Category Archives: Open Access

Curating Swansea University Theses

A pebble dressed up as a graduate with a scroll.

From October 2017 all new PhD students have to make an electronic copy of their thesis available online. Information about this is available on our LibGuide. Existing and former PhD students can also participate in the new e-thesis service to make our Swansea University theses open access on the institutional repository Cronfa.

We are also awaiting completion of a project to digitize 1000 older theses (see the original news item from June 2017). This work is being undertaken by Proquest and the resulting full text PDFs will be available both on Cronfa and on Proquest’s Dissertations and Theses database.

Swansea University already has over 180 theses that were digitized via part of the Ethos service run by the British Library. This offers digitization of a thesis for a fee and the thesis is then made available for all users on Our theses that have been digitized in this way are linked from our library catalogue iFind or can be found using the Advanced Search option on Ethos: enter “Swansea” as a term for “Current Institution” and check the box for “Limit search to items available for immediate download”.

The library catalogue iFind remains the main source for all Swansea University theses. The print copies are held in the thesis store and can be consulted in the library (however many of these are away for digitization with Proquest at the moment).

The Library Research Support Team is working closely with our metadata and cataloguing experts to improve access to the university’s theses collection – we will post more information on e-theses over the next few months to support the launch of this new service. Contact us on with any queries!

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Can we make more book chapters open access?

Image of a yellow book tied up with a string bow

Yesterday was a snowy World Book Day which coincided with some work we are doing to look at Swansea University’s book outputs within the context of open access.

Books and book chapters are not currently covered by the HEFCE REF Open Access policy but the university open access policy states “Wherever possible researchers will be expected to make all published research outputs available as Green Open Access”. There has also been mention of (as yet undefined) credit for going beyond the scope of the REF open access policy – book chapters would be an obvious area to demonstrate this. HEFCE have indicated that books will be subject to open access requirements for REF2027 (so likely to cover any books published after 2020) and Steven Hill recently blogged about the challenges with this for monographs.

The REF policy has implications for how we (the Library Research Support Team) work: with the staff we have, we check and chase up outputs that are covered by the REF Open Access policy (journal articles and some conference proceedings) but we do not as a rule follow up open access options for book chapters, nor have we been asked to do so. However, we are exploring what we can reasonably do to encourage wider uptake of open access for book chapters. The reasons for this go beyond compliance – evidence suggests that the open access advantage for books is clear as well as the implications of rising costs of academic books vs limited library funds. There are also discovery implications: not all book chapters have DOIs and not all are well indexed or available electronically. Inclusion in our repository (which gets indexed by CORE and Google Scholar) helps to promote all our book chapters to a wider audience.

It’s useful to contextualize this work at our university with data from our repository Cronfa: since 2014, we have published 620 book chapters, compared with 8113 journal articles. Book chapters by College are shown below:

Book Chapters

Total book chapters published per College at Swansea University

(For non-SU readers, COAH is Arts & Humanities; CHHS is Human & Health) More meaningful perhaps is to view book chapters as a percentage of total College outputs since 2014:


Book Chapters as a percentage of total outputs per College at Swansea University

Unsurprisingly, Arts & Humanities and Law are the Colleges where book chapters have greater significance and where work in this area could potentially have the greatest impact. An analysis of book data from REF2014 also draws out the significance of books to these subject areas (focusing on humanities in particular). It’s also worth noting that in our repository, certain STEM publications which have an ISSN and an ISBN get automatically labelled as “Book Chapters” which may more appropriately be seen as conference proceedings or journals (e.g. Lecture Notes in Computer Science). We do include these in our work checking REF open access so that may explain their stats here.

Many publishers do have a self-archiving policy that covers book chapters; how many book chapters have been made open access on our repository? Looking again at chapters published since 2014, 10% of them are available open access on Cronfa but more of these are STEM publications:


Percentage of book chapters open access on Swansea University’s repository, by College

It would be useful to know how many of these book chapters are Gold open access but we do not record this information unless the author enters it on their record. We do not have an institutional fund for open access.

The question – can we make more book chapters open access? – is not easy to answer for the following reasons:

  1. Who is the publisher? Our repository is unmediated and many records have incomplete or dirty publisher data. To address this issue systematically would involve substantial work to tidy our book data. We do not have the resource for this at present (a source of great frustration to librarians who like tidy data!)
  2. How do we find out the publisher’s policy? Book chapter green open access policies not only vary per publisher but often by series within publisher (e.g. Springer). Many publishers also allow a single chapter of a monograph to be made open access on a repository – permissions for this differ again and also often differ by type of book (e.g. reference, textbook). Publishers get taken over by other publishers, further complicating the situation. The clearest answer is probably in the agreement signed by the author – we do not have access to this.
  3. Do authors have this information more readily to hand? And do they have the accepted version? Do they have the time to devote to this in the face of competing priorities? The library has a clear role in advocacy here, but the answer may still be ‘no’ if authors don’t HAVE to take this step.

