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Frequently asked questions

Answers to frequently asked questions about open access (OA) publishing with further details about relevant terminology and available funding. 

These FAQs will be updated soon to reflect the move from Nottingham ePrints to the Research Information System (RIS) as the University’s new outputs and research repository. In the meantime, please refer to the Depositing your article page for more information on using RIS.

30 July 2018


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When was open access implemented as a matter of policy?

There are three sets of open access (OA) policies to be considered: those of the University of Nottingham, Research England (formerly HEFCE), and funders (e.g. UKRI, COAF).

The University of Nottingham's open access policy was revised in January 2014, in line with developments in UKRI (formerly RCUK), REF and EU requirements. All academic staff are required to make their research outputs open access wherever possible through the University repository.

The UKRI OA policy has been in effect since April 2013, and the REF OA policy directly affects journal articles and conference proceedings published after 1 April 2016.


What steps should I take to deposit my article?

You can deposit manually or use the Mediated Deposit Service offered by the Library. You can find more information and guides on our Deposit your article page.


Must the final peer-reviewed work be submitted to the repository?

Yes. The author’s final, accepted manuscript should be submitted to the University repository. This is referred to as the Author's Accepted Manuscript (AAM).

Please note: the accepted manuscript is not the same as the copy-edited, typeset or published paper – these versions are known as ‘proofs’ or ‘versions of record’ and publishers do not normally allow authors to make these open-access.


What is an Author's Accepted Manuscript?

The Author's Accepted Manuscript (AAM) is the post-peer review version of a manuscript that has been accepted for publication. This is usually before the publisher has done the final editing and typesetting ( 


When should I deposit into the University repository?

The REF policy says that outputs must be deposited within 3 months of acceptance for publication and the University encourages you to adopt deposit-on-acceptance practices. The REF Open Access FAQs cover this in more detail in points 4.1, 4.2, 4.5, 4.6, 4.7.

If you find yourself unable to establish a date of acceptance based on correspondence you have received, please contact your publisher to verify this.


My papers are in an external repository e.g. arXiv, PhilPapers. Do I still need to deposit my paper in the University repository?

Yes. The University of Nottingham open access policy states that all papers should be deposited in the University repository where allowable by copyright. The REF OA policy also strongly encourages this to happen, even where deposit in a subject repository also takes place.


My papers are on / ResearchGate. Do I need to deposit in the University repository?

Yes. Papers should also be deposited in the University repository to ensure eligibility for REF and compliance with the University's open access policy. 


What subject repositories meet the requirements of the REF policy?

More information is available in point 8.3 of the REF Open Access FAQs.

Research England (formerly HEFCE) have confirmed that subject repositories do not need to be REF unit of assessment specific and can be broader e.g. SSRN (Social Sciences Research Network), however, all outputs should be deposited in the University repository to ensure eligibility for REF and compliance with the University's open access policy.


How will the University support me if a publisher says I have infringed their copyright using the University repository?

The University has an immediate take down policy that comes into effect in the event of a publisher claiming there is a copyright infringement. The Library’s deposit review process should ensure no infringements occur.


How can I check the copyright status of my article before I deposit?

You can check your journal’s open access policy, including copyright information, using SHERPA/RoMEO.

If your article is already accepted for publication, you can also check the copyright transfer agreement (or equivalent) from your publisher.

If your publisher has not provided this information, and the journal does not feature on SHERPA/RoMEO, please contact them and ask for written permission for deposit. You will need to supply this permission at the time of deposit.


Can I deposit unpublished manuscripts into the University repository?

Yes, the University repository accepts unpublished manuscripts, including working papers and journal articles prior to publication in a journal (sometimes known as pre-prints). You should check SHERPA/RoMEO to verify whether your publisher's copyright rules permit deposit of these.

If your article has already been accepted by a journal, you can use the mediated deposit service. For other items, please use the self-deposit option. For the item type, select 'article' if you have already submitted the item to a specific journal. If you have not or are not intending to publish the item elsewhere, select 'monograph' and choose the most appropriate sub-category (e.g. technical report, working paper etc.).

Please note that a pre-print version of an article does not meet the criteria for REF eligibility that are set out in the REF open access policy. The Author's Accepted Manuscript (or, subject to publisher copyright rules, the final version of record) must be deposited in order to secure REF eligibility.


I am already sharing my papers openly on my own website. Does this meet the REF open access requirement?

No. Papers should also be deposited in the University repository to ensure compliance with the REF and University open access policies.


Can I deposit outputs other than journal articles and conference proceedings in the University repository?

