Open access

OA (Open Access) aims to make academic research outputs available electronically, immediately, without charge and free from most copyright or licensing restrictions.

OA content is generally published under a Creative Commons licence, e.g. CC BY. This means the creator of the content should still be credited for their work.

OA can be applied to all forms of published research output, including peer-reviewed and non peer-reviewed academic journal articles, conference papers, theses, book chapters, and monographs.

Recent years have seen a major global movement develop to minimise access barriers, encouraged by the opportunities that internet technologies bring.

It is argued that publically funded research should be available, not only to other researchers but also to members of the public. This is being reflected in grant conditions specified by funding bodies, notably the Wellcome Trust and most of the Research Councils in the UK (UKRI). These stipulate that researchers getting grants must make the results freely available in repositories, either discipline based or institutional.

Research England (formerly HEFCE) mandated that from April 2018, only journal articles deposited in repositories no later than 3 months after acceptance would be eligible for REF2021.

Guidance for the next REF is not yet out but is expected to extend this to book outputs.

Research repositories, also known as open archives, may include theses, research papers, conference papers and books. Research articles can be deposited as pre-prints, post-prints or both. These repositories should comply with the OAI-PMH (Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting) protocol so that documents can be located from any internet access point.

The Open Access reading list provides links to the key research repositories. CORE is a useful service aggregating content from many repositories.

Subject repositories are organised around a discipline so will contain research material from a number of different institutions.

The Open Access reading list provides links to the key subject repositories.

Institutional repositories contain research material which will normally have been self-archived by the individual researchers involved, e.g. the University of Bedfordshire repository. Universities across the world are setting up their own repositories so that the output of their researchers can be made available to anyone.

CORE aggregates institutional repositories from around the world, so that you can search them all at once.


If you are a member of UoB staff and you publish an article, book, book chapter, conference article or any other research output, we want to pu it in our repository if possible. 

Please follow the guidance provided on in.beds to set up your account and submit your research to the institutional repository via the University's Research Management System RMAS

If you have any questions or problems contact for help.


Directories exist to facilitate access to all repositories wherever they are based and whatever the subject.

The Open Access reading list provides links to the key directories.

Tools exist in order to search these Open Access repositories. The major examples are provided on the OA reading list.

There are a number of plug-ins (alternatively known as web browser extensions) which you can drag and drop onto your toolbar. These will identify search results where there is an OA full-text available. They are easy to use and work very well with Google Scholar and other large search engines and databases. Click on the links to EndNote Click and Unpaywall to find out more, and to install the browser extensions.

Other than repositories, the main vehicle for reducing the barriers to research results has been the introduction of online open access journals. Unlike the traditional system of financing journals, the costs are not paid by the reader (or their library), so they are free for anyone to read. They are still peer-reviewed and quality-controlled in the same way as traditional journals, and many journals are now hybrid - they have some open access articles, and some that you have to be a subscriber to read, but all go through the same submission process.

Thousands of open access journals are available via DISCOVER and the Library Catalogue and via the reading lists.

Open access books have lagged behind journals but they are increasing. There are open access textbooks and monographs available, and sometimes individual chapters might be made available in repositories.

Links to OA book directories are listed on the reading list. We also make OA books available via DISCOVER and the library catalogue.

Many universities make theses and dissertations freely available and OATD provides a searchable index. You can find the University of Bedfordshire Institutional Repositories on the reading list.

Ethos is the collection of theses held by the British Library.

Wiley OnlineOpen and Springer Compact Open Access (OA) publishing

The University of Bedfordshire is participating in both the Wiley OnlineOpen and Springer Compact Open Access agreements.  This enables academics and researchers to publish in the participating journals at no cost to the author as the Article Processing Charge (APC) is paid for as part of the journal collection subscription paid for by the University.

How to publish Open Access with Wiley OnlineOpen

Read the full details from Wiley

UoB authors can publish OA in 2 ways:

  • In hybrid Wiley journals (branded as OnlineOpen)
  • In fully OA Wiley journals (new agreement announced to include Gold OA journals)


How to publish Open Access with Springer Compact

Read the full details

University of Bedfordshire is participating in the UK Read and Publish (Springer Compact) agreement.  This enables UoB staff and researchers to publish articles open access - at no cost - in more than 1,850 Springer hybrid journals (spreadsheet download).


If you have any further questions or need support submitting your publications, please contact: or or your Academic Liaison Librarian

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