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Open access publication policy


The University has policies and procedures in place to ensure good research practice and to sustain programmes of excellent and ethical research. Policies are also concerned with research quality promoting the highest standards of integrity, impartiality and respect for data. The University is committed to making the outputs of its research as widely available as possible and supports the principles of open access to make the outputs of publicly-funded research available through unrestricted online access.

The aim of the policy is to

  • maximise the visibility of the University's research to a global audience and to generate new research partnerships and collaborations
  • help researchers to disseminate their work as widely as possible and increase usage, citations and impact
  • support compliance with the open access policies of research funders 
  • ensure that there is a central, comprehensive record of all University research outputs for reporting and auditing purposes
  • facilitate the preservation of research outputs

Policy requirements 

  1. Authors must deposit a copy of each research output resulting from research carried out by University researchers into Elements ( Authors may in addition choose to deposit their work in subject repositories relevant to their discipline.
  2. Authors must deposit such a copy into Elements within three months of acceptance by the publisher, which is in line with the REF2021 Open Access Policy.
  3. The principle of depositing a copy of University research into Elements within three months of acceptance applies to all types of outputs irrespective of format.
  4. The deposited copy of the research output should usually be the author's final peer-reviewed version before publication and not the publisher's PDF. Library Services will make the deposited copy publicly available in accordance with the author's agreement with the publisher and with the publisher's Open Access policy.
  5. The University's preference is to follow the green open access route wherever possible but the gold route through the payment of article processing charges (APCs) to publishers is also supported where appropriate. Funds provided by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the University's own Open Access Fund will be used appropriately and strategically to increase the visibility and impact of University publications.
  6. Authors must acknowledge institutional affiliation to Sheffield Hallam University in a standard format in their publications as outlined in the Principles of good research practice for publication & authorship.
  7. Authors must acknowledge sources of funding in their research outputs including grant numbers where applicable.
  8. Authors are encouraged to seek to retain copyright and other reuse rights for their research outputs in any contracts with collaborators, funders and publishers. Authors must be aware of the terms of copyright transfer agreements they sign with publishers and the impact on how their work can be made available and
  9. Authors must apply the most open form of licence which is appropriate to their work to allow re- use. This includes taking into account funder requirements to use specific Creative Commons licences.
  10. Authors must indicate where the underlying research data can be accessed in compliance with the University's research data management
  11. Authors must follow University guidelines on the principles of
  12. A collaboration agreement must be in place with external partners before the start of the research that clearly addresses publication practice in line with funder and/or University
  13. Authors who join the University and who have published research whilst at another UK higher education institute (or research organisation) must deposit copies of all their research from the current REF period in Elements.


The policy and associated procedures apply to all research outputs produced by University staff in the course of their employment and by postgraduate research students for the duration of their studies at the University.

The policy applies to all types of research irrespective of the source of funding but acknowledges that there may be individual conditions/circumstances such as confidentiality or commercial sponsorship which need to be considered before making a work open access.

The open access of research data which underpins research outputs is discussed in the research data management policy.

Governance and infrastructure

  • Policy owner: Pro Vice-Chancellor for research and innovation
  • Operational owner: Director of Library Services
  • Policy coordinator: Head of Library Research Support
  • Monitoring board: Creating Knowledge Pillar Board

Responsibility for implementation 

  • Pro Vice-Chancellor for research and innovation
  • Assistant deans for research and innovation
  • Research centre heads
  • Unit of Assessment co-ordinators

It is the responsibility of individual researchers to ensure that they comply with the policy together with any conditions made by funders with respect to publications in their grant awards.

Open access policies

Further information and guidance

Elements is the University's publications management system which SHU academics use to maintain their research profile such as a list of their publications. Research outputs deposited in Elements will be made available to the public in SHURA. SHURA (Sheffield Hallam University Research Archive) is the University's institutional repository - it contains full-text documents and aims to be a showcase for the research that SHU academics carry out. 

Related Sheffield Hallam University policies

Elements and SHURA are managed by Library Services. Library Services staff advice on licensing issues, check that deposits are compliant with publisher copyright policies and manage funds and processes associated with the payment of article processing charges.

Further information is available from the Library Research Support Team about publishing routes and open access publishing for the REF (

The Research Support Team (Research and Innovation Office) can advise on REF ( and funder terms and conditions ( 


Open access means unrestricted online access to peer reviewed research. Although in practice mainly applied to journal articles, it is also applicable for all types of research outputs in text or non- text format.

Green open access refers to the practice of self-archiving where authors publish in an appropriate publication and then self-archive a version of the article for free public use in their institutional repository.

Gold open access is the term used to describe the situation where authors publish in an open access journal that provides immediate OA to all of its content on the publisher's website (may involve payment of a fee) or where they publish in a hybrid journal which are subscription journals that provide gold open access only for those individual articles for which their authors (or their author's institution or funder) pay an open access publishing fee.

This policy was last updated in January 2019.

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