Yes - in fact the REF OA policy explicitly encourages this. You can deposit a wide of range of outputs in the University repository, including monographs, book chapters and compositions.


Can I deposit data in the University repository?

The University repository is designed for the deposit of research outputs, rather than the underlying data. The University provides a separate repository for data, the Nottingham Research Data Management Repository (RDMC).


I would like to make a chapter open access but I am unsure what I am contractually able to do?

Informal sources of information about publisher policies on deposit of book chapters are only now becoming available. For example, the University of Cambridge makes a spreadsheet of publisher policies available here. You are advised also to check with your publisher for clarification, and, if necessary, permission.


The journal I have published in is against open access. Is my paper ineligible for the future REF?

The REF OA policy has listed scenarios where there may be exceptions to making your output open access. If the journal you have published in does not allow open access but was the most appropriate venue for your publication then this may give rise to an acceptable exception. However, these exceptions should be rare and should not be used to avoid open access requirements. 


If the co-authors are based in other UK institutions, can I still deposit in the University repository?
Yes, depositing your article in the University repository does not count as part of the publication process. Also, it acts as an additional precaution against missing the deposit deadlines introduced by OA policies. You do not need co-author's permission before depositing into the University repository. 

What outputs do I need to make open access?

The University of Nottingham's open access policy states that all research papers, including journal articles, conference proceedings and book chapters, must be made open access, where copyright allows, through the University repository. The University supports both the green and gold approach to open access.

The REF open access policy states that any article or conference proceeding accepted for publication after the 1 April 2016 must be made open access to be eligible for submission to the next REF.

Funder policies vary. SHERPA/JULIET is a database detailing funders' policies on gold and green OA.

Our Policies webpages provide further details about which outputs should be made OA.


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What are the requirements for discovery of my publication?
Essential information associated with discovery requirements, including copyright licenses can be found on our dedicated webpage:

What is a Creative Commons licence?

Creative Commons are a range of licences designed to help you in sharing your work. They determine how your work can be used by others, whilst still requiring your original work to be credited. The licence by which you publish your work open access is a decision you will need to make, although some funders and journals may mandate a specific licence.

For further information and examples of use please visit Creative Commons.


What is CC-BY?

This licence lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you.


What is CC-BY-NC?

This licence lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially.


What is CC-BY-ND?

This licence allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.


What is CC-BY-NC-ND?

This licence allows others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.


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What is an embargo period?
During an embargo, access to the full-text version of the article is only available via subscription to the journal. The bibliographic details of the deposited article are discoverable in the University repository.

Can I set an embargo period in the University repository?

Yes. When you upload your document, click ‘Show Options’ and you can enter an embargo end date and set the item to be visible to repository staff only. Please consult the guide to depositing in Nottingham ePrints at


I don't know the future date of publication by the deadline for deposit (i.e. within three months of acceptance). How do I set the necessary embargo?

If you do not know your publication date, please upload your document to the University repository and select it to be visible to ‘Repository Staff Only’.

Once the item has been published, it is vital that you email including a link to the published version of your output (and if possible a link to the record of your output in ePrints). This will enable us to add the correct embargo end date. 


What happens at the end of an embargo?
The embargo is lifted automatically, releasing the deposited version for public access.

Can my output be closed access in the University repository?

Yes. To do this, set your item to be visible to repository staff only when you deposit it in the University repository. The full text will not be publicly available but the details of your output will be discoverable.


Why does the University of Nottingham ask for deposit of outputs as PDFs when the REF open access policy says some variants of PDF are not comprehensible to text mining? 

The University requires PDFs to be deposited in the University repository in order to facilitate storage, effective curation and long term availability of the item.


Does the University repository support text mining?

Yes. Where items are deposited in an appropriate PDF format, their contents can be text-mined.



Can I make my publication gold open access after it has already been published?
Retrospective gold open access is making an article available under open access after publication. Once your manuscript is published, the copyright ownership of the output is signed over to the publisher. Therefore you will need to check with your journal or publisher for their policy.

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Is the date of acceptance a mandatory field in the University repository?

Yes, the date of acceptance is required for all publications deposited in the Universtiy repository.  


What is the correct date of publication for a conference proceeding?
The date of publication will be the date that the conference proceeding was published. Prior to this, the date of acceptance is when the proceeding has been peer-reviewed and the author has received confirmation that it will be published.

How many fields do I need to fill in on Nottingham ePrints when I deposit?

You need to fill in all the mandatory fields for your item type in ePrints to make a deposit. If you have the necessary information stored in reference manager software, then Nottingham ePrints will allow you to import this information automatically.


