Open Access Week 2021: what’s new in the NHS?

Published on 27 October 2021, by Helene Gorring

Repositories, Open access

Open Access Week and British Library NHS Shared Repository Update

Pilot NHS Shared Repository now live! 

Funded by HEE and hosted by the British Library, a beta version of NHS Shared Repository is now live at 

The 12-month project to develop and evaluate the repository commenced in June 2021 and involves six sites: Barts Health NHS Trust, Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, a consortium of Black Country libraries, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, and the Norfolk & Waveney Integrated Care System. 

Tim Jacobs, Online Resources Librarian at the Christie NHS Foundation Trust, has been seconded to the role of NHS Repository Co-ordinator and is working with the pilot sites and the British Library to develop and populate the repository.  

The repository uses the Open Source software, Samvera Hyku, which is jointly provided through a contract with CoSector and Notch8. 

A key aim of the pilot is to capture ‘near research’ and ‘grey literature’ which contains valuable learning from practice but is typically less readily discoverable than formally published research.  As colleagues know, repositories can be integrated into the NHS Knowledge and Library Hub: the ambulance research repository, amber, has already been included, so this could be a future option for this repository. 


Screenshot of the homepage of the NHS shared repository
The NHS shared repository 

The repository now includes over 1,000 records. Whilst still very much in development, we would value your thoughts: please take a look and let us know! 


Open Access work with NIHR 

Earlier this year, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) published its policy on open access publishing of UKRI-funded research. We expect the NHS National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to publish their own updated, aligned policy relating to NIHR-funded research very soon.  

Thanks largely to the work of Jisc, the academic community in the UK increasingly benefit from transformative (‘read and publish’) agreements with journal publishers. Currently these do not extend to NIHR-funded researchers from outside the academic community, and as we know, NHS researchers and potential researchers may struggle to obtain NIHR funding or indeed any means to pay to publish in open access journals, so continue to publish in subscription journals for which the NHS must pay to enable access.   

Collectively, we have some way to go to ‘building structural equity’ in the NHS! 

As a first step, the NIHR is working with Jisc to explore how their transformative agreements might be extended to all NIHR-funded authors. HEE is contributing to this work. 

Open access publishing continues to be of much interest to library leaders in health and social care sector, and on 16 November, HEE is hosting a roundtable discussion with representatives of the newly formed Health & Social Care Forum* and speakers from NIHR and Jisc to continue the debate. 


Feedback? Questions?  

Please e-mail [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you! 


*members include representatives from HEE, PHE, SCIE, UMHLG, SCONUL, CHILL, HLG, and Libraries Connected. 


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