SOAS University of London

Research Office

Open Access

The The Framework for Open Access Publication (pdf; 70kb)   was approved on 21st October 2015. The framework sets out the expectations of academic and other members of staff for engaging with and supporting Open Access publication at SOAS. It also reflects the expectations of HEFCE for Open Access publication for the next REF. It is anticipated that adherence to this framework should have significant benefits for staff in terms of the visibility of their research and the extent to which it is cited, as well as maximizing the impact of the School’s research on Scholarly debate, knowledge and understanding.

In keeping with our mission and values, SOAS supports the principle of Open Access to ensure that as far as possible our research can be freely accessed by anyone in the world via the internet and used without restrictions for research, teaching and other purposes.

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Five steps to REF Open Access compliance - Watch this video to find out the essentials of the policy in 3 minutes

  • Why does Open Access matter to me?
    • Open access increases the visibility of your research. It ensures that your research is accessible to anyone able to use the internet, rather than just those who have access to journals through paid subscriptions, This means that important audiences outside the Higher Education community in the UK can freely benefit from and use your research for example: NGOs; policy makers; the media; high school students interested in your work and students and researchers in developing countries.
    • Open Access forms an important part of new modes of scholarly communication and will continue to do so.
    • Many research funders support and mandate Open Access such as the RCUK and Horizon2020 and it is therefore an important element of both your funding applications and published outputs resulting from funded projects.
    • The HEFCE Open Access requirements for the next REF means that Open Access has become an essential part of the research cycle in every UK Higher Education Institution.
  • How can I make my publications Open Access?

    Immediate (Gold) Open Access very often involves the payment of an Article Processing Charge (APC) to publishers, for either publication in an Open Access Journal or Hybrid Journal (traditional subscription journals with a paid Open Access option). This means that Journals charge the researcher/institution for publishing rather than charging researchers/institutions for access. However SOAS can only provide central funds for immediate Open Access publication for RCUK funded researchers who are eligible for use of the RCUK Block Grant (see below).

    However SOAS fully supports Delayed (Green) Open Access through its Institutional Repository SOAS Research Online. This allows SOAS researchers to make their research Open Access (within copyright and publisher agreements) free of charge. In most cases publishers will only allow final peer-reviewed drafts (Author’s Accepted Manuscript) of publications to be made available Open Access and after a set embargo period. This model is now well established within journal publishing and the policies and embargo periods of Journal publishers are searchable via the SHERPA-RoMEO database. Delayed (Green) Open Access is less established within book publishing but publishers will often allow it for drafts of book chapters if permission is sought.
    Helen Porter in the Library can advise you about journal and book publisher policies and how to deposit in SOAS Research Online.

  • What are the Open Access requirements for RCUK funded researchers and how can I access RCUK funding for Open Access?
    RCUK and Open Access

    Below is a summary of the RCUK expectations. We will be in touch during and towards the end of your research project to advise and support you with these requirements!

    • RCUK expects Open Access of journal articles or conference proceedings no later than 24 months after first online publication for outputs in the Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences.
    • Open Access within the requirements can be achieved by either paying an APC for immediate Open Access OR by depositing the Accepted Version of your journal articles or conference proceedings in SOAS Research Online.
    • To meet the RCUK policy, journal articles or conference proceedings published as a result of funding must acknowledge the appropriate body (e.g. AHRC or ESRC).
    • Journal articles published and conference proceedings published using the RCUK Block Grant must be made Open Access with a CC-BY License. These licenses are selected when you publish in a Journal using an APC.
    • The records for RCUK funded publication outputs added to SOAS Research Online should include details of the funding body and research project in the metadata fields you add.
    Applying for the use of RCUK funds to pay an APC for immediate Open Access

    SOAS is issued with a block grant to enable RCUK funded researchers to pay APCs for immediate Open Access in traditional subscription or purely Open Access journals. You are eligible to make an application receive funds from the SOAS block grant if any of the following statements apply to you:

    • You hold an RCUK-funded research grant that is active at the time you’re making the application.
    • You held a RCUK-funded research grant that ended no more than 2 years prior to the application.
    • Your are publishing with an RCUK-funded PhD student who is registered at SOAS or who completed a PhD at SOAS not more that 2 years prior to the application.
    • You are publishing in a Journal that supports the allocation of the Creative Commons ‘Attribution’ license (CC-BY) and you ensure you select this prior to publication.
    • Your article will include details of the funding body that supported the research and, if applicable, a statement on how the underlying research materials such as research data can be accessed,

    Please submit our online RCUK Block Grant Application Form (this will open in a new window).

    Please refer to the RCUK Open Access Policy for full information. Contact us for help and advice at any stage of the RCUK funding process.

  • What are the Open Access policies of other funding bodies?