This post is an initial outline of the challenges we face in trying to make more book chapters open access: discussions and comments very welcome…

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Open Access & the REF: an update


HEFCE announced further clarification on the rules for REF2021 yesterday (PDF here) and this included some decisions on outputs and open access (on p.8). Key points are:

  • The policy is felt to be working in that more papers than ever before have been made open access.
  • The original policy stands with respect to the timeframe for researchers to act: papers must be uploaded to RIS within 3 months of acceptance.
  • However, there will be an exception to cover papers that miss this deadline but are uploaded within 3 months of publication.

The rules around this crucial timing issue have varied during the REF period so a summary is given below:

Papers accepted for publication before 1 April 2016 do not need to comply with the REF open access policy in order to be submitted to the REF (however they are encouraged to be made open access).

Papers accepted for publication between 1 April 2016 and 1 April 2018 need to comply with the REF Open Access policy to be submitted: for this period, the full text of the article needed to be uploaded into RIS within 3 months of the date of online publication (unless the paper was published with Gold Open Access on the publisher site or one of the other exceptions can be applied). Papers that were not uploaded to RIS within 3 months of publication (or which failed to meet other conditions of the policy e.g. minimum embargo period) cannot be submitted to the REF.

Paper accepted for publication after 1 April 2018 will need to comply with the REF Open Access policy to be submitted: the full text of the paper must be uploaded into RIS within 3 months of acceptance for publication (unless the paper was published with Gold Open Access on the publisher site or one of the other exceptions can be applied). It will be possible to claim an exception for papers that miss this deadline but which are uploaded within 3 months of publication. Papers that are not uploaded to RIS within 3 months of publication (or which fail to meet other conditions of the policy e.g. minimum embargo period) cannot be submitted to the REF.

The Library Research Support team checks for REF compliance and reports on this to Research Directors & REF staff. We are currently seeing around 85-90% of papers complying with the REF Open Access policy. We will be doing further publicity in 2018 to ensure all researchers are aware of what they need to do and know that we will be glad to help with any questions:

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Open access and the Bloodhound SSC

Many of you will have heard of Bloodhound SSC, a car built to break the landspeed record but also with the aim of interesting young people in STEM subjects.


By Katie Chan – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

This open access week you may be interested to learn that research carried out at Swansea towards this project is openly available in our repository, Cronfa.

Make sure your work is part of Swansea University history by putting it in Cronfa. Contact if you need help.

Bloodhound related articles

Aerodynamic optimisation of the rear wheel fairing of the land speed record vehicle BLOODHOUND SSC / J. Townsend; B. Evans; T. Tudor
Aeronautical Journal, Volume: 120, Issue: 1228, Pages: 930 – 955

Solid particle erosion protection for the BLOODHOUND SSC front wheel arches / C. J. Hannon; B. J. Evans
Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part L: Journal of Materials: Design and Applications

Enhanced flow visualisation of complex aerodynamic phenomena using automatic stream surface seeding with application to the BLOODHOUND SSC Land Speed Record vehicle / M. Edmunds; B. Evans; I. Masters; R. S. Laramee
The Aeronautical Journal, Volume: 120, Issue: 1226, Pages: 547 – 571

Spray drag effect of fluidized sand for a supersonic vehicle /Lakhdar Remaki; Oubay Hassan; Ben J. Evans; Kenneth Morgan
Journal of Coupled Systems and Multiscale Dynamics, Volume: 2, Issue: 3, Pages: 169 – 177

Simulating the aerodynamic characteristics of the Land Speed Record vehicle BLOODHOUND SSC / B. Evans; C. Rose
Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part D: Journal of Automobile Engineering

Design optimisation using computational fluid dynamics applied to a land–based supersonic vehicle, the BLOODHOUND SSC / B Evans; T Morton; L Sheridan; O Hassan;K Morgan; J. W Jones; M Chapman; R Ayers; I Niven
Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization, Volume: 47, Issue: 2, Pages: 301 – 316

Computational fluid dynamics applied to the aerodynamic design of a land-based supersonic vehicle / B.J Evans; O Hassan; J.W Jones; K Morgan; L Remaki
Numerical Methods for Partial Differential Equations, Volume: 27, Issue: 1, Pages: 141 – 159

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Are you funded by RCUK? Please note some changes to their open access policy




In 2017/18 RCUK expects institutions to make 75% of their RCUK funded research open access. This is a high target so please make sure you make your work open access if they provide your funding.

RCUK have clarified the licences allowed on green open access articles for the research they fund (6.2 on their FAQ list). These are articles made freely available in an institutional repository. Articles should place no restriction on non-commercial reuse (including text and data mining) and should allow adaptations of the material to be shared. This means that a CC-BY-NC licence is acceptable but a CC-BY-NC-ND licence is not.  There is more detail on these licences on the creative commons web site.

