Doctoral School

What do you do?

There are many staff in professional services across campus working to support doctoral researchers. In this regular item we will be highlighting a staff member and service supporting the doctoral community & telling you a bit more about their role, and how they can help you.

Name: Dr Catrina HeyImage of Dr Catrina Hey
Role: Open Access & Repository Support Officer
Department/Division: The Library

What do you do?

I provide guidance and training to doctoral researchers, research staff, and research support staff around Open Access publishing and use of the University’s digital archive of published research output, Sussex Research Online (SRO).

With around 31,000 publication records, of which 4000 are full text- including doctoral theses - SRO can be accessed by anyone online, increasing the visibility and usage of research and leading to increased citation impact. As a doctoral researcher at Sussex, all of the publications you add to SRO can be displayed on your Sussex online profile, and if you’ve added the full text you can download statistics in SRO to help you find out who has been accessing your work worldwide - you may also see the Altmetrics logo if it’s been mentioned on social media.

With the academic publishing landscape changing so much at the moment, it’s also part of my role to help Sussex researchers understand the complexities of open access publishing beyond SRO. Open access publishing is exciting and there are huge benefits, but it can also be a confusing world to navigate. There are two different routes to open access. The first route is Green (where you add a version of your published work to an repository such as SRO) and the second route is Gold (where your publication is made available immediately from the journal homepage, often requiring payment of a fee).

What support do you offer to doctoral researchers?

I provide support to doctoral researchers around all aspects of SRO, as well as open access publishing more generally. I receive queries from individual researchers through our dedicated e-mail addresses (see below) and I also provide guidance to groups of doctoral researchers through regular workshops delivered with the Library Research Support team as part of the Researcher Development Programme.

With digital repositories such as SRO becoming increasingly part of the academic workflow, and many UK funders requiring journal articles to be made available via open access, I strongly encourage doctoral researchers to start looking at SRO as early as possible in their career. If you are a funded doctoral researcher, you can find out whether your funder has open access requirements.. With permissions varying by publishers and journals, it can sometimes be complicated to work out how to comply with the open access requirements of funders, so if you’re not sure please do get in touch with us.

How can doctoral researchers get in touch?

Doctoral researchers can get in touch by sending an e-mail to with any questions or queries relating to SRO.

If you are looking for some advice on open access publishing beyond SRO, you can reach us at

What’s the most common question you are asked by doctoral researchers?

Doctoral researchers often ask me what they can put on SRO so that is displayed on their web profile, if they haven’t yet published anything. Although the majority of records on SRO are journal articles, books, and book chapters, I advise doctoral researchers to consider adding any conference papers that they have authored to SRO.

It’s really easy to add new records to the system, and staff in the Library will check any submission you make before making them live. Take a look at the five steps for adding an item to SRO or check out our detailed guide for authors.

I’m also often asked how funds can be raised to follow the Gold route to open access, where a fee or ‘article processing charge’ (APC) is often required. These charges can vary enormously, from £200 up to £5000 depending on the journal.

The Library supports researchers to publish in open access journals at a reduced cost through a number of institutional memberships and initiatives. In addition, there are funds administered by the Library for RCUK funded researchers who require the Gold route to open access. If you require Gold open access but are not funded by RCUK, it is definitely worth investigating whether there is any support available from your department.

Are there any useful online resources doctoral researchers need to know about?

The key online resources I would point doctoral researchers towards are Sussex Research Online and the Library Research Support pages on Open Access.  You can also read our frequently asked questions about SRO and our FAQs on Open Access.

I’d also recommend taking a look at Excursions, Sussex’ own interdisciplinary peer-reviewed open access journal, run by doctoral researchers.

Finally, the Research Hive Seminar Series this year includes ‘Moving towards an Open Access future’, which will be taking place on Thursday 26th March, 12:00 – 14:00 in the Library Meeting Room.  The seminar will explore the wider implications of open access on the nature of research and for institutions, and is ideal for doctoral researchers who would like to broaden their open access knowledge.

Doctoral School