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How to use BIROn

The Birkbeck Institutional Research Online (BIROn) repository provides open access to published work by researchers at Birkbeck - both students and staff. 

Your initial deposit will take less than 10 minutes: you just log in using your ITS username and password (you can reset those if necessary here) and then enter details of your publications. 

Watch our BIROn walk-through video. 

Contact us 

For general, technical and copyright queries, please . Alternatively, you can contact your subject librarian

What to deposit  

  • You can deposit any research output you have published while affiliated with Birkbeck, including: 
    • journal articles 
    • working/discussion papers 
    • book chapters 
    • conference/workshop items 
    • other forms of research output 
  • If you leave Birkbeck, your work will be maintained on BIROn as a record of the College's research output. 
  • You can also deposit any work published before you joined Birkbeck, either manually or by importing records from your old institution's repository. This enables us to comply with the UKRI Open Access policy
  • Both the College and the Research Councils specify that the author's accepted manuscript (AAM) is the version you should deposit. This is the last draft you worked on after peer review, but prior to the publisher's proofing stage. (Depositing or linking to proofs or the version of record does not satisfy Research Council requirements.) 
    • Full-text deposit is mandatory, but access to the full-text can be restricted if necessary to comply with publisher embargoes. The file is automatically unlocked after the embargo expiration date. 
    • Uploading complete monographs is not permitted: in these instances, we either request publisher permission to use a sample chapter or provide a citation-only record. 
  • Author's accepted manuscripts are usually - though not always - deposited in Microsoft Word format (.doc, .docx). We will convert these to PDF/A where feasible, and save the original Word file separately. BIROn can also host multimedia: videos, pictures and sound files. 

When to deposit  

  • Journal articles and conference publications can be deposited immediately upon acceptance by a journal, in order to be eligible for the next REF exercise. 
  • All other published research outputs remain subject to Birkbeck's own open access mandate, which similarly requires deposits at the point of acceptance. 
  • If you wish, you can request that your publication is removed or restricted, although this could have implications for the Research Excellence Framework (REF). 
  • Equally, we reserve the right to remove work for any professional, administrative or legal reason, though a historical record of its existence will remain visible. 

Help with depositing 

  • Depositing your own work is far more efficient and is now required by HEFCE/UKRI at the point of acceptance for articles and conference publications. 
  • We can deposit items on your behalf only in limited circumstances:
  • We will check all copyright, regardless of deposit method. 

Immediate publication  

  • New deposits will go live online immediately, rather than awaiting 'online first' publication on a publisher's platform. This is to comply with UKRI's guidance about open access. This will not affect embargoes on full-text files. There will still be a review process, but metadata (including abstracts) will be available much earlier than previously and will often preempt the journal. 
  • If this could cause problems with your publisher, please let us know by making a note in the 'comments and suggestions' field of the relevant BIROn record. 

amending existing entries  

Saving and exporting searches 

  • Registered users can save and export searches and configure alerts according to your search criteria. 
    • View your saved searches by following the link in the navigation bar. 
    • Search results can be exported in 15 formats, including Endnote and Reference Manager. Choose one from the drop-down list at the head of your search results. 
  • Non-registered users - i.e., students and Birkbeck-affiliated researchers - can set up an RSS/Atom feed for each search to keep up to date with new entries matching your search criteria. RSS/Atom feeds can also be added to personal web pages to provide a dynamic publications list. 

Research funders' open access policies 

third-party copyright and fair dealing 

  • Third-party copyright covers portions of a work that do not belong to the author or the publisher, including text, diagrams, photographs and tables. If you use such material without the creator's permission, you may infringe their copyright. 
  • Fair dealing applies when a portion of the work is used which is 'less than substantial', but, as the law does not define 'substantial', this is entirely dependent on the context and on its significance in both your own and the original work. 
  • Please do not assume that a third-party work that has been cleared for publication in a journal is automatically cleared for use in BIROn. If in doubt,
  • Depositing copyrighted material: it depends on the publisher, but most allow self-archiving, even when the author has reassigned copyright. You can check journal policies on SHERPA-ROMEO. If in doubt, , and we will ask publishers to clarify copyright conditions. 
    • Your publisher may refuse to allow self-archiving, as per the terms of your agreement with them.

receiving requests to access your work 

  • If the full text of your work is locked, users can request a copy under the terms of fair dealing. This is at your discretion and your contact details are never revealed. The file must not be distributed further by the recipient. 
  • If you leave Birkbeck, we can amend your contact email so you continue to receive requests in this way. 


  • If you are considering depositing material on ResearchGate, we advise caution. We do not recommend it as a solution for providing open access because: 
    • ResearchGate is not sufficient to comply with the open access policy for the next Research Excellence Framework (REF)
    • Although it harvests metadata from BIROn and other institutional repositories, ResearchGate’s terms of service forbid anyone else from harvesting their data in turn, which goes against the spirit of open access. 
    • ResearchGate is generally considered a commercial service, which means the repository - and any work hosted there - could disappear if funding ceases. 
    • ResearchGate appears to have no system to prevent illegal uploading of publications, unlike BIROn. ResearchGate's terms and conditions place legal responsibility - and any potential costs - on authors. 
  • ResearchGate and are social networking sites, not institutional repositories - read more in this University of California blog post