Open access policy – Bath Spa University

Supporting information


  • Author. For the purposes of this Policy, a creator of intellectual property.
  • Open access. Making research outputs freely available online, instead of requiring payment in order to view them.
  • Institutional repository. An online database of research conducted at an institution, containing both metadata and full text records. Bath Spa University’s repository is ResearchSPAce.
  • “Green” open access. Where a research output has been licensed to a publisher, the publisher allows a draft version of the work to be deposited in an open access repository without cost to the institution. Publishers sometimes impose an embargo that delays the release of the “green” open access version.
  • “Gold” open access. Where a research output has been licensed to a publisher, the publisher allows the final, published version of the work to be immediately made openly accessible upon payment (usually by the institution) of an “article processing charge” (APC).
  • Metadata. Broadly, “data about data”. In open access terms this means descriptive information about a research output:- author, title, publisher, date of publication or exhibition, etc.
  • Full text. Where metadata is “data about data”, a full text deposit is the actual data or research output itself, eg a journal article, book, or paper. Full text objects are often mentioned alongside non-textual equivalents such as digital images, video or sound files.
  • Post-print. A draft version of the full-text research output that has been through the peer-review process. Many publishers now allow the ‘post-print’ to be deposited in a repository, but not the final version which they have typeset and published.

Key points of the HEFCE Policy for Open Access in the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework

  • Short timescale for deposit. The final, peer-reviewed version of all journal articles and conference proceedings (with ISSNs) must be deposited into ResearchSPAce “as soon after the point of acceptance as possible, and no later than three months after this date (as given in the acceptance letter or e-mail from the publication to the author).” A work will be inadmissible to the REF if this deadline is missed.
  • All draft versions of an article or paper should be retained. In particular, the ‘post-print’ draft of an article or conference paper may be the only version that is both acceptable to HEFCE and a publisher agreement that restricts what can be deposited in ResearchSPAce.
  • Draft versions should be retained in a searchable format (such as a Word document). HEFCE state that outputs “must be presented in a form that allows anyone with internet access to search electronically within the text.”
  • The acceptance date must be recorded. Academic staff must record in ResearchSPAce the date when their research is accepted for publication. This information is required for HEFCE’s “verification and audit process”.
  • Articles or papers still have to be uploaded even where a publication does not allow open access deposit. These will be stored under “closed access” (no public access). Such publications should only be used where they are “the most appropriate publication for the output”.

This summary should not be regarded as a substitute for the actual policy itself, which is available via the UK Government Web Archive

Further guidance

For queries regarding our Open Access Policy, please get in touch with our Research Publications Librarian at

You can also see our open access FAQs (login required). 


Bath Spa University is committed to the principle that scholarly research is a public good and that, wherever possible, it should be made freely available online for the benefit of the academic community and wider society. Open access has been shown to increase citation rates for published outputs.

The University’s preferred means of sharing research is through “green” open access, where publisher agreements allow the author’s accepted version of research outputs to be disseminated via the institutional repository, ResearchSPAce.


ResearchSPAce is the institutional repository for “final” (published, performed, or exhibited) scholarly research outputs, as defined by the repository’s Content Policy. A separate institutional repository, BathSPAdata, is available for the storage and dissemination of research data.


  1. Academic staff should enter a description (‘metadata’) of new scholarly research outputs in ResearchSPAce, in order to build a comprehensive institutional record of research activity. Online guidance explains the self-deposit process.
  2. Within three months of acceptance for publication, academic staff should upload to ResearchSPAce the full-text author’s accepted version of journal articles. This will ensure compliance with the REF Policy for Open Access. Articles will be embargoed where necessary, to ensure compliance with publisher agreements.
  3. Where possible, academic staff are encouraged to upload to ResearchSPAce the full text, or non-textual equivalent, of research outputs other than journal articles. For clarity, this may include book chapters, reports or papers, images of exhibited art or design work, printed music, video and sound files.
  4. Outputs are uploaded to ResearchSPAce under a ‘non-exclusive’ licence, which protects authors’ rights to publish their material, in its present or future versions, elsewhere. Authors’ rights are further protected by the repository Data Policy.
  5. There is no compulsion upon academic staff to publish or register their work in ResearchSPAce. The University recognises there may be valid reasons for not doing so, including contractual restrictions, national security, concern about loss of income or control over intellectual property. However consideration should be given to the possible effect of opt-out. For example, exclusion from internal research reviews (if outputs are not registered in ResearchSPAce) or inadmissibility to REF (if journal articles are not uploaded in accordance with the REF Open Access Policy).

Monitoring and responsibilities

  1. Academic staff are responsible for meeting the deposit requirements of the Policy.
  2. For new journal articles and conference proceedings (with ISSNs), academic staff should forward acceptance letters or emails to the Library for collation as evidence of compliance with the REF Policy for Open Access.
  3. The Library will liaise with academics to ensure that full text items (or non-textual equivalent) comply with publisher copyright agreements and ResearchSPAce Policies before items are made publicly available.
  4. The Library will review and standardize metadata.
  5. The Research, Knowledge Exchange and Consultancy Committee (RKECC) will monitor compliance with the Policy through the annual Quality Review of research activity. The Library will provide RKECC with key indicators of open access publication.

Date of last approval: December 2018

Last updated: January 2019

Date of next review: December 2020

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