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Open Research Online FAQs

What can I deposit on ORO?

Open University researchers are encouraged to deposit all peer-reviewed research and other research outputs which meet the "Frascati" definition of research (see below). This includes, but is not restricted to: journal articles, book chapters, authored books, edited books, conference items, published patents, eTheses, software, internet publication/web output, performance, composition, design, artifact, public exhibition, research report (for external body), device or product, digital or visual media, scholarly edition, research dataset or database, special issue of journal.

What is the Frascati definition of research?

In addition to, or instead of, the process of external peer review and publication, the following definition of research can be used to determine eligibility for inclusion in ORO:

[An] original investigation undertaken in order to gain knowledge and understanding.

It includes work of direct relevance to the needs of commerce, industry, and to the public and voluntary sectors; scholarship (creation, development and maintenance of the intellectual infrastructure of subjects and disciplines); the invention and generation of ideas, images, performances, artifacts including design, where these lead to new or substantially improved insights; and the use of existing knowledge in experimental development to produce new or substantially improved materials, devices, products and processes, including design and construction.

It excludes routine testing and routine analysis of materials, components and processes such as for the maintenance of national standards, as distinct from the development of new analytical techniques. It also excludes the development of teaching materials that do not embody original research. The majority of research will be funded from external sources.

Can I only deposit publications produced whilst working at the OU?

No, you can deposit as complete a record of your publications history as you like, including publications produced whilst working at previous institutions. It really depends on how you want to use ORO: some people like it to be a showcase of their complete publications history; while others prefer it to reflect only their recently published work. Either is fine.

Can I get a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) from ORO?

At this point DOIs can be issued for any publication where the OU is a publisher (or co-publisher) and a (co-)author is a member of OU staff. We are not issuing DOIs where The Open University is not primarily responsible for the publication (e.g. we are not issuing separate DOIs for an accepted version of a paper where a DOI already exists for the published version on the journal website.)


DOIs have been issued to all OU awarded theses in ORO and will be issued for all newly awarded OU theses. DOIs exist for theses either with full text or bibliographic information only. Theses will be issued with DOIs automatically.

Other Published materials

We expect research reports published by The Open University to be the other prime use case for DOIs issued via ORO. But we will consider issuing DOIs for all OU published outputs on a case by case basis. Publications can already exist in ORO or be new additions – but they have to be in ORO!

Items already in ORO

To request a DOI for an item already in ORO:

New Items

To request a DOI for new items add a note in the “Notes to Library Staff” at point of deposit to indicate a DOI is required. ORO staff will issue a DOI which will be made public when the record is made live in ORO.

How do I export items on ORO?

Items can be exported from ORO in a variety of formats. To export a number of items you need to carry out a search to retrieve a results list. It is not possible to export from a browse list. At the results page you can use the drop-down menu to select an export format.

Can I set up feeds from ORO?

There are a number of options for delivering dynamic content from ORO to external web pages. The simplest way to do this is to use RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds, and these can be generated from any ORO page, or from any set of search results you have generated. Simply click on the RSS icon to view the feed.

A limitation of the RSS standard is that it will deliver content to your web page in the order it has been added to ORO. This may not be the best option for producing publication feeds for staff pages or research group websites because the order in which people deposit items in ORO is rarely the order in which they were published.

For more tailored feed solutions, you or your website developer/editor will need to use the ORO API (Application Programming Interface). Please contact the Library Research Support team for more information.

How should I cite items I find in ORO?

When you click on an item in ORO, you will see (under the main title in blue) a reference to the official published version. Always cite this published version, as this will result in the author(s) receiving proper recognition through services that track citation counts (e.g. Thomson's Web of Science).

While you should always cite the published version when referencing the article as a whole, there may be instances (for example if you need to refer to a specific page of the article for a quote), where you will need to cite the ORO version. This is because the page numbering in the ORO version might not match the page numbering in the final published version. If you need to do this, here's how:

Smith, C (2009). How to reference papers in ORO. Open Research Online. Available at: Replace the 'xxxxx' with the item ID from the URL.

In such cases, if you or your institution has access, the preference would be to click through and use the specific page reference from the published version. However, even if citing the ORO version, please try to cite the published version as well so that the author(s) receive proper recognition, as mentioned above.

Can I submit 'in press' items to ORO?

If you have had an output (typically a book, journal article or chapter in an edited collection) formally accepted for publication, it is possible in some cases to upload the details to ORO prior to its actual publication. When entering your output's details, you should use the 'Information for Library Staff' box to alert staff to the fact that this is an in press item and to supply relevant confirmation. When the item is published please update the item using the "Submit Changes (Author/Deposit only)" option.

Should I submit unpublished conference items I may later want to submit to a journal?

If you have an unpublished conference paper or presentation which contains content you are considering submitting to a journal at a later date please do not add the full text to ORO.  There have been instances where article submissions have been rejected by the publisher because a proportion of the paper had already been made available to the public domain by deposit in ORO.

Can I add book chapters to ORO?

Adding book chapters to repositories is not as well established as adding journal articles.  However, some publishers do allow the author to deposit book chapters in ORO. UKCoRR maintain a community spreadsheet of publisher policies for self archiving book chapters

Why have I received a request from someone for a copy of my article through ORO and what should I do about it?

For one of two reasons:

  1. The full text you supplied is under embargo.
  2. The full text you supplied could not be made openly accessible due to the publisher's policy on Open Access.

Under these circumstances, a "Request Copy from OU Author" button would have been added for users to click. This is where the email has come from. The email you have received should contain two links: one to accept the request, and one to decline it. Clicking on the link to accept the request will take you to a page in ORO asking you to confirm that you wish to send the person a copy. The full text attached to the ORO record will then be released by email to the requester.

Clicking on the link to decline the request will again take you through to a different page on ORO where you can enter a reason for declining the request. This will be emailed to the requester..

NB: In both cases, you will need to be logged in to ORO for the automatic accept or decline links to work.

The request copy email you have received (for whatever reason) should include some information about the requester, e.g. name, email address, affiliation, and their reason for wanting a copy of your article.

If after reading this FAQ you are still in any way unsure or uncertain as to how to respond, or indeed if you want the button removed from a particular article (perhaps because you do not have a copy to send), simply contact the Library Research Support team. Similarly, if you want to add the full text to your article's entry in ORO so as to not receive email requests for it in future, please contact the Library Research Support team.

Contact us

Library Research Support team