FAQ – DPhils and OA

    • I am a DPhil student – what do I need to do?

      You will need to deposit a copy of your thesis into ORA, as part of the University’s exam regulations. Click here for ORA guidance on Digital Theses.

      The University’s 2018 Open Access policy (on the Open Access at Oxford page) applies to research students and asks them to deposit journal articles and other research outputs into ORA.

    • Where can I find more information about Open Access and doctoral theses?

      The UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO) has a list of useful links about OA and doctoral theses.

    • Does the REF 2021 open access policy apply to DPhil students?

      No. While DPhil students may publish outputs that are later submitted to REF, those produced while the author was a student are exempt.They are covered by a policy exception, which excludes individuals not employed by a UK HEI at the time of submission for publication from the requirement to act.
      This means the ‘act on acceptance’ requirement does not apply to research students, but they are nevertheless welcome to deposit their articles and other publications into ORA. They may need to request a user account for Symplectic Elements to do so. Information about requesting new accounts can be found here.

    • I am an RCUK-funded DPhil – am I affected by the RCUK OA policy?

      Yes. If you are a DPhil student who is funded by a Research Council, the OA policy applies to your thesis and any journal articles you are publishing before submitting your thesis. The UKRI Conditions of Research Council Training Grants state in section 11 Exploitation and Impact that

      ‘TGC 11.4 Students supported by the Training Grant shall, subject to the procedures laid down by the Research Organisation, publish the results of their research, excluding theses, funded by the Training Grant, in accordance with normal academic practice and Our policy on Open Access: https://www.ukri.org/files/legacy/documents/rcukopenaccesspolicy-pdf/. If this is not appropriate then the flexibility within the Training Grant should be used to cover these costs. Other forms of media communication, including media appearances, press releases and conferences, must acknowledge the support received from Us, quoting the Training Grant reference number if appropriate.

      TGC 11.5 We expect that a full text version of the thesis should be available no longer than 12 months following award of the doctorate. We recognise that commercial, collaborative or publication arrangements may necessitate a slight delay at Your discretion, however we expect the thesis to be deposited as soon as possible. We expect You to have in place a documented process for determining where exceptions can be granted to the requirement for publication within 12 months.’

    • What support is there available to me as a DPhil needing to meet RCUK OA requirements? Am I entitled to funds? Where do I find out more about what to do next?

      There is support available to help you determine how best to meet the requirements at Oxford – a good first step is to speak to your subject librarian and he/she will give you further advice on the mechanisms available to publish Open Access, and point you to the University’s Open Access Block Grants from RCUK (and Wellcome Trust/COAF) should you require funds to make your paper OA for example. You can also email openaccess@bodleian.ox.ac.uk with any questions.

      You may find these pages on this site helpful:

    • Are theses subject to research funder Open Access policies such as RCUK or Wellcome?

      RCUK-funded DPhil theses are subject to OA requirements under the Terms & Conditions of the Research Council Training Grants – the funding pot for PhD research – which includes an expectation that information about the final thesis should be made public and the full thesis made available within 12 months. Please see UKRI Conditions of Research Council Training Grants for more information.

      Wellcome Trust OA policy ‘does not apply to PhD theses by Wellcome-funded students. But we expect PhD theses to be made freely available from the EThOS repository as soon as possible’ – see Complying with our open access policy.

      By depositing in ORA, a record for your thesis is automatically passed to the British Library’s theses service EThOS.

    • Is there a mismatch between the RCUK Training Grants policy to make my thesis OA within 12 months and University policy?

      No. The Research Councils UK “expect that a full text version of an RCUK-funded student’s thesis should be available no longer than 12 months following award of the doctorate”. When depositing your thesis into ORA, under University policy (reviewed in 2017) you have a choice of selecting immediate release or a 1 year or 3 year embargo period. Please see ORA’s guidance on embargoes for digital theses and funder/sponsor requirements for theses. You may also wish to consult your supervisor.

    • At what point does published research based on data collected during their studentship fall outside of the OA requirements?

      The question of re-use of research data is a tricky one. However, if the student is required to credit RCUK as the funder in their published output, then they should comply with RCUK’s OA policy.

      For example: if an RCUK-funded DPhil writes a thesis based on their research while they are RCUK funded, then makes their thesis open access in accordance with the rules of their Training Grant, then goes on to do additional post-doc research funded from another source, though building on the data collected during their DPhil, they wouldn’t be subject to the RCUK policy, because the second research project, even though it draws on existing data, is a separate exercise.

      However, if they adapt the thesis into a journal article using content which is broadly the same as the thesis, then RCUK requirements should be met, and funding received during their doctorate acknowledged. If they are using data collected during the DPhil which has not yet been used for their thesis or any published work, they ought to comply and acknowledge RCUK.

      NB. Book chapters are not subject to the OA policy requirements of RCUK.

    • If I am an AHRC-funded doctoral student but this is not tied to a specific piece of work, does this make all my publications RCUK-funded for the purposes of this exercise?