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Engineering Library: Open Access

Information about the Department of Engineering Library, including information for researchers

Open Access

Open Access is making research results freely available to anyone with an internet connection rather then keeping those results hidden behind a subscription paywall. 

Most major research funders now have a mandate for outputs to be made Open Access. By accepting a research grant, the grant holder is required to provide open access to the publications arising from the funded research.  In addition, publications that wish to be eligible for the next REF assessment exercise also need to be made open access.  Funder open access policies are important for supporting research outputs becoming openly accessible by academic and non-academic audiences.

You can find out more about the University of Cambridge and funder policies on the Open Access website.

Image: Open Access logo

Open Access

What is Open Access?

Open Access is simply making published research results freely available to anyone with an internet connection rather than keeping those results hidden behind a subscription paywall.

Why do it?

Making research articles Open Access is a requirement for most funders and for the Research Excellence Framework, or REF. It also ensures that they are more discoverable, more accessible, and therefore more likely to be cited. 

The Open Access policy landscape in the UK is complex. The University of Cambridge Open Access team can assist researchers with policy compliance and funder requirements. 

What do I need to do?

There are two main routes to open access: Green and Gold.

Green Open Access  is making a version of work (usually an author's accepted manuscript) available in an open access repository. These can be institutional such as Apollo the Cambridge repository or subject based, such as arXivPubMed CentralRePEc or SSRN. Placing work in ResearchGate or is not considered to be green open access. Green Open Access can be considered to be 'secondary Open Access'.

Gold Open Access is free and immediate access at the time of publication. Gold Open Access can be considered to be 'born Open Access'. Fully Open Access journals often (but not always) charge a fee for publication. The Cambridge University Open Access Policy Framework recommends Green Open Access  as the most cost-effective, sustainable way to achieve greater public access to research outputs.

The easiest way to make your articles Open Access is to upload your accepted manuscripts from your Symplectic Elements home page as soon as they're accepted for publication. The University’s Open Access team will then add it to the University Repository for you and advise on any other requirements that might apply.

Where can I find out more?

The Library Team can provide training and one-to-one advice on Open Access, Symplectic Elements and making sure your work is REF-ready. You can also find more information on the University of Cambridge Open Access website.

The video below from the Betty and Gordon Moore Library introduces the key principles of Open Access in one minute.

Open Access video

Research resources

Cambridge Training: 

The University has a strong Researcher Development Programme full of online training, podcasts, 1:1 support, and lots more.

Cambridge University Libraries have created a useful Research Skills Guide to multiple aspects of research.

Learn about research tools with the 23 Research Things online training programme.

Research Support: 

The University Research Strategy Office site has information on research policies.

Information about various tools and sources of support is available from the Research Information Office.

The University's Office of Scholarly Communication (OSC) covers Open Access, Research Data Management and Thesis Management. 

Open Research / Open Access:  

Information about Open Research is available via the OSC.

For queries about Open Access, see the Open Access website.

Research Systems: 

Access your Symplectic Elements account (Raven login required)

Check your details on ResearchFish


See guidance on funding and grant applications from the Research Operations Office (ROO).

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