Aston University Open Research Policies

External Open Access and Open Research Policies

Research Excellence Framework Open Access Policy

To be eligible for submission to the REF, peer-reviewed journal articles and conference proceedings must be deposited in a repository within three months of acceptance. These outputs must also meet minimum requirements for deposit, discoverability and accessibility.

The REF 2021 open access policy, as summarised above, currently remains in effect for REF 2029, until replaced by a new REF open access policy.  The new REF 2029 open access policy has not yet been released, and it is expected to be launched in late 2024.  The scope of REF 2029 will include all publications published starting from 1st January 2021.

UKRI Open Access Policy

UKRI released their updated Open Access Policy on 6 August 2021 after a lengthy period of consultation. This updated policy applies to peer-reviewed journal outputs submitted for publication from 1 April 2022 and to long-form publications published on or after 1 January 2024. It is important to note that this new policy applies to all authors who acknowledge UKRI grants awarded from 1 April 2013.  

In-scope journal outputs include peer-reviewed research and review articles (including invited reviews), conference paper published in a journal/volume with an ISSN. Long-form publications include monographs, book chapters and edited collections.  UKRI training grant holders are excluded from the long-form publication open access requirement.  

Another major change in the new policy is that all journal outputs acknowledging UKRI funding must include a data access statement that describes how and on what terms supporting research data can be accessed. If there is no research data underpinning the article, the data is not accessible because of privacy or security reasons, or all data is included in the article, the author must still include a statement to that effect. Best practice for research data management can be found at the Research Data page.  

Aston University receives funding from the UKRI Open Access Block Grant to pay individual article processing charges for eligible outputs and subscription fees for Read & Publish deals with publishers.  For more information, see Funding Open Access Publication, and for books and long form publication, see Open Access Books.  

Other Funder’s Open Access Policies


Open Access

Open Research

An extensive glossary of Open Research terms from FORRT, the Framework for Open and Reproducible Research Training  (short list of terms below for Aston)

A Short List of Open Research Terms

Accepted version: Final, peer-reviewed version of an article, before the publisher’s layout and typesetting is applied; also known as the author’s accepted manuscript (AAM) or post-print version.

Article Processing Charge (APC): Fee paid to a publisher for Gold Open Access.

Aston Research Explorer: The name of the public facing portal (which uses the PURE software) that showcases all of Aston’s research activities and incorporates the institutional repository, Aston Publications Explorer (which contains full text from PURE that can be legally shared).  Depositing (uploading) to Aston Research Explorer (PURE) helps to make your research widely available.  PURE is where you need to deposit your articles for the Research Excellence Framework.

CC BY: Creative Commons Attribution Licence.  This licence grants permission to others to distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon a work, even commercially, as long as they credit the rights holder(s) for the original creation.  Most funders require a CC BY license for publications linked to research that they fund.For license details including  the other Creative Commons licenses, see

Corresponding author: The author responsible for manuscript correction, correspondence during submission, handling of revisions and re-submission of the revised manuscript. On acceptance of the manuscript, the corresponding author is responsible for co-ordinating any application for payment of a Gold Open Access Article Processing Charge (APC).  Also, for articles to be included in the Aston’s publisher Open Access agreements, the corresponding author for the article must be at Aston.

Early online version: Many publishers release articles online as soon as they have been fully copy-edited and proof-checked, ahead of the final, ‘printed’ version. This version of the article is usually identical to the version that appears in the final issue except for page numbering and volume/issue details.

Embargo: A delay period imposed by a publisher on making full text articles available online, e.g. in an institutional or subject repository. Embargoes can vary from 6 months to 2 years after publication (including Early online publication) in some cases. Sometimes the publisher's embargo conflicts with a funder's requirement, so it is worth checking this before you publish.  The version of an article that can be made available varies, although it is usually the author’s accepted manuscript; check with the individual publisher’s self-archiving policy or your publication agreement for specific details.   

Gold Open Access: Immediate Open Access of a journal article on the publisher's website, after a fee has been paid. See Article Processing Charge (APC).

Green Open Access: The free route to open access; the author’s accepted manuscript is deposited in the institutional repository and made available after an embargo period has elapsed.

Hybrid journals: Journals where subscriptions are still required for access to most of the content, but a fee can be paid to make individual articles available as Open Access.  

Institutional repository: Online digital archive of an institution’s research publications. See Aston Research Explorer.  Full text copies of Aston publications when they can be made publicly available are in Aston Publications Explorer . Aston also has the Aston Data Explorer data repository

Metadata: Information held as a description of stored data. Typically, the metadata of a publication record is its bibliographic details.

Open Access: Making research publications, principally journal articles, freely available online with all barriers to access removed.  Open Access is achieved through Gold Open Access journals and journal articles, and Green self-archiving in institutional repositories such as Aston Research Explorer.

Open Research: Open Research is practice of researching in such a way that others can collaborate and contribute throughout the research process. Open Research also goes by Open Science and Open Scholarship, but whatever name you use, it encompasses all fields and stages of research.

Published PDF: Version of an article that appears on the publisher’s website upon final publication. This will include the publisher’s copy-editing, proof corrections, layout and typesetting; also known as the version of record (VOR).

PURE: The current research information system used by Aston to record and track all our research activities, including publications. Aston authors can upload their publication details and the accepted version of their papers to PURE which will automatically populate Aston Research Explorer.