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Postgraduate researcher (PGR) Library checklist

This checklist highlights Library advice, information and resources designed to help you succeed as a postgraduate researcher at The Open University.

A PDF file of this checklist is available for you to download and view offline at your convenience The Open University Postgraduate researcher (PGR) Library checklist (pdf).



Attend a Library online training session as part of your University induction

The library’s training sessions will introduce you to the OU Library, show you how to use online resources effectively, and help with finding resources. Training sessions run periodically and cover topics such as "Reference management tools - an Introduction", "Smarter searching with library databases" and "Using Library Search for your assignment".

Attend training workshops offered by the Library Research Support Team​

Topics for training sessions include research data management, open access publishing, ORCIDs and data sharing.

Visit the Library website to explore library resources

The Library website is your gateway to the extensive library content provided by The Open University. Use the Library Search box to start searching for resources such as ebooks, databases, journals or journal articles. Alternatively, use the Library Resources tab to browse for resources. Most of our content is available online.

Learn about our 24/7 Chat to a Librarian Service

Use our webchat service if you need assistance with library resources or services. Links to Chat to a Librarian can be found on every page of the Library website.

Discover key services for postgraduate researchers

The Services for You page on the Library website contains links to all the key services that postgraduate researchers need. 

Visiting the Library building

Opening hours and support for you

The Library building is open from Monday to Friday, 09:00-17:00. During this time, you can access our collections, borrow items, and use study areas and meeting spaces. Library staff will be located on the ground floor to welcome and assist you with any library-related enquiries you have.
The PGR Common Room (located on the ground floor of the Library building) is open 24/7. You will need to activate your staff ID card with Security to gain access. Please note that you will not be able to access the main Library building areas out of hours.

Further steps

How to join the Open University Library 

Find out how to join the Library and borrow, renew, and return items at Walton Hall. You will need to activate the barcode on your staff ID card.

Suggest new titles 

Can't find a book in our Library collection? Open University postgraduate research students may suggest new titles for the library stock. 

Set up Google Scholar to link to full text resources provided by Library Services 

Instructions for setting up Google Scholar are available on the Library website. 

Check out LEAN Library and Browzine tools

The LEAN Library access browser extension will alert you whenever you are on a website that The Open University has a subscription for, helping you to find the content you want with a single click! 
Browzine offers Library users a different way to browse content by subject across a range of journal publications, allowing you to build a personal booksehlf of favourite journals, and also to save articles to other services such as EndNote and DropBox. 

Find out about the SCONUL Access scheme 

The SCONUL Access scheme allows you to access other libraries near you. Join the scheme early on to make sure your application is processed and ready for you to use all participating libraries in the UK!

Find out about our Document Delivery and Inter-library Loan services

You can use the Document Delivery and Inter-library Loan services to get items that the Library doesn’t have in stock. You will need to join the Library before accessing this service.

Use our print research methods and academic writing books

Covering a wide variety of topics, these resources can be found on the second floor of the Library building (near The Park) and are available on a reference basis (i.e., they cannot be taken out of the library) in order to maximise the number of people who can use them. Alternatively, the SAGE Research Methods online database is a great resource for beginner and advanced researchers alike. Find it via the Library Resources Databases webpage.

Learn about tools that will help you manage your references

See the Bibliographic management page, and find our Endnote and Mendeley tips and tricks guides on the PGR Community Team files area (log in required).

Write a data management plan

Data management plans help formulate how you’ll store and manage your research data throughout your project. Research data is the evidence on which researchers build their analytic or other work, collected, observed or created for the purposes of analysis to produce and validate original research results. Examples are images, video and audio; survey results and interview transcripts; experimental observations; text corpuses; notebooks and lab books; models and software.

Read about the potential benefits of sharing your research data

There is lots of information and guidance on data sharing on the Library Research Support website.

Copyright, plagiarism, and your thesis

We recommend you think about securing permission for any third party copyrighted material early on. Take a look at the Research Skills site (OU login required) to help you make a start. Follow this activity to learn about different forms of plagiarism and how to avoid them during the production of your thesis (OU login required).

Find out about Open Access publishing

Open Access aims to make the research process more transparent and the data and published outputs from research accessible to all. Making research outputs Open Access can increase their readership and impact. Research funders increasingly require research data and published outputs to be made Open Access. If your research degree is funded, please check our list of funder requirements.

Familiarise yourself with ORO (Open Research Online)

ORO is The Open University’s open access repository of research publications. It contains records of research outputs published by OU staff and postgraduate research students and theses of former research students. Many of the ORO records also have the full-text of the publications attached. All postgraduate research students are required to deposit the full-text of their thesis in ORO and a DataCite digital object identifier (DOI) will be created which provides a permanent, citable web link.

Find out about ORDO (Open Research Data Online)

ORDO is The Open University’s research data repository, where Open University researchers can upload their data for long-term preservation and, where appropriate, sharing e.g., at the end of a project or supporting a publication. Data stored in ORDO will be kept for a minimum of ten years after project completion. Published data will be given a DataCite digital object identifier (DOI), providing a permanent, citable web link.

Investigate tools that help you find Open Access versions of research publications

Take a look at Open Access Button and Unpaywall. There is also CORE and EndNote Click, formerly known as Kopernio. 

Set up ORCID

ORCID is a unique digital identifier that helps ensure you get credit for your published work.



Contact us

Library Research Support team