The NECTAR journey: from acceptance to compliance

The University’s new Open Access policy – driven by HEFCE requirements for the post-2014 REF – has a simple message at heart for publishing researchers: act on acceptance. In practice, this means timely deposit of items in NECTAR, and we’ve made a few changes to help with this. This post takes a look at the NECTAR workflow, from acceptance to publication.

Open Access logoThe OA policy, in line with HEFCE policy, requires deposit within three months of acceptance for journal articles and conference proceedings – any item with an ISSN, basically.

Stage one: Acceptance

Congratulations! Your article has been accepted for publication in a journal – any required peer review process has been carried out, and the final version of the article has been established.

But! The policy clock is now ticking, and you need to deposit the bibliographic details and a full text copy of the accepted version in NECTAR within three months to comply with University and HEFCE policies.

For the most part, this means a standard NECTAR deposit, with some particular considerations.


▲ On the Upload page of the deposit form, you must upload the accepted full text as part of your deposit – the bibliographic data on its own is not enough.


▲ When uploading the full text, all you need to do is select the file on your PC and set the Content field to Accepted Version. The NECTAR team will take care of everything else, including any embargo requirements.


▲ On the Details page, you need to set the Status field to Accepted.


▲ Underneath the Status field, you’ll see a field titled Acceptance Date. You need to set this to the date that you received notification of acceptance.

An important requirement here is having access to the accepted version of the output. We strongly recommend keeping a copy of all versions of your output, in particular the submitted (pre-peer review) and accepted (post-peer review) versions. You can’t rely on anyone else to keep these, and the accepted version is central to REF eligibility.

If you want, or if your publisher or funder requires it, you can also specify a Creative Commons licence to your work when uploading a file. The various CC licences are available in the file details form. The NECTAR team will add the appropriate licence details to the item coversheet before the file is made public.

Stage two: The waiting game

Now that your item has been deposited, it goes behind the scenes for data checking and embellishment (for example, the metadata team add Library of Congress classifications, and verify consistency with existing items and established formatting standards).

The NECTAR team will aim to make the item live and discoverable in NECTAR within one month of deposit – this is a requirement for items with no embargo period, and our goal for all items.

If there are any complications or queries at this stage, the NECTAR team will contact you with the details. At any stage of the deposit process you can contact if you have questions or need assistance.

Stage three: Going live

Once the item details have been made live on NECTAR, you’ll receive a notification email with the item details and NECTAR link. The item will now appear on your list of NECTAR outputs, in your staff profile Publications section, and in the public output feeds for any applicable research groups and institutes. The details will also be available for harvest by services like CORE and Google Scholar.

At this stage, access to the full text will be restricted. The NECTAR team’s next step is to establish publisher’s policies for the full text, apply any embargo requirements and add our standard coversheet clarifying the item details.

Once this process in complete, the full text will be in one of four states:

  1. Items with no embargo will be available to download immediately.
  2. Items with an embargo won’t be downloadable, but will have the embargo end date clearly presented. When the date arrives, NECTAR will make the files downloadable automatically.
  3. Where an embargo is required but a publication date is not yet available, it won’t be possible to set the embargo date. In this case, the full text will not be downloadable and a message will be displayed explaining the situation. The NECTAR team will monitor these items regularly and process the full text as soon as it becomes possible to do so. You can also update the team if you receive any additional publication information – see below for details.
  4. The full text may be removed if we’re unable to make it public at all for any reason. In such cases the NECTAR team will contact you to arrange deposit of a suitable version, where possible.

Stage four: Updating the record

Items deposited on acceptance will often have relatively minimal records – you may not be able to supply an expected publication date, volume number or DOI, for example. To make sure your list of outputs is as complete and accurate as possible, amendments may have to be made after deposit.

There are several projects in development across the sector to help with this process, and the NECTAR team are monitoring these. We’ll also be running regular reports on NECTAR items that are marked as accepted, with a view to checking these against publisher data where possible.

However, as an author, it’s likely that you’ll be among the first to know when one of your items is published or updated. Whenever you have additional data that can be added to a NECTAR record, you can send the details to, and we’ll take care of making the required edits.


The HEFCE policy recognises that there will be times when compliance isn’t possible – for example where the most appropriate journal for an article doesn’t allow deposit of the accepted version, or details cannot be placed in NECTAR at all. University practice for such exceptions has yet to be finalised, but the NECTAR team will be available to offer advice and support.

In conclusion…

The NECTAR practices established in the Open Access policy aren’t just a means of ensuring compliance with HEFCE requirements. By providing an OA route to research output, they help fulfil the University’s social impact agenda, and they’re also a great way to disseminate your work globally – NECTAR works with various technologies and services to encourage propagation of outputs beyond publisher paywalls.

The new policies have required some amendments to our established procedures, but we’ve tried to make the NECTAR experience as straightforward as possible for researchers. By depositing the accepted version of your work in NECTAR at the point of acceptance, you’ll achieve compliance with both University and HEFCE policies.

The NECTAR team are here to help, so please do contact us if you have any questions.

Posted on December 15, 2015, in Library, Support and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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