Approaches to Deposit Case Study: University of Sussex



The University of Sussex has 1200 staff, of which approximately 300 are exclusively research roles.  The annual research output (approximately 1300 papers) is stored in an EPrints repository, Sussex Research Online (SRO).

The University is organised into 12 schools.  Operational decisions are often devolved to school level resulting in inconsistent policy implementation.

Open Access governance

The Library manages the institutional repository, prepared an institutional position on depositing to SRO and makes recommendations on Open Access to the University’s Research Committee.

The key current recommendation is for a new Open Access governance structure.  This aims to create a sense of university-wide ownership of the repository and would establish strategic and operational groups drawing membership from the Library, IT Services, the Research Office and the University Press and Communications department.  A user panel, made up of librarians and academic staff, is also recommended to ensure that all stakeholder groups can input into repository decisions and developments, and to encourage academic ownership.

Rather than a formal policy Sussex has an Open Access statement, which reflects HEFCE’s Open Access policy.  Adoption of the statement is at the discretion of individual schools and there is no centralised approach to Open Access implementation.  Schools have developed their own Open Access polices based on the University’s statement.  Schools are required to report on publications at termly meetings – some schools plan to consider only publications that are deposited in SRO.

The Library’s relationships with school administrators and training staff are critical in understanding Open Access activity across campus.

Open Access support

Sussex’s central Open Access support is provided by the Library’s Research Support and Content Delivery teams.

Research Support Librarian (1.0 FTE with currently 0.8 FTE estimated on OA/repository)

Open Access & Repository Support Officer (0.8 FTE) – SRO/OpenAccess support and advocacy

Content Delivery library assistants (0.5 FTE at Grade 5 and 0.75 FTE at Grade 3) – metadata

Until recently Library staff received technical development support for SRO from a colleague with EPrints experience but support has now passed to University IT staff.

There are an unknown number of roles supporting Open Access across campus.  Some schools have employed administrative staff to create publication records and deposit papers on behalf of authors.  Where these roles exist, the extent of support varies: some schools provide support for all staff whilst others support only the research director.

Approach to deposit for HEFCE’s Open Access policy

Sussex’s repository workflow has been in place for a number of years.  The Library requests entry of the following key metadata, although fields are not mandatory:

  • item type
  • title
  • author(s)
  • publication details
  • school

In preparation for the HEFCE policy the workflow needs to amend the previous requirement for authors to add only records of published outputs to SRO.

The Library also plans to simplify the workflow by advising staff supporting Open Access in schools of the standard minimum requirements and committing library staff to the task of enhancing metadata records.

Authors are asked to deposit all papers to SRO, including those published as Gold Open Access. Subject repositories are considered to be an additional but not an alternative to SRO.

Although the deposit workflow is well established the Library has yet to introduce procedures to monitor publication of papers added to SRO at acceptance stage.


The Library leads on policy communication and takes a school by school approach to accommodate the various school-level approaches to Open Access. The lack of centralisation at Sussex has increased the importance of identifying key people in each school to cascade messages.

Activities undertaken include meeting with individuals and research groups, presentations to school boards, training on SRO deposit, coffee mornings and drop-in sessions, and Open Access workshops on the University’s research training programme.


 Step 1

On acceptance author creates publication record and deposits manuscript in EPrints.


On acceptance delegate creates publication record and deposits manuscript in EPrints.

Record goes into buffer zone

Step 2

Library carries out checks on Eprints record:

Is publication record of acceptable standard? If not, send record back to author.

Is publication metadata complete and accurate?  If not, enhance record to standard, minimum requirement.

Library ensures publication records are in house style.

Library checks journal embargo period.

Can submitted manuscript be deposited?   If not, contact author to request correct version

Library locks publication record and makes metadata open.

Library monitors publication status of accepted records and encourages authors to contact the Library when papers are published.

On publication

Stage 3

Library updates metadata.

Library sets embargo periods.


  • Due to the number of enquiries Library Open Access support staff receive they have been unable to update support materials.
  • School-level implementation of Open Access adds complexity to communication activities.


At Sussex school staff have access to a central dashboard which includes publication data from SRO.  This is used for internal reporting on publications and levels of Open Access.

RIOXX and the EPrints REF plug-in have recently been added to SRO and library staff expect to present compliance data at regular meetings with the Research Office.  Decisions about how to tackle non-compliant papers/authors have yet to be made.


Sussex will test the effectiveness of the approach by carrying out a “REF practice” during the first year of the HEFCE policy.

Cost of approach to deposit

The time for a publication record to be created and a full-text attached is estimated to be 5 minutes.  On the assumption that academic staff carry out this task the cost per paper is estimated to be £2.75.

The time to manage a deposit for a problem-free paper is estimated to be 5 minutes.  Deposits are managed by Senior Library Assistants.  The cost per paper is estimated to be £1.48.

The total cost for problem-free papers is estimated to be £4.23. It is likely that problematic papers will take double the time and will cost £5.71 per paper.

To calculate the estimated annual total cost of Sussex’s deposit workflow it is assumed that 80% of papers will be problem-free and 20% of papers will be problematic.

(260 problem-free papers @ £4.23) + (1040 problematic papers @ £5.71) =



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