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Open Access (OA) publishing allows your research outputs to be made freely available to anyone, anywhere in the world. It promotes the sharing of research and knowledge and has significant social, economic and scientific benefits. Open Access is part of the wider Open Research movement.

In addition to the REF OA policy, many research funders have OA publishing requirements relating to discoverability and accessibility. This includes UK Research and Innovation the European Commission, the Wellcome Trust and other UK medical charities.

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Help with Open Access Publishing

For help and advice on the open access publishing process, Aston Research Explorer or Aston Publications Explorer (our repository) please contact the Open Access and Research Repository Specialists at openaccess@aston.ac.uk
 
For information on the benefits of OA publishing, please contact your Information Specialist in the Library.

For questions on using Pure, please contact pure@aston.ac.uk

Open Access Policy

 
Reference Number Version Letter Executive Sponsor Office Responsible for Policy/Procedures Consultation Process Date of Approval and Committee and/or Executive Officer Effective Date 
1 PVC (R and E) Director Information
Resources and Research Services,
Library Services 
Research Committee Research Committee and Executive Team December 2015 
2 PVC (R and E) Director Information,
Resources and Research Services,
Library Services 
Research Committee Research Committee 30 October 2019 December 2019 
3 PVC (R and E) Research Services Lead, Library ServicesResearch CommitteeResearch Committee 4 February 2021February 2021

1. INTRODUCTION AND SCOPE OF THE POLICY

Aston University fully supports the practice of Open Research, with Open Access being a crucial part of this. There are two methods of Open Access (OA), the Green or Gold route. The Green route is our default way of ensuring compliance with OA requirements and makes the full text freely available on Aston’s research repository (Aston Publications Explorer) at the end of a publisher embargo period (typically between 6 and 24 months). Gold Open Access requires payment of an Article Processing Charge (APC) and makes the final published PDF open access immediately from the publisher’s website; Gold OA charges may be covered by a transformative agreement with a publisher or by a one-off payment. Authors will be supported in making their publications OA by Library Services

1.1. Purpose of the Interim Policy 

Plan S is driving global change in open access, with an implementation date of 1 January 2021.  UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is also in the process of reviewing its open access policy, with the new policy expected to launch in 2021 and a longer-term Policy will need to take account of this. The new UKRI open access policy will also inform the open access policy of the next REF. In light of the Plan S guidance and the intention of UKRI to adopt some of these points we need to implement an interim open access policy at Aston University to ensure that our authors are adhering to current open access policies and practices.

1.2. What is covered by the Policy

The policy sets out which publications should be included in Aston’s open access repositories and how open access is to be achieved. It is closely aligned with Research England’s REF 2021 Open Access Policy and takes account of the direction provided by Plan S. 

1.3. Who is Covered by the Policy

The policy covers current Aston University staff members with research in their contract, until such point that their contract with Aston ends. Other Aston staff members who publish are also welcome to make their research outputs open access through Aston’s transformative agreements or via the Green route.

Authors with funding from external bodies such as UKRI, European Commission, Wellcome Trust, etc. must also adhere to their funder’s open access policies.


2. WHAT SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN ASTON’S OPEN ACCESS PUBLICATIONS REPOSITORIES

2.1. Research Publications

All journal articles and conference proceedings by Aston authors must be made Open Access. Where full text has been deposited, the publication is included in Aston Publications Explorer. All publications are included in Aston Research Explorer.

Although, monographs, book chapter, working papers and other output types are not explicitly covered by this Policy, authors, where possible, should make them Open Access.

Any digital material that relates to research outputs in any supported format including multimedia should also be included.

Where Research data needs to be made open it should be added to Aston Data Explorer in accordance with the Aston University Open Research Data Management Policy, and Library Services staff will create links between related datasets and publications where that link is apparent.

2.2. What outputs are not included in Aston’s Open Access Policy

Publications where any of the following apply should not be made public, although they may need to be included in Pure for internal purposes. Authors should contact Library Services so to ensure that access is properly restricted:
•    If the material is to be commercialised, i.e. it relates to a patent
•    It contains confidential information
•    Its inclusion would infringe a legal commitment by the University and/or the author

Aston Publications Explorer and Pure focus on research, therefore, university administrative reports and learning and teaching materials are excluded.

 3. HOW ARE OUTPUTS TO BE MADE OPEN ACCESS

3.1. Open Access for Standard Research Outputs 

•    Papers in hybrid journals in transformative agreements

Where Aston has agreements in place with publishers for a single payment covering journal subscriptions and APCs, Library Services will fund that payment and Gold OA will be available to Aston corresponding authors publishing in these titles. All current transformative agreements are listed on the OpenAccess LibGuide

Note that some agreements have yearly consortium or institutional caps and not all article types are included in these deals. It is possible that not all articles will be published as gold open access if the cap is reached or the article type is not eligible. Authors should contact openaccess@aston.ac.uk if there are any questions as to eligibility. Authors taking advantage of these transformative agreements must select a CC BY licence or their request may be denied.

•    Papers in hybrid titles without a transformative agreement

OA requirements for papers in these titles will be met by the Green route only.

•    Papers in gold titles without a transformative agreement

Authors are responsible for paying article processing charges in journals not covered by current deals.

 

3.2. Open Access for UKRI funded publications

Whilst UKRI continues to provide Aston with an APC fund, it will be open to Aston corresponding authors for all APCs offering a CC BY licence (Creative Commons ‘Attribution’) including for hybrid titles. Each APC will be capped at £5000 (inclusive of VAT) to ensure that funds are available to as many RCUK-funded authors as possible.

