware that there are changes to the Open Access policy from 1 April 2022.

The new policy requires immediate open access for research articles and conference proceedings that acknowledge UKRI funding from AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, STFC, Innovate UK or Research England submitted for publication on or after 1 April 2022. This can be achieved by 2 routes:

    • Route one: publish the article open access in a journal or publishing platform. The version of record (final published version) must be immediately open access via its website with a Creative Commons attribution (CC BY) licence. Funds for Gold Open Access may be available from the University’s UKRI Open Access Block Grant. The Library has been taking out Journal Transitional Agreements with Jisc that include gold open access publishing in them.
    • Route two: publish the article in a subscription journal and deposit the Author’s Accepted Manuscript (AAM) (or Version of Record, where the publisher permits) at the time of publication in an institutional or subject repository with a CC BY license. A publisher embargo period is not permitted.

The policy also requires a Data Access Statement on research articles, even where there are no data associated with the article or the data are inaccessible

It is important that any UKRI funded researchers check before article submission that the journal they are submitting to is compliant with the UKRI Open Access Policy.

The policy has also been widened to include monographs, book chapters and edited collections published on or after 1 January 2024 and requires:

  • the final version of a publication or the author’s accepted manuscript (AAM) being made open access via an online publication platform, publishers’ website, or institutional or subject repository within a maximum of 12 months of publication.
  • CC BY licence is preferred to maximise opportunities for sharing and reuse. The open access version should include, where possible, any images, illustrations, tables and other supporting content.

UKRI will be providing dedicated funding to support open access monographs, book chapters and edited collections. Funding will be via a centralised fund held by UKRI that must be applied for by authors. Publication costs for monographs, book chapters and edited collections can also continue to be included in research grant applications. UKRI will provide updated guidance by the end of 2022.

Further details can be found on the Library Research Support website and the full policy can be found here along with a list of frequently asked questions.

The Library Research Support Team will be running two briefing sessions in Microsoft Teams (please note these will not be recorded):

10-11am Tuesday 5th April 2022. Book here.

3:30-4:30pm Thursday 7th April 2022. Book here.

For help and advice, please contact


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

This post is part of a series where we explore some of the biggest deals the Open University 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 SAGE Publishing.


What do these deals mean?

We 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 of these ‘transformative deals’ 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 a reduced or zero cost to you. Check out our website for full details of the agreements we have in place.

Transformative deals: SAGE

Our agreement with SAGE means that OU affiliated corresponding authors publishing in SAGE Choice (hybrid OA) journals can now publish Gold at no charge to the author.

They also offer a 20% discount off list price to publish in licensed SAGE wholly Gold OA journals. The 20% discount can be obtained by quoting code JISC2020 in the RightsLink portal. For Open Access Journals where RightsLink portal is not used, the corresponding author must contact to request the discount. If the corresponding author does not request the discount via the code, they may request an amended invoice by contacting SAGE’s Open Access customer service team prior to payment being made (

How do I make use of the deal?

Eligible authors will be contacted directly to ask if they would like to benefit from this deal, so you do not need to take any action. All articles published on or before 1st January 2020 are eligible, so authors may receive emails from SAGE asking if they would like to retrospectively make previously published articles Gold OA at no extra cost. You’ll need to be quick, authors have 5 days from the date of the email to confirm if they would like to publish Gold. All ‘article-type’ outputs are included in the agreement(book reviews are excluded).

Why Open Access?

Open access (OA) means making research publications freely available so anyone can benefit from reading and using research. Open access is part of a wider ‘open’ movement to encourage free exchange of knowledge and resources in order to widen access and encourage creativity.

Want to know more?

Please get in touch with the Research Support team if you have any further questions about the SAGE deal or any other transformative agreements we have.

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 Podcast – Copyright and your Thesis

You may remember earlier in the year that we created some guidance for Postgraduate Researchers for including third-party copyright works in their thesis. You can now find out more in our new copyright podcast which covers the basics of copyright: what it is, what works it protects, and why and how to seek permission to include copyrighted materials in your thesis.

Between the online guide and the new podcast, we’re confident you’ll get to grips with copyright in no time!

Still got questions? We’re always happy to help. Contact us at:




Plan S – a primer

What is Plan S?

Plan S is a radical proposal regarding open access (OA) to research publications.

It was created by cOAlition S, a group of research funders co-ordinated by Science Europe. It includes UKRI (UK Research and Innovation), Wellcome, the European Research Council (ERC), the European Commission and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

What does Plan S propose?

The crux of Plan S is that peer-reviewed research publications resulting from grants that the coalition allocate:

“must be fully and immediately open and cannot be monetised in any way”

cOAlition S believe they have a duty of care towards research as a whole. Thus they favour OA because it helps research function more efficiently and have greater impact on society. They feel there is no justification for keeping research publications behind paywalls and that progress towards OA needs accelerating.

More specifically, Plan S requires that all peer-reviewed research publications funded via calls posted from 1st January 2021 must be:

  • Published in an OA journal where the content is OA immediately (gold OA)



  • Published in an OA repository where the content is OA immediately (green OA with no embargo)
      • At The OU, authors could comply by depositing their work in ORO, as long as the work meets all other Plan S requirements

Making research data and other outputs OA is encouraged and a statement clarifying policy regarding monographs and book chapters is expected by the end of 2021.

Other headlines include:

  • Publication in hybrid journals (i.e. subscription-based journals that charge a fee to make articles OA) will not be supported…
    • …unless the journal moves towards becoming fully OA within a defined timeframe under a “transformative arrangement”
  • Authors or their institutions must retain copyright
    • CC-BY is the preferred license
  • Publishers should charge reasonable fees for OA and make the structure of these fees transparent
    • Funders may even standardise and cap the fees they pay
  • A commitment to the responsible evaluation of research when allocating funds
    • The coalition states it will judge research on its own merit and not on things like the journal it was published in or metrics such as Journal Impact Factor
  • Compliance with Plan S will be monitored and non-compliance will be sanctioned

However, the devil is in the detail – there are a lot of elements to Plan S and we recommend reading it yourself to see which aspects might impact you.

What are people saying about Plan S?

There have been a LOT of reactions to Plan S and these are, predicatably, mixed. Some of the themes I have noticed are:

  • Many people support the aims of Plan S
  • There is concern it is too STEM-focused and will negatively affect AHSS researchers
  • There is concern regarding some of the implementation detail
    • e.g. the technical specifications regarding publications, OA repositories and other OA platforms
  • Some believe it will impinge academic freedom
    • i.e. to choose where and how to publish
  • There is concern about the effects it will have on smaller publishers and learned societies
  • The timescale is too ambitious
  • We have been here before
    • There have been statements, reports and policies made in the past which did not push through the radical change anticipated


What is next for Plan S?

There is still a lot of uncertainty regarding the detail and implementation of Plan S, so all concerned will need to keep a watching brief.