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Open access


Open Access is a set of principles which makes research outputs available to anyone at no cost

We offer a number of services to help you make your research available open access in line with University, REF and funder open access requirements.

All research articles authored or co-authored by Brunel academic research staff should be made available open access immediately on publication in line with Brunel University London's Open Access Mandate, first introduced in 2009, and last revised in December 2021.  

The Mandate aims to make Brunel research free to read and download by anyone, anywhere in the world, with a Creative Commons Attribution CC BY licence preferred. Outputs available under a CC BY licence also comply with REF open access policy and the conditions of award for most grant funders.

Requirements for all Brunel authors

To help authors comply with open access conditions, the University has introduced a pre-submission procedure for all journal articles irrespective of publishing route. Before submitting a manuscript to a publisher, authors must first complete a pre-submission form to apply for publishing funds. The application will then be reviewed by Open Access to verify author and output eligibility. The team will also check availability of publishing funds, whether any discounts or waivers apply, and also whether the selected publication venue and licence will meet all applicable REF and funder open access policy requirements. 

Authors must wait for confirmation from Open Access that funding is available before submitting an article to a publisher. The Open Access Publishing Fund will be unable to support publishing charges for articles which are non-compliant with funder policy, except in very limited circumstances where the non-compliant venue is the best available option for the research. In order to manage the available budget, it will also be unable to meet APC costs of articles which are submitted and accepted, without prior agreement that costs can be met. 

All authors will be required to verify that the output and corresponding author meet eligiblity requirements, and that funding is available for the chosen journal and publishing options before submission. See our guidance on how to apply for open access publishing funds.

Selecting a suitable publication venue

Authors who are publishing peer reviewed research articles, should first use the Journal Checker Tool when selecting a target journal and before manuscript submission, before applying for APC funding, to check whether the preferred journal and route will allow the Brunel corresponding author to meet REF and funder open access requirements. See Plan S and publishing your research.  

The Open Access team will review author application and advise authors on any necessary steps required to comply with open access policy and publish in the preferred journal and any alternative publishing and APC funding options. This may be for one or more of the following reasons:

  • the selected journal and publishing route do not allow the output to meet REF or funder open access requirements, e.g. hybrid journals which are not covered by a Jisc-approved Transformative Agreement.
  • the corresponding author is not a current member of academic research staff and is ineligible to access the fund
  • the Open Access Publishing Fund is fully committed for the financial year
  • the publication venue is not reputable - see our guidance on Choosing a genuine publisher.

Where a journal doesn't allow the output to comply with the conditions, but is the most suitable venue for the research, authors will be required to include standard Rights Retention wording during the submission process. This legally reserves author rights and allows authors and the University to make the final Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) available without embargo in an institutional repository under a CC BY Licence. Articles can then be uploaded to the University's institutional repository, BURA, complying fully with REF and funder open access policies.