ARC students Library checklist

This checklist highlights Library advice, information, and resources designed to help you succeed as a student at an Affiliated Research Centre (ARC) affiliated with The Open University. 

A PDF file of this checklist is available for you to download and view offline at your convenience The Open University ARC Students Library checklist (pdf).



Introduction to our services

As an ARC postgraduate researcher at The Open University, you will have access to the full range of Open University online services and resources. Take a look at our OU Library Welcome video found on the Graduate School Network's Affiliated Research Centre Students page to find out more.

Attend a Library online training session 

The Library’s training sessions will introduce you to the OU library, show you how to use online resources effectively, and help with finding resources. The Library offers a number of training sessions and events that run periodically and cover topics such as "Reference management tools - an Introduction" and "Smarter searching with library databases".

Attend training sessions offered by the Library Research Support Team​

The Research Support Team offers a range of training sessions across different areas designed to support you, including sessions on research data management, Open Access publishing, ORCIDs, and data sharing. Sign up to one of our sessions.

Visit the Library website to explore library resources

The Library website is your gateway to the extensive library content provided by The Open University. Use the Library Search box to start searching for resources such as ebooks, databases, journals or journal articles. Alternatively, use the Library Resources tab to browse for resources. Most of our content is available online.

Learn about Library Helpdesk and our 24/7 Chat to a Librarian service

Find links to contact the Library Helpdesk on every page of the Library Services website. including details of our webchat service if you need assistance with library resources or services.

Discover key services for postgraduate researchers

The Services for postgraduate researchers page on the Library website contains links to relevant information and services to all postgraduate researchers. 

Set up Google Scholar to link to full text resources provided by Library Services 

Instructions for setting up Google Scholar are available on the Library website. 

Check out LEAN Library and BrowZine tools 

The LEAN Library access browser extension will alert you whenever you are on a website that The Open University has a subscription for, helping you to find the content you want with a single click!

BrowZine offers Library users a different way to browse content by subject across a range of journal publications, allowing you to build a personal bookshelf of favourite journals, and also to save articles to other services such as EndNote and DropBox.

Find out about the SCONUL Access scheme 

The SCONUL Access scheme allows all UK-based ARC students to access other libraries near you. Join the scheme early on to make sure your application is processed ready for you to use at all participating libraries in the UK.

Find out about our Document Delivery and Inter-library Loan services

You can use the Document Delivery and Inter-library Loan services to get items that the Library doesn’t have in stock. 

Learn about tools that will help you manage your references

See the Bibliographic management page, and take a look at our tips and tricks guides to Mendeley and EndNote.

Copyright, plagiarism, and your thesis

We recommend you think about securing permission for any third party copyrighted material early on. Take a look at the Research Skills site (OU login required) to help you make a start. Follow this activity to learn about different forms of plagiarism and how to avoid them during the production of your thesis (OU login required).

Data management

Write a data management plan (DMP)

Data management plans (DMPs) help formulate how you’ll store and manage your research data throughout your project. Research data is the evidence on which researchers build their analytic or other work, collected, observed or created for the purposes of analysis to produce and validate original research results. Examples are: images, video and audio; survey results and interview transcripts; experimental observations; text corpuses; notebooks and lab books; models and software. Contact the Research Support team for advice; we can check your DMP for you.

Read about the potential benefits of sharing your research data

There is lots of information and guidance on data sharing on the Library Research Support website.

Open Access

NEW for 2023/24 - join our new Open Research Community on Viva Engage

The Research Support Team have just launched a new Open Research Community on Microsoft Viva Engage (formerly Yammer). This will be a forum for posting relevant news, developments, and policy updates and for prompting questions, debates, and discussions on the direction of Open Research; as well as for sharing services and tools to support researchers in navigating this fast-paced world. This will be an inclusive, supportive, and active community for researchers and research support staff across the Open University to interact, discuss, share knowledge, and encourage good working practices to embed a culture of Open Research. Why not join the conversation today by joining the Open Research Community.

Find out about Open Access publishing

Open Access aims to make the research process more transparent and published outputs from research accessible to all. Making research outputs Open Access can increase their readership and impact. Research funders increasingly require research data and published outputs to be made Open Access. If your research degree is funded, please check our list of funder requirements.

Familiarise yourself with Open Research Online (ORO)

Open Research Online (ORO) is The Open University’s open access repository of research publications. It contains records of research outputs published by OU staff and postgraduate research students and theses of former research students. Many of the ORO records also have the full-text of the publications attached. All postgraduate researchers are required to deposit the full-text of their thesis in ORO and a DataCite digital object identifier (DOI) will be created which provides a permanent citable web link.

Find out about Open Research Data Online (ORDO)

Open Research Data Onlline (ORDO) is The Open University’s research data repository, where Open University researchers can upload their data for long-term preservation and, where appropriate, sharing e.g., at the end of a project or supporting a publication. Data stored in ORDO will be kept for a minimum of ten years after project completion. Published data will be given a DataCite digital object identifier (DOI), providing a permanent, citable web link.

Investigate tools that help you find Open Access versions of research publications

Take a look at Open Access Button and Unpaywall. There is also CORE and EndNote Click, formerly known as Kopernio.

Set up ORCID

ORCID is a unique digital identifier that helps ensure you get credit for your published work.

Stay connected

Contact us

Library Research Support team