Open Access

HRB Policy on Open Access


The Health Research Board (HRB) supports and promotes research which will improve people’s health, patient care and health service delivery. One of the main outputs of this research is new ideas and knowledge, which the HRB expects its researchers, both clinical and non-clinical, to publish in high-quality, peer-reviewed journals. The HRB has a fundamental interest in ensuring that the availability and accessibility of this output is not adversely affected by the copyright, marketing and distribution strategies used by publishers (whether commercial, not-for-profit or academic).



The HRB defines Open Access as [1]:

“…free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited”.


Key principles

The HRB’s policy is adopted on the following key principles:

  1. This publication policy confirms the freedom of researchers to publish first wherever they feel is the most appropriate.
  2. The effect of the policy is intended to increase the visibility of, and improve access to, the research funded by the HRB, where such research is intended to be published by the researcher(s) concerned.
  3. The policy is designed to support the free flow of information across national and international research communities; to support the principle of research-enabled teaching and learning and the generation of Open Educational Resources (OER); to contribute to Open Innovation through richer and more effective knowledge transfer and diffusion; and to support greater transparency, accountability and public awareness of the results of publicly funded research.
  4. The policy is based on recognised best practice (2) (3) (4)   and it is aligned with the National Principles for Open Access Policy Statement (5).


Conditions to which HRB funded award recipents should adhere

1. All researchers are required to deposit their publications resulting in whole or in part from HRB-funded research in an open access repository and these publications should be made publicly discoverable, accessible and re-usable as soon as possible. 

- Authors must deposit post-prints (or publisher’s version if permitted) plus metadata of articles accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings. 

- All peer reviewed journal articles and conference publications must be deposited as soon as possible, ideally at the time of acceptance by the journal/conference and no later than the date of formal publication. Other research outputs such as monographs, books, book chapters, technical reports, research theses, and reports should be deposited where possible. 

- Metadata shall comprise the full bibliographic and/or descriptive data and should comply with national and international standards and agreements for harvesting, reporting and interoperability.

2. Repositories should release the metadata immediately upon deposit. Open Access to the full text paper should be made immediately upon deposit or once access restrictions, as required by certain publishers, have expired.  Access restrictions should not normally exceed six months after publication for scientific, technical and health science research publications and 12 months for arts, humanities and social sciences research outputs. 

3. Researchers should agree terms of deposit with publishers. Clarity should be sought on copyright, licensing and embargo policies and agreed policies with publishers must be respected.

4.The repository should ideally be a local institutional repository that supports interoperability with other repositories and harvesting by national portal/s and international aggregators. Suitable repositories are those that provide free public access to, and make provision for long-term preservation of, published research findings.

5. Research publications deposited in an open access repository must contain a link from the deposited version to the publication site, a URL/ DOI (Document Object Identifier) must be used.

6. Research publications in Open Access Journals must also be deposited in an Open Access repository in the same way as other publications.

7. In accordance with the National Principles on Open Access Policy Statement, where possible, research data supporting the publication should also be made available in an open access repository whenever feasible and linked to associated publication. European and national data protection rules must be taken into account in relation to research data, as well as concerns regarding trade secrets, confidentiality or national security.

8. All research publications must acknowledge the HRB as the source of research funding, and also include details of the award within the metadata. Researchers will be required to provide acknowledgment of open access publishing as part of the grant evaluation process.

Software, together with methods and algorithms, are not directly covered by Open Access repositories. However, in keeping with best practice of scientific reproducibility, key scientific results should be made available openly wherever possible.


How does Open Access work?

Information on Irish institutional repositories, including those within academic institutions and within the health service executive, is available through RIAN,



[1] Open Society Institute (2002). Budapest Open Access Initiative and reaffirmed in 2012 BOAI-10: Budapest Open Access Initiative after 10 years ‘Recommendations’:

[2] European Commission ‘Recommendations on Access to and Preservation of  Scientific Information’, July 2012:

[3] European Commission ‘Communication Towards better access to scientific information: Boosting the benefits of public investments in research’

[4] OECD Principles and Guidelines on Access to Research Data from Public Funding’

[5] National Principles for Open Access Policy Statement.