About Spiral

Since July 2007, Imperial College London has provided an Institutional Repository, called ‘Spiral’, to archive text-based research outputs and make them open access. All staff and doctoral students are entitled to deposit any text-based work for which they have authorship and sharing rights in Spiral. They can do this via Symplectic Elements which is the College’s Current Research Information System which the same research community uses to maintain its research profile such as grants and publications.

Spiral is run on open-source software called DSpace (va5.10) and holds over 70,000 full-text items (October 2020). It is freely available to the public, and uses the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) which facilitates indexing by Google Scholar as and Open Access content aggregators such as Core, Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE), OpenAIRE, the British Library’s EThOS service and many others. Help and guidance on depositing to Spiral can be found on the Spiral pages of the Library Services website.


Since January 2012 Imperial's open access policy requires all research publications, subject to publishers’ copyright policies, to be deposited into the Spiral repository. Since April 2016, a UK wide open access policy for the Research Excellence Framework (REF), require all journal articles and conference papers to be deposited in a repository within 3 months of publication. From 1 April 2018 the REF policy required deposit of the accepted manuscript within 3 months of acceptance. Since 1 March 2013, an added mandate requires doctoral theses submitted for examination and authored by Imperial students to be automatically made open access in Spiral. Students can delay the release of a thesis to the public by applying for an embargo. Students also own the copyright to their work and are free to apply a Creative Commons Licence of their choice.

Publishing reports with Spiral

Spiral can also be a home for any research that is not intended for journal publication, or research that authors wish to share more rapidly than journal publishing, or preprint platforms allow. For these items, a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) will be assigned, which is a permanent and identifiable URL that is widely used across academic publishing. The DOI also makes it easier for readers to find the publication online.

More Information

More information on publishing your reports can be found via the Library Services’ Publishing with Spiral web pages. See our FAQs (frequently asked questions) for more information about open access, uploading publications to Spiral and managing research publications. You can also contact us at openacess@imperial.ac.uk or Book a one to one or training session for help.