Individual researchers, Research Groups, Departments and the University as a whole all benefit from making the outputs of research available open access.
DRO content is indexed by Google, Google Scholar and other web search services. Records with full-text should rank high in search results. Positioning depends partly on how many other web pages link to the DRO record. Providing the full-text attracts links and promotes your ranking. Social media can help too. Email the DRO Team 140 characters describing your output and we'll tweet about it for you.
University libraries spend millions of pounds each year on journal subscriptions. But even Harvard University declared it can't afford subscriptions to all the journals its researchers want to read. Therefore it may be incorrect to assume that every researcher whom you want to read your work has access.
JSTOR launched Register & Read in 2012, a web service giving free access to over 5 million articles from across 1.5K journals. It was intended for use by independent researchers, not affiliated to any university. However, JSTOR found that only 16% of users came from this group. Most use was by researchers working in universities.
Evidence from across a range of disciplines indicates that papers made freely available from repositories gain a citation advantage over those which require a subscription. Although repository deposit won't make the uncitable, citable, your chances of being cited increase if your papers are more widely available.
Journal articles and conference papers must be available open access to be eligible for submission.
Green open access: Final accepted peer-reviewed manuscripts must be deposited in either an institutional or subject repository within 3 months of first publication. This is usually the early online date rather than the print publication date. Note that the requirement applies to papers accepted for publication from 1 April 2016 onwards. Previously, the deposit deadline was 3 months from acceptance for publication. But HEFCE have postponed introducing this condition until April 2018. However, we strongly recommend that authors provide their manuscripts as soon as they know they have been accepted - we don't want anything (or anyone) to slip through the net.
Gold open access: HEFCE have also said that outputs made open access via the Gold route do not need to be deposited in a repository. These papers are freely available to all from publishers' websites usually because an Article Processing Charge has been paid (APC). However, it is this University's policy that researchers must still provide their final manuscripts for deposit in DRO. The DRO Team will add the final published version when published.
REF2014 assessed the non-academic impact of university research. Providing evidence providing impact was challenging for some researchers. But if you deposit your papers in DRO you are more likely to reach researchers and policy makers working in industry, central and local government and the NHS; the very sectors where your research could have demonstrable impact.
In late 2013, Elsevier sent out 50,000 'takedown' notices to academics who had illegally posted published versions of their articles on their personal websites and sites like ResearchGate. Elsevier, in common with other large publishers, do not permit this unless they have been paid an Article Processing Charge (APC).
Before any file is made open access in DRO, the DRO Team will check that it is the version of full-text which the publisher permits to be used for this purpose - one less thing for researchers to worry about.