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Open Access & Institutional Repository: Introduction

Don't miss out, make your research count!

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Open Access Week 2020

Open Access week 2020: open with purpose: taking action to build structural equity and inclusion

International Open Access Week 2020 is 19-25 October.

Open Access refers to free, unrestricted online access to research outputs (such as journal articles, theses and monographs) combined with the right to share and re-use the publication. 

The University of Southampton has a long history of supporting and promoting open access. To celebrate Open Access week we have a new series of posts on our team blog, Research Matters|Southampton

We are also running an online Open Access Q&A drop-in session on Friday 23rd October 12pm-2pmJoin our Teams meeting to talk with us, or type your questions in the chat box: 

Join Microsoft Teams Meeting  

Our Research Engagement Librarians and Institutional Repository (ePrints) team will be available to answer your questions. 

You can also visit our webpages or email for help and guidance throughout the year. 

timeline of open access at the University of Southampton from 2000 (Creation of the EPrints software at the University of Southampton as the first free open access institutional repository software, now a world-leading open-source digital repository platform) to 2020 (we prepare for the REF submission)

Applying for Article Processing Charges (APCs) - UKRI & COAF

If you are funded by a UKRI Council (AHRC, BBSRC, ESRC, EPSRC, MRC, NERC, STFC) you can apply for your Open Access charges to be paid out of a block grant. We will not pay for any extra publication charges. Apply at the point of article submission. Find out more here.

APC Application Form

Contact Us

For help or advice with any Open Access or ePrints Soton query:


How can I find Open Access Material

Unpaywall, OA Button and CORE Discovery (in beta) are all Chrome and Firefox extensions that find legal open access copies of individual articles from both publishers and repositories. You can also paste an article DOI (the unique article identifier) into the OA Button and CORE Discovery search bars. Open Access Helper works the same way for iOS and Safari. Test them out with this article: (the article DOI is 10.1038/s41559-016-0002)

Kopernio: a Chrome extension that finds articles from our library subscriptions and open access versions.

Google: if you find an article that is behind a paywall, try copy & pasting the article title into a search engine. If there is a copy in a repository it will often display on the first page of search results. 

Can’t find what you need?: if you can’t find a legal open access version, use the library interlibrary loan service and we will source a copy, often within 24 hours. Please do not spend your own money, or grant money, on journal articles

Articles can be made open access (OA) on the journal website (gold OA) or via institutional and subject repositories (green OA, often involving an embargo set by the journal publisher). Find out more about how to make your own work open access at

Both Scopus and Web of Science have a filter to select only Open Access articles. They predominantly display articles that are gold OA, not the many thousands of articles that are green OA via repositories and preprint servers. 

See this helpful blog post from the University of Southampton Digital Learning Team for further suggestions for finding copyright-free images.

How open is it?

SPARC ((the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) have created a downloadable guide for evaluating the openness of journals.


Covid-19 Research

Coronavirus (Image by Felipe Esquivel-Reed, CC-BY-SA)

The University, UKRI, as well as multiple funders and all leading publishers have signed Wellcome's statement on 'Sharing research data and findings relevant to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak' which follows the WHO recommendations for sharing research in public health emergencies.

University authors who are conducting research related to Covid-19 are required to:

  • make their research paper available as a pre-print including a clear data statement
  • share interim and final research data relating to the outbreak, together with protocols and standards used to collect the data, as rapidly and widely as possible - including with public health and research communities and the WHO

This means that the interim results underlying papers should be made available but also the final, complete dataset once the project is finished is deposited.

The University's recommendation is that the pre-prints and data are best deposited in disciplinary relevant repositories in preference to ePrints Soton in order to maximise their exposure. The main pre-print servers for health, medicine and the bio sciences include medRxiv, SSRN and bioRxiv. ASAPbio maintain a list of reputable pre-print servers covering all disciples. Relevant subject data repositories can be found by searching

Accepted manuscripts and catalogue records for the datasets held elsewhere should still be deposited in our own institutional repository via Pure.

Researchers should not feel concerned about pre-prints counting as prior publication. All the leading scientific publishers have signed the statement to agree "that data or preprints shared ahead of submission will not preempt its publication in these journals".

Why Should I Make My Research Open Access?

  • Open Access makes your research available to far more people than a subscription-only journal article does. This increases the potential for people to find, access, use and cite your work. There is evidence that this can lead to an increase in citations of your work.

  • Open Access increases the potential for the public to engage with research, which is often paid for out of tax payer's money.

  • Your funding body may have a mandate which requires you to make your research available in an Open Access source.

  • The University of Southampton has a Open Access Policy which requires you to upload a version of your article into our institutional repository where possible.

  • REF2021 policy states that, to be eligible for submission to the REF2021, authors’ final peer-reviewed manuscripts (journal articles and conference proceedings) must have been deposited in an institutional or subject repository on acceptance for publication. This policy applies to research outputs accepted for publication after 1 April 2016.
  • Both publicity and manuscript embargoes can be handled in Pure without conflict between REF requirements and publishers’ restrictions, for more information see the box called, 'Dealing with press and publicity restrictions' at