    Funders often have a mixed approach to Open Access. SHERPA-JULIET a databases that summarizes the policies of research funders.

    Please get in touch if you would like us to check or clarify funder Open Access policies for you. We can also help you with including Open Access in your funding application (some funders allow costs for APC payments to be included in the budget) or ensuring your published outputs from a funded award are published Open Access.

    Please email for help and advice.

  • What do I need to do to meet the Open Access requirements for the next REF?
    Key points of the Policy

    The next REF requires that any journal article or conference proceeding with an ISSN, accepted for publication after 1st April 2016:

    1) must be added to an institutional or subject repository within three months of being accepted for publication (SOAS requires deposit in SOAS Research Online in the first instance).

    2) must be added as the final peer-reviewed text before copy-editing or formatting by publishers (Accepted Version / Author’s Accepted Manuscript)

    3) are made available Open Access in SOAS Research Online according to publisher policies / embargo periods and no later than 24 months after first online publication (for REF main panels C and D)

     Please see HEFCE’s Full Open Access Policy for full details.

    What do I need to do and how can I get support?

    1) Before you submit your journal articles or conference proceedings check your publisher’s Open Access policy meets the REF requirements.

    • Simply email us and we will check the policies of your target journals for you. We will help you to contact journals who may not have a clear Open Access policy and we will advise you what to do if your chosen journal doesn’t meet HEFCE’s requirements.

    2) As soon as your journal article is accepted for publication either email us or add a record to SOAS Research Online including an MS Word version of the final peer-reviewed draft of your article (Accepted Version / Author’s Accepted Manuscript).

    • We will ensure the record in SOAS Research Online includes all required metadata, add any required publisher statements to your Accepted Version and format them for deposit, and apply a Creative Commons License (CC-BY-NC-ND) as stipulated by HEFCE.

    3) Notify us when your article has been first published online - either send us an email or update your record in SOAS Research Online.

    • We will update the SOAS Research Online record with full publication details and set any required embargo periods so that your article becomes Open Access automatically.

    4) Request an exception to the policy at the appropriate time using our online exceptions form. Occasionally it will not be possible for an output to fulfil the criteria of the Open Access Policy and in this case it is important that an exception is recorded correctly, at the appropriate time and in consultation with your Research Coordinator. (Please see further details on exceptions below).

    • We will advise you when you may need to register an exception and also coordinate the request process within SOAS and record any exceptions in SOAS Research Online.

    5) Keep an eye out for emails and notification in the SOAS Bulletin

    • We will be sending out reminder emails once a month to help ensure you deposit your articles and conference proceedings within 3 months of acceptance.

    Get in touch - just email at any point in the publication process for help, support and guidance.

    Exceptions to the HEFCE Open Access Policy

    HEFCE divides exceptions into Deposit, Access and Technical exceptions. SOAS has divided the exceptions into Section A and Section B for record keeping and also to enable us to assist researchers with exceptions at the appropriate point. Please refer to Please refer to HEFCEs FAQs on exceptions for further information.

    It is expected that the below cases should be extremely rare.

    SECTION A: Researchers are required to fill in the Exceptions Request Form BEFORE submitting their articles

    • Output depends on third party content for which open access rights could not be granted (Accepted Version still needs to be deposited within 3 months but placed on closed access)
    • The publication concerned requires an embargo period that exceeds the stated maxima, and was the most appropriate for the output (Accepted Version still needs to be deposited within 3 months and embargo period set)
    • The publication concerned actively disallows open-access deposit, and was the most appropriate for the output (Accepted Version still needs to be deposited within 3 months but placed on closed access)
    • It would be unlawful, or present a security risk, to deposit the output (Item does not need to be deposited)

    SECTION B: Researchers should fill in the Exceptions Request Form AS SOON AS POSSIBLE either after joining SOAS as a new staff member or if they had one of the problems listed above.

    Researchers should also deposit their Accepted Versions as soon as possible in SOAS Research Online if they experienced any of the following circumstances.

    • Individual was not employed by a UK HEI at the point of acceptance
    • Individual was unable to secure the use of a repository
    • Individual experienced a delay securing the final peer-reviewed text (e.g. for multi-authored papers)
    • At acceptance, the individual was at a different UK HEI that failed to comply
    • A short-term technical failure within the repository prevented compliance
    • An external service provider failure prevented compliance

    Please contact for further information about the exception request process.

    Request an exception via our online form.


  • I want to know more about Open Access, the HEFCE policy and adding research to SOAS Research Online. What support is available at SOAS?

    Helen Porter from SOAS Library offers help and information through:

    • One to one meetings and training
    • Drop in Sessions (advertized in MySOAS and SOAS Bulletin)
    • Attendance at Department meetings on request
    • Workshops advertised through Staff Development and the Research Office
    • An enquiry service - email