Library and Learning Services

Open Access Policy


The University has long recognized the potential of Open Access to increase the visibility of and access to its research findings, first adopting a policy on Open Access to research publications from 1 January 2006.

The University regards Open Access as being integral to research excellence and the sharing and creation of new knowledge. It wishes all its research to be as widely and freely accessible as possible. Open Access benefits both individual researchers and the University by maximizing the potential audience for and citations of research.

This document replaces the Open Access policy of 2006 to take account of changes in the requirements of research funders and to realize the greater opportunities for Open Access which now exist.

The policy applies to all research outputs authored or created or co-authored or co-created, by employees of the University; this includes research students where they are also employees of the University. It complements and does not override the Open Access requirements of research funders as they apply to their funded research. In particular, it meets the Open Access requirements of UK Research Institutes (UKRI) with which all authors must comply in order for their outputs to be eligible for consideration for the national Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Research students are encouraged to make their outputs available on an Open Access basis. Open Access to theses awarded by the University is required by Senate Regulation 9.204.

There is a related set of principles for the management of research data which includes principles for Open Access to data.


Open Access: unrestricted, online access to the published findings of research.

Gold Open Access: The publication is available to anyone to read without charge immediately on publication; the author pays an article processing charge (APC) to the publisher and a copy of the author’s final, peer reviewed manuscript or final published paper is available from the Leicester Research Archive immediately.

Green Open Access: The publication is only available to subscribers within an embargo period set by the publisher; after expiry of the embargo period access is free to anyone and a copy of the author’s final, peer reviewed manuscript is available from the Leicester Research Archive.

Research outputs: Research publications (journal articles, conference proceedings, books, monographs, etc.) and research data (any material created or collected for the purposes of analysis to generate and validate original research results).

Leicester Research Archive (LRA): The University’s institutional repository of research publications, theses and data which are freely available online.

Integrated Research Information System (IRIS): The University’s internal system for recording details of the research publications, research grants and other research activities of research active University employees.

Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND licence: A widely used licence which permits the reader of an item to make and share copies of that item provided the author is attributed (BY), the use is non-commercial (NC) and the item is not altered (ND).

Creative Commons CC-BY licence: A widely used licence which permits the reader of an item to make, share and derive derivatives from copies of that item for any purpose provided the author is attributed (BY).

Date of acceptance for publication: The date the author’s final, peer reviewed manuscript was accepted for publication and after which no further changes to the content were made by the author.


General requirements

The University believes that Open Access to research outputs benefits its research, individual researchers and research in general by increasing opportunities for new research and collaborations.

The University requires its employees to make their research outputs Open Access in accordance with publishers’ requirements and any legal or other restrictions which may apply in specific cases.

The choice of where and how to publish is the author(s) but consideration must be given to the Open Access options available from the publisher in making that choice.

The minimum acceptable compliance for research publications with this policy is:

  • For journal articles and published conference proceedings, basic bibliographic details to include the date of acceptance by the publisher and a copy of the final peer reviewed manuscript must be added to IRIS within 3 months of acceptance of publication;
  • The author’s final peer reviewed manuscript and, where practicable, the publisher’s version of record, must be available in Open Access form;
  • For all other publications, basic bibliographic details to include the date of acceptance by the publisher must be created in IRIS within three months of acceptance of publication; inclusion of a copy of the final peer reviewed manuscript is highly desirable.

When depositing the final peer reviewed manuscript in IRIS, authors must grant the University the default licence presented as a minimum which includes the terms of a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND licence for readers’ use of the manuscript.

University employees must comply with any Open Access requirements of their research funder which exceed those required by this policy. Amongst these requirements, authors should note that where UK Research Councils’ funding is used to pay for Gold Open Access article publishing charges, they must ensure that the publisher makes the article available under a CC-BY licence.

Compliance with this policy is essential to support the research mission of the University and the careers of individual researchers and is, therefore, considered as part of staff reviews and promotions.

New University employees must provide information about their research publications in IRIS within two months of their start date.

Students are welcome but not required to use the LRA for their peer-reviewed outputs.


Green Open Access is preferred to Gold Open Access unless the cost of Gold Open Access is justified to meet a business need or objective of a particular research project or the requirements of the relevant research funder.

The costs of Gold Open Access must be covered by the research funder – either by including the cost in research project budgets or charging the article processing charge to the Open Access fund provided to the University by the funder for the purpose.

The University pays for Gold Open Access charges as provided for by funders normally only where the corresponding author is a University of Leicester employee.

Research data

Principles relating to Open Access to research data are outlined in a separate set of research data management principles.
Support & services

The University Library will provide an Open Access service to inform and advise authors about their options and publishers’ and funders’ requirements, to administer any University funds available to pay for Gold Open Access and to manage and develop the LRA in support of Open Access.

Final peer reviewed manuscripts will be made available by the University Library from the LRA in compliance with publishers’ requirements.

The University Library will implement and support an Open Access publishing platform for online journals which are created and managed by University departments or research centres.

University IT Services will provide technical support for the LRA, the technical integration required between IRIS and the LRA to share information about research outputs and technical support for the University’s Open Access journal publishing platform.

Agreed by the University Research Policy Committee, 25 June 2015 (Review date 2022)

Back to top