Quick guide

Complying with open access policies

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Where to start with meeting and demonstrating compliance with the range of different requirements from funders.

The issue

Most major research funders now have a requirement for outputs to be made open access (OA). In addition, publications that wish to be eligible for the next REF funding exercise also need to be made open access.

The challenge for institutions is to meet and demonstrate compliance with the range of different requirements from funders.

Institutions must also ensure that the publishers’ requirements are met, which may sometimes conflict with the requirements of funders.

What you can do

Find out more about policies

Sherpa Juliet lists funder policies from over 150 funders around the world, while Sherpa Romeo lists publishers’ policies on what OA options are available to their authors, and under what terms. Our guide to Creative Commons explains the various licenses available.

Comply with your funder’s policy

You can find out whether a specific journal complies with a funder’s OA policy, and what action needs to be taken, by using Sherpa Fact (Funders and Authors Compliance Tool).

For support with meeting the OA requirements of H2020-funded research, contact the National Open Access Helpdesk.

Streamline workflows and processes

Implementing and reporting on policy compliance effectively requires an institution-wide approach. You may wish to baseline your current position on open access in order to identify areas to improve, streamline workflows through process mapping or implement a responsibility matrix.

Systems can also be adapted to help report on compliance. To help ensure your systems are equipped with the required fields, you can implement the RIOXX metadata profile using the Jisc plug-ins or by the add-ins provided by your system vendor.

Our publications router service can pass metadata and/or full-text papers from journals (and other sources) to institutional systems such as repositories. Its current priority is to do this within three months of acceptance, to help universities comply with the REF OA policy.

Develop and promote an institutional policy

An institutional open access policy can give clear guidance on purpose and procedure for your staff. You can browse existing institutional policies on ROARmap.

Consider using the open access policy schema when developing your policy. This aims to encourage policy makers worldwide to express their policies in a consistent way, in order to make compliance easier.

Provide guidance to staff

Whatever processes and systems you use to ensure compliance, it is vital to ensure appropriate support for staff involved in different stages of the process. Pathfinder projects (involving 30 universities plus a wider community of practice) from our OA good practice work have produced a range of advocacy resources which you can use.

This guide is made available under Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-ND).