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Library research support

Open research

Open research (also called open science and open scholarship) encourages making the research cycle as open as possible by promoting sharing, collaboration and reuse at all stages of the research process, with open access and open data.

Jump to:     Open access   |   REF 2021   |   Open data   |   Plan S

Open access 

Open access (OA) is free and unrestricted access to research publications; anyone can read, download and reuse research (subject to any licence restrictions).

Types of OA

There are several types of OA but the two main variations are Green OA and Gold OA:

  • Green OA involves publishing in a traditional subscription journal, but research outputs are self-archived in a repository, such as RaY, and the output is made available after an embargo period set by the publisher.
  • Gold OA provides immediate, free access to research outputs at the point of publication with opportunities to reuse the research according to any licence applied to the work. Often, but not always, there is an article processing charge (APC) to be paid to the publisher.

Benefits of OA

A diagram showing the benefits of Open Access


There are many benefits to making your research open:

  • More exposure for your work
  • Practitioners can apply your findings
  • Higher citation rates
  • Your research can influence policy
  • The public can access your findings
  • Compliant with grant rules
  • Taxpayers get value for money
  • Researchers in developing countries can see your work

York St John University OA Policy

York St John University supports the principle of OA and where possible will follow the ‘Green’ OA route. The policy applies to all staff and research students who produce research outputs. We ask staff to deposit all research outputs (including journal articles, conference proceedings, book chapters, physical artefacts, exhibitions and performances) into the University Institutional Repository, RaY, with bibliographic metadata and post prints/author accepted manuscripts of research outputs, subject to publisher copyright permissions.

For further information please see our OA Policy.

Paying for OA

An article processing charge (APC) is a fee paid to a publisher to make an article immediately freely available online – Gold OA. York St John University supports the principles of Green OA, but there may be times when Gold OA is required. If you require support with paying for APCs, please contact the Research Office.


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REF 2021 and open access

UK higher education funding bodies believe that research outputs should be freely and widely available. To be eligible for submission for REF 2021, authors’ final peer-reviewed manuscripts of research outputs must be deposited in an institutional or subject OA repository.

The REF 2021 OA policy only applies to journal articles or conference proceedings with an ISSN, which are accepted for publication after 1 April 2016.

The REF 2021 OA policy does not apply to monographs, book chapters or other research outputs, but Library & Learning Services encourages researchers to deposit all research outputs into the University institutional repository, RaY, as institutions are encouraged to demonstrate how they have gone beyond the OA statement and created an encouraging research environment.

For further information, please see the REF 2021 Open Access Policy [PDF, 0.3 MB].


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Open data

Open data is research data that is free to download, share, and reuse. During any research project, data is collected, observed and generated and there is growing encouragement from research funders to share research data once a research project concludes.

Sharing research data may:

  • Increase the impact of your research
  • Comply with funder requirements
  • Possibly lead to further research project and collaboration.
  • Ensure accountability and transparency of the research project.

When preparing to share data, researchers should try and make research data FAIR:

  • Findable – data and metadata should be easy to find
  • Accessible – data is accessible and should be clear to understand
  • Interoperable – data and metadata should be based on standardised vocabularies so that the data can be integrated into other workflows and systems
  • Reusable – data and metadata should be well-described so others can replicate or combine the data/metadata

York St John researchers can share their research data using the University’s open data repository RaYDaR.


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Plan S

Plan S is an OA publishing initiative from cOAlition S that launched in 2018.

By January 2021, Plan S requires research publications which receive research funding from cOAlition S funders to be published immediately and freely available in compliant OA journals and platforms.

Plan S is based on some fundamental principles:

  • No scholarly publication should be locked behind a paywall
  • OA should be immediate with no embargoes
  • Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) Licence should be the default licence
  • Research funders should commit to support OA publication fees at a reasonable level
  • Research funders should not support publication in hybrid (or mirror/sister) journals unless they are part of a transformative arrangement with a clearly defined endpoint

Plan S is still developing, but for further details please see cOAlititon S.


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