Does Nottingham ePrints provide usage metrics?

Yes, the University is a member of IRUS-UK. Download statistics from March 2015 onwards are available by logging on to the portal at with your University login details.


May I import my articles from reference management software (e.g. Endnote, Mendeley, Bibtex) into Nottingham ePrints?

Yes. Nottingham ePrints supports import of bibliographic details directly from specific reference management software. Please select from the drop down menu on ‘Manage deposits’ in ePrints. Please note that import from Mendeley is not yet fully supported.


How do other researchers find my papers in the University repository?

Other researchers can find work which you have deposited in Nottingham ePrints via Google and other search engines; by searching or browsing the Nottingham ePrints interface; or via other services such as BASE, which harvest the data.

Outputs within the University repository are accessible via NUSearch, our Library catalogue and discovery tool.


How do you replace the final peer reviewed draft with the publisher version of record once you have paid for gold?

Once you have the final version, please send an email to with a copy of the PDF and a link to the published version, requesting substitution of the PDF



I have already deposited my paper in the University repository. I now have an updated version and would like this to be deposited instead. Is this possible?
Yes. Please submit your updated version to, to prompt the Library to replace the existing version. The original deposit date will be retained. Please note there is no option for you to deposit a fresh copy yourself as that would create a duplicate record. 


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Gold Open Access

What is an Article Processing Charge (APC)?

An Article Processing Charge (APC) is the fee payable to hybrid and pure OA journals to make your article open access.


Will the University pay the publisher fee for gold open access to my article?

The University receives block grants from UKRI (formerly RCUK) and the Charity Open Access Fund (COAF) for this purpose.

If your research is funded by UKRI or one of the COAF funders the funding is centrally available for you to publish gold open access.

If you are not eligible for the block grants, you will need to obtain a project code from your School or Research Group. 


Can I pay for gold OA through the prepayment schemes the University has with certain publishers?

The University's prepayment accounts are paid for through the block grants from UKRI (formerly RCUK) and the Charity Open Access Fund. They offer a discount on APCs, and the rest of the charge will need to be covered by either the block grants or a project code from your school. 

Please see above for further information.


Does it matter how I acknowledge funding in my paper?

In order to be compliant with UKRI (formerly RCUK) and COAF funding policies, you must ensure that the acknowledgement format is consistent with that outlined in the RIN guidance. This supports data and text mining to monitor compliance and track UKRI and COAF funded outputs. 

See our making your publications count page for further help.


I am an associate staff member. Am I eligible to make use of the block grants and / or prepayment accounts for my publication?
Eligible staff members will have a valid contract with the University of Nottingham. Casual workers such as teaching affiliates, although known as 'associate staff', must have a valid contract with the University, not just a letter of assignment. Fixed-term contract holders are considered associates and hold a valid contract, so are eligible. The contract should be with the University of Nottingham and external entities, such as research partners, QMC, NUH-NHS or other universities do not meet this description.


Can PhD students access the block grants?
Yes. Current and former PhD students who have been funded by UKRI (formerly RCUK) or COAF are eligible to apply to the block grants in relation to outputs that result from research carried out whilst studying at the University.


I've gone for gold open access. Do I have to deposit in the University repository?

Yes. Please note: if you processed the funding using the OA funding application form sent to us together with the accepted version of your manuscript, the Mediated Deposit Team will have already deposited the article on your behalf. You can replace the accepted version with the publisher's version if copyright allows. 


Are extra fees associated with publishing, such as submission or publication fees, able to be charged to the APC block grants?
Some publishers may impose charges relating to the publication process, such as extra page(s) and colour charges, that are in addition to the APC. However, the block grants provided to the University are primarily intended to cover only the fees directly associated with the process of making a publication available via gold OA. 

How do I apply for funding?

It is the author's responsibility to arrange with the publisher to submit their gold open access invoice to the University. Upon your paper's acceptance, please fill in the form available on our Requesting open access funding page and return it to us together with your Author's Accepted Manuscript. 


I have the funds to cover the costs of open access publishing in my research budget. Is there an additional form I need to complete prior to publication?

Please complete an OA funding application form (see above) and send it to along with a copy of the Author's Accepted Manuscript, for deposit into the University repository.


My publisher requires billing information for OA costs. What billing address do I provide?

The billing address that you should provide to your publisher is: Open Access Administrator, Research and Innovation, The University of Nottingham, East Atrium, Jubilee Conference Centre, Triumph Road, Nottingham, NG8 1DH.

Research and Innovation process the APC payments, so you may want to contact them to confirm that your invoice was received. Their email address is


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