Papers in Pure Gold OA journals with a CC BY licence

Funding decisions will be made by Library Services after checking funding acknowledgements and research data statements.

Papers in hybrid journals in transformative agreements

Where Aston has agreements in place with publishers for a single payment covering our journal subscriptions and APCs, Library Services will fund that payment and Gold OA will be available to Aston corresponding authors publishing in these titles.

Papers in hybrid titles without a transformative agreement

Library Services will make the funding decisions. However, authors can also be compliant with the UKRI open access policy via the green route (see the policy document here).

4. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES 

In line with the REF Open Access Policy, authors are responsible for depositing the appropriate full text of their publications along with sufficient basic bibliographic metadata so that the publication can be identified within the timescales specified on Aston University Open Access webpages. Library Services will add any additional metadata, copyright statements, and any embargo periods prior to records validation.  The validity and authenticity of the content of submissions is the sole responsibility of the author.

Funded authors must properly acknowledge their funding and be familiar with their funder’s open access policy. Authors should follow the acknowledgement format from their funder, but if no guidance is available, authors must include the funder and grant reference number at a minimum. Authors should also include details on how readers are able to gain access to the underlying research data. Separate guidance available on archiving research data or via researchdata@aston.ac.uk. In all cases, the Library provides operational support to authors to ensure compliant open access publication.

5. DEFINITIONS 

Open Research: Open Research is the practice of researching in such a way that others can collaborate and contribute throughout the research process. Open Research is not limited to STEM subjects; it encompasses all fields and stages of research with the goal of making the results Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR).
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 Data: Making your research data freely available to anyone, anywhere in the world and downloadable without restrictions.
Author’s accepted manuscript: Final, peer-reviewed version of an article, before the publisher’s layout and typesetting is applied; also known as the author’s accepted manuscript or post-print version.
Metadata: Information held as a description of stored data. Typically, the metadata of a publication record is its bibliographic details.

6. RELATED REGULATIONS, STATUTES, AND POLICIES 

Updated 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.

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 on Aston’s Research Data Management LibGuide.

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. Aston University was awarded £67,846 during the period of 1 April 2021 – 31 March 2022, and we will be notified of the 2022 – 2023 allocation by the end of December 2021. Authors with UKRI funding who want to draw on the UKRI Open Access Block Grant to pay article processing charges (APCs) for journal articles should email openaccess@aston.ac.uk prior to submission to check that the journal meets the UKRI open access policy. UKRI will also provide an Open Access Block Grant for long-form publications from 1 January 2024.

*UKRI training grant holders are excluded from the long-form publication open access requirement.

Key dates:

  • Applies to all in-scope journal articles submitted for publication from 1 April 2022
  • Applies to in-scope monographs, book chapters and edited collections published on or after 1 January 2024

Eligible funders: AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, STFC, Innovate UK** and Research England**

**note that this policy only applies to Innovate UK and Research England grants with an open access requirement specified in the terms and conditions of the grant. The UK Space Agency is excluded from this policy and therefore not eligible for funds from the UKRI open access block grant.

How can you comply with the updated UKRI Open Access Policy?

For articles submitted from 1 April 2022, you can meet UKRI’s open access policy through two routes.

Route 1: Gold Open Access for Journal Articles

  • Acknowledge the UKRI grant with funder name and reference number
  • Apply a CC BY licence
  • Include a data access statement
  • Publish in a purely open access journal (see doaj.org)
  • Publish in a hybrid journal that is part of a Jisc negotiated Read & Publish deal (see the Open Access LibGuide for the current list of deals Aston subscribes to)
  • MRC and BBSRC funded articles must be in EPMC/PMC

Route 2: Green Open Access for Journal Articles

  • Acknowledge the UKRI grant with funder name and reference number
  • Apply a CC BY licence
  • Include the UKRI rights statement:
    • ‘For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence (where permitted by UKRI, ‘Open Government Licence’ or ‘Creative Commons Attribution No-derivatives (CC BY-ND) licence may be stated instead) to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising’
  • Include a data access statement
  • Deposit the accepted manuscript in Aston Publications Explorer via Pure

 

For long-form publications published from 1 January 2024, you can meet UKRI’s open access policy through two routes.

Route 1: Gold Open Access for books and chapters 

  • Arrange for a Book Processing Charge (BPC) to be paid to your publisher
  • Acknowledge the UKRI grant with funder name and reference number
  • Apply a CC BY or other Creative Commons licence
  • The final version of record is freely available to view and download

Route 2: Green Open Access for books and chapters

  • Acknowledge the UKRI grant with funder name and reference number
  • Apply a CC BY or other Creative Commons licence
  • Deposit the accepted manuscript in Aston Publications Explorer via Pure, with a maximum 12 month embargo

Please refer to the full policy for exemptions to the open access requirement for long-form publications.

 

Next Steps

We acknowledge that there are some significant changes to the UKRI Open Access policy that will be coming into effect from 1 April 2022 and that there may be concerns around where and how authors can publish their research. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with myself or the Open Research Team by emailing openaccess@aston.ac.uk if you do have any questions regarding this new policy or which journals/publications are eligible.

Further information can be found in the following useful links:

Open Access LibGuide

UKRI Open Research

UKRI ‘Shaping our open access policy

UKRI Open Access policy (from 1 April 2022)

RCUK current policy (up to 31 March 2022)