PGR Supervisors Library checklist

This checklist highlights Library advice, information and resources designed to support supervisors of students registered for a research degree at The Open University. 

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


Discover key services for researchers

Familiarise yourself with the services available to your student(s) by visiting the Services for You page on the Library website.

Copyright and your student's thesis: Find out more about permissions needed to include third-party copyright materials in a research degree thesis

The process of seeking permission to use copyrighted content should be considered by your student(s) as early as possible. When they submit their thesis to Open Research Online  (ORO) they will be required to sign a document to confirm they have obtained all necessary permissions to use any third-party copyrighted content in their work. Recommend our Copyright and your Thesis podcast and guide (OU login required) to your student(s), where we provide details of how, when, and why to seek permission to include third-party copyrighted material in a thesis, as well as what to do if your student is pursuing a PhD by published works. Direct them to our Copyright and your thesis training sessions, too.

Read our plagiarism guidance for Postgraduate Researchers

There are additional complexities regarding referencing and plagiarism that PGRs may face. This plagiarism guide (OU login required) was designed with them in mind. Why not take a look for yourself and encourage your student(s) to work through this guide to test their understanding?

Ask your student(s) to look out for training sessions offered by the Library and Library Research Support Team

The Library offers a number of training sessions that run periodically and cover topics such as "Reference management tools - an Introduction" and "Smarter searching with library databases". The Research Support Team offers a range of training across different areas designed to support Postgraduate Researchers. Talk to your student(s) about the training sessions we offer and encourage them to sign up. 

Help your student(s) learn about tools that will help them to manage their references

See the Bibliographic management page on the Library website, and refer them to our tips and tricks guides to Mendeley and EndNote.

Visiting the Library building and accessing services

Opening hours and support

The Library building is open from Monday to Friday, 09:00-17:00. During this time, you and your student(s) can access our collections, borrow items, and use study areas and meeting spaces. Library staff will be located on the ground floor to welcome and assist you with any library-related enquiries you have.

Let your student(s) know that the PGR Common Room, located on the ground floor, is open to them 24/7 with swipe card access. They will need to have their ID cards activated by Security to gain access. Please also note that access to the main Library building will not be permitted after hours.

How to join the Open University Library

Find out how to join the Library and borrow, renew, and return items at Walton Hall. Students will need to activate the barcode on their ID card.

Suggest new titles

Can’t find a book in our Library collection? Open University staff may suggest new titles for the library stock.

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 our Document Delivery and Inter-library Loan services

You and your student(s) can use the Document Delivery and Inter-library loan services to get items that the Library doesn’t have in stock. You will need to join the Library before accessing this service.

Learn about tools that will help your student(s) manage references

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

Data management

Get help with your data management plan (DMP)

Visit our pages on data management plans to find out what a data management plan (DMP) is, learn what research funders expect from a DMP and find guidance on writing a DMP. You can also contact us to request that we review a draft 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 student's research degree is funded, please ask them to check our list of funder requirements.

Check out our deals and discounts on Open Access publishing fees

Library Services has deals with certain publishers, meaning eligible staff and students can publish their research Open Access without any direct cost to them. We also have discount deals. Visit our page on publishing deals for full details, including terms and conditions.

NB: deals are only available to current OU-affiliated research staff and postgraduate research students (excluding visiting researchers and ARC students).

Find out about 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. The University Code of Practice for Research states that all applicable research publications should be deposited on ORO. ORO disseminates the outcomes from our research, helping to facilitate its impact, influence on policy and practice and ability to change lives for the better. Your student(s) will be required to upload their thesis to ORO upon completion. This copy of their work will be openly available, unless an embargo is agreed at the start of their studies, and a DataCite digital object identifier (DOI) will be created which provides a permanent, citable web link. Work with your student(s) to familiarise them with ORO and discuss the potential benefits open sharing can bring.

Discuss adding your student’s data to Open Research Data Online (ORDO) upon project completion

Open Research Data Online (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. Encouraging your student(s) to upload their data here at the end of their research project will help to preserve the data long-term and allow other researchers to potentially benefit from their work.

Securing approvals for your research project

For guidance and advice on securing the required approvals for your research project join us at a Research Approval Advice Drop-in. Use this link to join on the 3rd Tuesday of every month 11:00am - 12:00pm, hosted by Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC), Information Rights, Library Research Support and Student Research Project Panel (SSRP).

Stay connected


Contact us

Library Research Support team