Approaches to Deposit: Manchester Metropolitan University


Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) has approximately 550 research staff and 915 PGR students.

The University produces approximately 650 papers annually and research is managed using Symplectic Elements and a DSpace repository.

Open Access governance

Overall responsibility for Open Access, including implementation of policies, lies with MMU’s Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange (RKE).  Operational responsibility is shared between the Library and RKE.  The Library chairs the Open Access steering group which meets on an ad hoc basis and is made up of representatives from the Library staff, RKE, the Head of Research and a few academics with an interest in Open Access.

The Library isn’t represented on MMU’s Research Strategy Committee and, to date, hasn’t been invited to advise on Open Access at this committee.  However, the Research Support Librarian is a member of the Research Operations Group in MMU Cheshire and learns about Open Access activity at their meetings.

The Library manages the institutional repository, working closely with the RKE IT manager whose role includes management of Symplectic.

The Open Access Steering Group drafted an institutional policy which was introduced in 2012.  It is a statement of intent and has not been mandated.

Open Access support

Until recently MMU had 1.0 FTE librarian dedicated to Research Support, with tasks ranging from Open Access advocacy in faculties to validating deposits in DSpace.  A permanent 1.0 FTE Open Access support post has now been added to library staffing to assist with the increased number of papers deposited for the HEFCE policy.

Technical support for the repository is included in the role of a member of staff within the Digital Library Services Team.

Approach to deposit for HEFCE’s Open Access policy

MMU are using existing workflows but are bringing them in line with HEFCE’s policy requirements.  The Library enhances metadata, such as adding abstracts and keywords, and checks citations and links to the published version. Time constraints do not usually allow updates after the initial verification of the record.

Deposit is via Symplectic and authors are asked to provide the following metadata:

  • Relationship to output
  • Additional authors
  • Article title
  • Journal title
  • Publication date


An all staff letter, drafted by the Library and RKE, has been sent from the Vice Chancellor to research staff and has prompted a marked increase in the number of papers deposited.  RKE have produced guides on how to deposit papers in Symplectic and the Library has led workshops in research centres.  The message is centred on the HEFCE policy but as knowledge levels about Open Access are low sessions also include basic information about Open Access and instruction on using Symplectic.


Step 1

On acceptance author creates or claims a publication record, completing mandatory metadata fields and deposits manuscript in Symplectic.

Symplectic creates publication record in DSpace repository

Step 2

Library carries out checks on DSpace record:

Is publication metadata accurate?

Can submitted manuscript be deposited?   If not, email author advising reason for rejection

Is publication Gold OA on publisher website or internal APC records?  If yes, deposit published version

Library sets embargo period

Library makes verified records open


As a result of awareness-raising activities the Library currently has a backlog of papers to validate in DSpace.  Authors engaging with Open Access have, in some cases, submitted their entire research output and it is difficult to filter and prioritise new publications in the DSpace workflow.


MMU’s research is managed by RKE in Symplectic.  There is currently no requirement for the Library to produce reports from repository data but library staff find it difficult to extract reports from DSpace.  RKE are using Symplectic OA Monitor to assess engagement levels and produce reports for Research Centre Heads, and hope reports can be used proactively, to increase compliance, in future.


MMU hasn’t yet developed success criteria for the approach adopted but the Library plans to work with RKE to determine appropriate measures.  It is felt that up to now there hasn’t been a culture of target setting at MMU and without a target the Library will struggle to provide meaningful data.

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 15 minutes.  Deposits are mostly managed by Assistant Librarians and Senior Assistant Librarians.  The cost per paper is estimated to be £4.83.

The total cost for problem-free papers is estimated to be £7.58. It is likely that problematic papers will take double the time and will cost £12.41 per paper.

To calculate the estimated annual total cost of MMU’s deposit workflow it is assumed that 40% of papers will be problem-free and 60% of papers will be problematic.

(260 problem-free papers @ £7.58) + (390 problematic papers @ £12.41) =




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