Elsevier currently insist on a CC-BY-NC-ND licence for green open access which does not fit RCUK requirements so if you are publishing with them it would be best to apply for funding for gold open access. You can do this  using the online form on our APC page  when you have an article accepted. The Sherpa FACT tool allows you to check that journals from other publishers meet RCUK requirements.

If an author chooses the green route the embargo period should be a maximum of 6 months for STEM subjects and 12 months for arts, humanities and social sciences. This is a shorter time period than that allowed for the REF (2.1 on FAQ list). However, a longer period is allowed if there is no money for gold open access.

Innovate UK and the UK space agency are not part of RCUK so research funded by them cannot be paid for using the block grant – some people have been unsure about this.

If you are bewildered by the different licences and requirements please be assured that you will not be alone in this! Contact the Library research support team for advice about your own publications



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Open Access at Swansea Uni: some stats

We are just over a year into the REF Open Access policy; our own institutional open access policy (PDF) came out in March 2015. Taking a look at our repository back and front ends, we can see how deposit and full text rates have varied over time. The figures are as accurate as we can manage – unfortunately Cronfa does not yet utilise the IRUS-UK service which would give us a richer set of data. We hope one day we can join.

Items added to our repository (RIS)

Last month showed the highest ever number of records created: 961. This chart shows a month-by-month comparison over the last 3 years:


We can see our repository is quieter in holiday months; it is likely the peaks are due to internal audit exercises where academics are reminded to add their papers.

Items with full text on Cronfa

The chart below shows the steady growth in full text items on Cronfa from 2015 onwards:


At the moment we have about 10.3% of items on Cronfa with full text available – up from 2.2% in March 2015. This figure is particularly low because it includes many older items and significant numbers of books/book chapters/other output types. If we look at journal articles published since 2014, then we have around 36% full text. For the year 2016, full text journal articles reached 49.1% (with some items possibly still under embargo).

It’s encouraging to see the growth in open access content over the last few years. Our repository also feeds into the CORE aggregated search portal and an increasing amount of content is appearing on Google Scholar. The home page of Cronfa shows the most downloaded items and most recent additions.

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The REF Open Access policy is 1 year old


Saturday 1st April 2017 marked the one year anniversary for the REF Open Access policy: this covers all journal articles and (some) conference proceedings accepted for publication after 1st April 2016. These papers must comply with HEFCE’s Open Access policy or they cannot be submitted to the REF.

Green Open Access on Cronfa

We have seen much progress around open access at Swansea University in the last year. Unsurprisingly, there has been a marked increase in papers made open access on our repository Cronfa: the REF policy is all about encouraging researchers to take advantage of publisher copyright policies that allow the accepted version of an article to be made public on a repository, known as “Green Open Access”.

The home page of Cronfa shows our latest full text additions, plus the most-downloaded articles of all time and the last week/month. Whilst Cronfa documents feed into the Core repository search portal and will turn up in Google search results, they are still not appearing regularly on Google Scholar. Reasons for this are not clear but we continue to investigate and are not alone in having this issue with our repository content. If you have an open access version of a paper on Cronfa circulating the URL to the open version ensures maximum impact.

Gold Open Access

We are also seeing many articles published with “Gold” (paid-for) open access. This is not essential for the REF Open Access policy (unless the chosen journal does not permit self-archiving to comply with the HEFCE policy). Whilst we do have money available for RCUK-funded publications, most of the Gold Open Access papers are paid for from research funding or other sources; Swansea University does not have an institutional fund for open access.

We have also seen 27 Swansea University authors take advantage of the excellent Springer deal for free open access in selected journals. This option is available to any staff or student who is corresponding author on a paper submitted to certain Springer journals.

REF Open Access Policy Compliance

For various reasons, it is difficult to give precise figures for REF Open Access compliance at this stage but our estimates suggest we are seeing strong levels of compliance (very rough estimate = 85-90%) for all papers that have been added to RIS (not just those that may be submitted to a future REF). There may be papers published by Swansea University authors but not yet added to RIS which would alter this estimate. The university’s own open access policy means that ALL publications should be made open access where possible, not just those that may be submitted to the REF.

Increased Support for Open Access

The Library Research Support Team expanded with 2 new posts in 2016 which reflects the additional reporting and compliance work around open access: Caroline Rauter is the Scholarly Communications Officer ( and Penny Lauder is the Scholarly Communications Assistant ( The team is managed by Annette Linton, Head of Library Content and Scholarly Communications ( We can be contacted on and more information on the support we offer can be found on our web pages. We work closely with staff in the Colleges on advocacy and support for open access.

The College of Engineering have also appointed Rebecca Kelleher as REF Officer (, who offers a REF compliant mediated deposit service to RIS/Cronfa for all staff in Engineering and Sport & Exercise Sciences and she also reports on Open Access compliance for the College.

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