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What is Open Access?

The open and free availability of research outputs to anyone at point of access. Open access material is more frequently published as peer-reviewed journal articles and conference papers, but can also include monographs, book chapters, theses and research data.

What are the benefits of Open Access?
Researchers who provide open access to their research publications benefit from the wider dissemination of their research resulting in more downloads, higher citation rates and greater impact.

Green route to Open Access
The University has adopted the Green Route to open access (unless there is a requirement from the project funder to use the Gold Route.)  Authors can publish in any journal but should self-archive the accepted and final peer reviewed text in the university’s institutional repository (Bucks Knowledge Archive).

The Bucks Knowledge Archive

The Bucks Knowledge Archive (BKA) is a digital repository of research output from Bucks New University.

Creative Commons and Copyright

Authors typically sign copyright transfer agreements with publishers when their papers are accepted for publication. By doing this they may in many cases forgo some rights in their work, eg the right to distribute the work in the form of the publisher's pdf even to restricted groups of students. However they usually retain the right to make available, or distribute, their author final draft copy (often known as a postprint). It is useful to make sure to retain this version when you have completed submission/publication of your article.

Grant a licence of your copyright to a journal instead of assigning copyright
Authors of journal articles sign 'assignment of copyright' forms when their articles are accepted. Where publishers have very restrictive policies it is possible to amend the agreement, or add an addendum before signing.

The JISC SURF Licence to Publish, which was developed in consultation with the Wellcome Trust, provides a way of doing this.

The Sparc  (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) web site also provides advice on adding an addendum.

Creative Commons licences provide a simple standardized way to give permission to share and use work under certain conditions. They are not an alternative to copyright, but work alongside copyright and enable authors to modify copyright terms to best suit their needs.

CC BY lets others modify, build upon and/or distribute the licensed work (including for commercial purposes) as long as the original author is credited.

CC BY-NC lets others copy, distribute, display, perform, and modify and use your work for any purpose other than commercially unless they get your permission first.

CC BY-NC-ND lets others copy, distribute, display and perform only original copies of your work. If they want to modify your work, they must get your permission first.

Research Councils UK and the Wellcome Trust have stipulated that they require any Open Access articles published on payment of an APC, in fully OA or hybrid journals, to be available under the Creative Commons CC-BY licence. For Green open access articles in repositories they will accept the CC-BY-NC which does not allow commercial use.

What can I upload?

Different types of output that can be uploaded to the BKA include:

  • Journal articles
  • Book chapters
  • Conference presentations
  • Reports
  • Theses
  • Exhibition catalogues
  • Video
  • Music
  • Digital games

What version can be uploaded?
The copyright of unpublished material resides always with the author, unless special
agreements have been set up with a funding body or sponsor.
If you’re about to publish your work with a publisher you may also wish to deposit your work in the
Bucks Knowledge Archive.  Most publishers allow a preprint version (the author’s version of the article before peer review) to be uploaded.

Many publishers will also accept a postprint version, which is the author’s version incorporating amendments from referees and is the version accepted for publication prior to formatting by the publisher.

A small number of publishers allow the final published version to be uploaded.

For further details on individual publisher’s copyright policies, staff are encouraged to utilise the SHERPA/RoMEO website:

Open Access requirements for the REF

HEFCE Policy
HEFCE have published specific open access requirements for the next Research Excellence Framework Exercise:

All journal articles should be deposited in our institutional repository, the Bucks Knowledge Archive, within 3 months of the date of ‘acceptance’ (as in acceptance letter or email).

The article is deposited as the final, peer-reviewed text (as a minimum).

The deposited output in the BKA can be later replaced or augmented with a final version of the manuscript if agreements permit.

Where a journal specifies an embargo period, compliance with HEFCE policy can be achieved by making a ‘closed’ deposit on acceptance.  These are locked and made freely available after an embargo period of no more than 12 months for REF panels A and B, or 24 months in the case of REF panels C and D.

What do I need to do to ensure my articles are REF compliant?

1. As soon as your article is ‘accepted’ for publication, and BEFORE you sign a publisher’s Copyright Transfer Agreement, send the final peer reviewed text and journal details to:
2. The library team will check the publisher’s model for licensing copyright.  Many Copyright Transfer Agreements already allow you to comply with HEFCE policy, but some affect how and when you can make your article Open Access. 
3. You may be able to use the publisher’s standard agreement or you may need to negotiate an amendment with an addendum to cover digital use.

Contact us

An email account has been specifically set up to:

  • Provide support for staff to comply with HEFCE requirements for the REF: authors should forward their journal article acceptance emails to this account as well as their pre-prints as appropriate
  • Provide support for issues relating to copyright requirements
  • Provide a means for authors to deposit outputs on the Bucks Knowledge Archive where they are unsure of how to go about this themselves

Staff are encouraged to utilise the SHERPA/RoMEO website,, to find details of permissions given as part of each publisher’s copyright transfer agreement.

The University’s Open Access Policy is available here.


What is the Gold Route?
Research outputs are openly available on the publisher’s website. This may involve an article processing charge (APC).

What is the Green Route?
Research outputs are available on the BKA. There are no publisher’s charges, but there may be an embargo period.  The version that can be uploaded to the BKA is often the author’s final manuscript post refereeing, but can be a pre-print or the final published version depending on the publisher’s policy.

What is an institutional repository?
An institutional repository is a digital tool which enables an institution to store, preserve and disseminate its intellectual output online.  At Bucks New University, this is called the Bucks Knowledge Archive.