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QUB Open Access Policy

Open Access Policy


Queen’s is committed to supporting open access for the purposes of preservation, increased dissemination and potential increased impact of research undertaken by University students and staff. The University is committed to ensuring timely and accurate open access to publicly funded research, and supporting public funder mandates for open access to research.

REF Eligibility

The current Open Access Policy for REF states that, in order for a journal article or conference paper to be eligible for REF, the final peer-reviewed accepted manuscript version of the publication must be deposited in an institutional or subject repository within 3 months of acceptance.

Funder Mandates

Most major funding bodies, including UKRI and the Wellcome Trust, have open access mandates. It is the responsibility of authors to ensure they meet funder requirements for open access (e.g. by checking that the selected journal of publication offers an open access option compatible with funder requirements).

The Policy

In support of open access, funder mandates and the Open Access Policy for REF, the Research and Postgraduate Committee and the Research Systems Policy Group have agreed that:

  • Authors must deposit the final accepted manuscript version of all peer-reviewed journal articles, conference papers and book chapters in Pure within 3 months of acceptance
  • Postgraduate research students must upload the final corrected version of their thesis to Pure on award
  • Authors are encouraged to deposit, at the earliest date possible, the final manuscript version of other types of research outputs (e.g. reports and books) in Pure

Where possible, and in line with current copyright legislation and publisher licence restrictions, the final accepted manuscript version of the research publication will be made available open access on the Research Portal.

Any embargo requested by a postgraduate research student in their Thesis Deposit Form will be adhered to. Research publications that contain confidential information, are to be commercialised, or cannot be made open access for other legal reasons, will not be made available on the Research Portal.

Authors uploading research outputs to Pure are encouraged to make use of persistent identifiers (PIDs) such as ORCiD for reasons connected with visibility and to ensure name disambiguation.


From September 2021, the University has adopted an e-only policy towards the submission of postgraduate research student theses. It is now compulsory for all postgraduate research students to make their thesis open access through uploading to Pure.

Print copies of theses are no longer required in most cases. Some doctoral programmes (Thesis by Publication or Higher Awards) will still require submission of print theses to the Library, in addition to electronic versions. However, this will apply to an extremely low number of students for each graduation tranche.

Postgraduate research students are encouraged to make their thesis as open as possible. This is the default position of the University. However, postgraduate research students may apply an embargo to theses for a number of reasons: e.g. to pursue the publication of research, to protect the commercial potential/interests of their work, or to ensure confidentiality or the protection of sensitive material.

In addition, postgraduate research students in receipt of UKRI funding must make their theses open access. The terms and conditions of UKRI Training Grants state that PhD theses funded by UKRI should be made available electronically in the Research Portal, within a maximum of 12 months following award. In cases where an extension to this embargo is required, usually for reasons of publication, an author may need to make a special case with the funder, and document this with the Open Research Librarian.

All postgraduate research students are responsible for undertaking clearance of third party copyright in their dissertations. Where possible, and in line with current copyright legislation and publisher license restrictions, the final corrected version of the thesis will be made available open access on the Research Portal.

In all instances, it is the responsibility of the author to ensure that they meet the open access requirements outlined above.

Support and Guidance

The Library's Open Research Team will work collaboratively with Research and Enterprise to provide support and compliance with this policy.

The Open Research Team is responsible for:

  • Providing open research training and education to authors
  • Verifying and enriching bibliographic data submitted to Pure
  • Managing open access block grants
  • Managing the University's Read and Publish journal agreements
  • Managing the payment of article processing charges (APCs)
  • Providing support and guidance to authors on research funders' open access policies
  • Verifying that the correct manuscript version has been deposited in Pure
  • Applying appropriate embargos, copyright and licence statements
  • Reporting to funders on compliance
  • Reporting on internal and external (e.g. REF) compliance
  • Verifying and enriching datasets submitted to Pure

Research and Enterprise is responsible for:

  • Reporting on internal and external (e.g. REF) compliance
  • Maintaining and developing Pure and the Research Portal 3
  • Providing Pure training

Gold Open Access

The Open Research Team provides the following additional support:

  • Administering block grants from UKRI, the Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK, and the British Heart Foundation to support the cost of paid gold open access
  • Advising Queen’s researchers on how to publish open access with no author fees in journals that are part of a Read and Publish journal agreement
  • Assisting Queen’s researchers in utilising a select number of publisher pre-pay memberships and publisher agreements that either cover the full cost of APCs or provide a discount

Where the author has elected to make the published version of their output available via the gold open access route, the requirements of the Open Access Policy for REF do not apply.


Authors Any member of staff or postgraduate research student at Queen’s who publishes a research output.
Bibliographic details Publication details including authors, title, dates, abstract and PIDs.
Final manuscript version Final manuscript of the publication, after peer review and editing has occurred, but before publication. Usually, a text file, minus the publisher’s typesetting and formatting.
Gold open access Immediate open access in the journal of publication, sometimes incurring an APC.
Green open access The deposit of the final manuscript (post peer-review) version of a research output in an institutional repository or subject repository.
Open access Free and unrestricted online access to research publications.
ORCiD Non-proprietary alphanumeric code to uniquely identify academic research outputs and contributions.
PID A persistent identifier is a long-lasting reference to a document, file, webpage or other object.
Pure The University’s current research information system (CRIS) used for storing information about research activities.
Read and Publish journal agreement In a Read and Publish journal agreement, the open access and subscription costs are combined into a single payment to the publisher so authors do not have to pay any additional fees when publishing open access.
Research Portal  The University’s public facing institutional repository of open access research outputs. 

Policy endorsed by: The Research and Postgraduate Committee and the Research Systems Policy Group.

Policy effective date: 1 November 2014.

Policy updated: 7 April 2022.

Policy review date: 7 April 2023.