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Open Access Policy

St Mary’s University Research Publications & Open Access Policy

1.    Summary

This policy lays out the requirements for Open Access to research publications produced by researchers at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. The University is committed to maximising the visibility, citation, usage and impact of research by ensuring that the outputs of its researchers are available openly, wherever possible, as per the University’s corporate objective to enhance the quality and quantity of its research, knowledge exchange and enterprise.

The University also supports the principle that the findings of publicly-funded research should be made available as widely as possible in line with Open Access policies as stipulated by the government and research funding bodies.

In order to put this commitment into practice, this policy establishes three key requirements for St Mary’s researchers.

  1. Researchers must create descriptive records in the St Mary’s Open Research Archive (institutional publications repository) for all research outputs that they author or co-author.
  2. Researchers must deposit in the Open Research Archive a copy of the Author Accepted Manuscript (also known as ‘post-print’) of each journal article or conference proceedings they author in line with HEFCE Open Access policy. This should be done immediately at the point that the article is accepted for publication. This copy must be made available on Open Access as soon as possible, while observing any embargo period stipulated by the publisher. Researchers must ensure their chosen journal meets the requirements of the HEFCE Open Access policy and any funder Open Access policies that may be applicable.
  3. Researchers in receipt of external funding must ensure they comply with all Open Access publication and data stipulations from the funder. Funding conditions in this area should be carefully scrutinised before an application is made to ensure both the researcher and the University can meet these at the time of publication.      

2.    Aims of the policy

This policy has several key aims:

  • to improve public access to the outputs of research carried out directly or indirectly with public funding, in line with the University’s Mission, Values, and Aims
  • to raise the profile of both the University and its researchers in the wider world, both nationally and internationally
  • to ensure a comprehensive institutional record of research activity within the University is available both internally and externally
  • to enhance the opportunities for increasing the use, re-use, and citations of the University’s research outputs in the wider academic environment
  • to ensure the University complies with the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s Open Access Policy from April 2016 and that University research outputs are not excluded from consideration for the next Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise due to lack of Open Access provision
  • to provide a robust foundation for the University to increase its research activity through provision of compliant infrastructure and procedures that can support external research funding bids.

3.    Scope and affected staff

This policy applies to those defined as ‘St Mary’s University Researchers’. This means all academic staff who publish research findings as part of their employment by the University, as well as Postgraduate Research students. It does not cover either Undergraduate or Taught Postgraduate students. It also does not cover Visiting Lecturers employed on a casual hourly basis to carry out teaching.

Any researchers who are receipt of, or plan to apply for, external research funding have heightened levels of responsibility under this policy due to the Open Access and Research Data Management stipulations that are commonly associated with external research funding.

4.    Types of research output covered

This policy covers all published research outputs produced by St Mary’s researchers. This includes, but is not limited to, journal articles, conference proceedings, monographs and book chapters.

The Open Access stipulations of this policy currently only cover journal articles and conference proceedings in publications with an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) published from April 2016 onwards. However, researchers are encouraged to deposit all research outputs within the Open Research Archive repository as Open Access if this is permissible within copyright law and/or the publisher’s licence.

5.    Process for complying with policy

5.1.         Choice of journal for research publication

St Mary’s researchers are advised to employ caution in selection of journals for publishing their research. This is to avoid the risk of research outputs becoming ineligible for consideration in the next REF exercise due to lack of Open Access provision. In the case of externally funded research, there is also a need to choose a journal which meets the funder’s requirements for Open Access. Researchers should pay particularly close attention to the following:

  • the journal must permit the author to post a copy of the Author Accepted Manuscript (Postprint) to an institutional repository site as soon as the article is accepted
  • the journal must not have an embargo period that is longer than that specified by HEFCE and/or the research funder. The maximum embargo periods for REF purposes are 12 months for REF Panels A and B and 24 months for Panels C and D. Please note that some research funders have shorter maximum embargo periods.

Both of these permissions can easily be checked for any given journal by searching for it on the SHERPA/RoMEO tool. If in doubt please contact the Research Services team for assistance. 

5.2.         Adding descriptive records for all research outputs

Researchers must create a descriptive record on the Open Research Archive site for each research publication they author. This record should be created as soon as the item is accepted for publication. The descriptive record can be made in one of two ways by the researcher:

  • by using the self-deposit functionality on the Open Research Archive site at and following the on-screen prompts
  • by sending details of the publication to The team will add a record Open Research Archive on the researcher’s behalf.

As a minimum, the descriptive record must include the following information:

  • the full title of the research output
  • the title of the publication the output appears in (if applicable)
  • full details of the author and any co-authors as these details appear in the publication
  • publication date (DD/MM/YYYY), volume/issue number and page numbers as appropriate
  • an abstract summarising the outcomes and findings of the research
  • the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for the item wherever this is available.

5.3.         Adding full text for journal articles and conference proceedings

In addition to the requirement laid out in section 5.1, authors of journal articles and conference proceedings must also ensure a copy of the full text of the publication is made available on Open Access on the Open Research Archive site to be compliant with HEFCE policy for inclusion in the post-2014 REF. This can be accomplished by uploading the full text of the Author Accepted Manuscript in Word or PDF format at the time that the descriptive record is created. Please be aware that there are several specific requirements in this area to ensure compliance with HEFCE policy.

  • The full-text must made available on Open Access within three months of being accepted by the publisher (and this is scheduled to become immediate upon acceptance for publication in the future).
  • The full-text must be provided as the Author Accepted Manuscript (also known as the ‘Postprint’). This is the final peer-reviewed version as sent to the publisher for typesetting. It is not the final publisher PDF version.
  • If an embargo period is set by the publisher, this should be respected by delaying Open Access using the ‘restrict Open Access’ functionality in the Open Research Archive site. Publisher embargo periods can be checked using the SHERPA/RoMEO tool.

5.4.         Complying with funding body requirements for Open Access

Many public and private funding bodies now stipulate Open Access to research outputs and/or supporting research data as a condition of research funding. Researchers who plan to apply for external funding must ensure that both they and the University can meet these requirements prior to submitting funding bids. The SHERPA/FACT tool can be used to ensure a specific publication is compliant with a funder’s requirements.

If a researcher is in any doubt about their ability to comply with these requirements they are advised to contact the Research Services team for advice.

6.    Responsibilities under this policy

The following units or staff members within the University have specific responsibilities in implementing this policy:

6.1.         The University Research Committee

The University Research Committee is responsible for overseeing the process of research publication at St Mary’s University and has overall responsibility for approving this policy and its requirements.

6.2.         The Research Services Department

The Research Services Department is responsible for monitoring research activity across the University and providing support and development to researchers. This includes monitoring compliance with internal and external policies on Open Access, as well as providing support to researchers making funding bids. The department is also responsible for coordinating the University’s REF submissions and ensuring that all outputs included in the submission are compliant with the HEFCE Open Access policy.

They manage the Open Research Archive repository on behalf of the University, ensuring that the service meets the requirements of both researchers and external bodies. 

6.3.         School Research Coordinators

The School Research Coordinators are responsible for supporting researchers in each Academic School and ensuring compliance with this policy within the Schools. Each Research Coordinator should have a full understanding of Open Access requirements specific to the disciplines for which they are responsible.

6.4.         Researchers

Researchers themselves are responsible for familiarising themselves with the requirements of this policy and carrying out the actions outlined in section 5 for each research output they produce. In the case of joint projects with external researchers, this will involve joint responsibility for complying with the Open Access policies of each host institution.

Researchers should understand that failure to comply with these requirements may leave research outputs at risk of being inadmissible in the next REF exercise.

7.    Monitoring

The provisions of this policy will be monitored on an ongoing basis by the Research Services team and will provide regular updates on activity within the Open Research Archive repository.

Last revised March 2016 and October 2023.