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We recognise that different research requires different computing facilities and equipment. We aim to provide the appropriate computing equipment and support to enable you to conduct your research effectively. If you are based on campus, you will have exclusive access to a fully networked personal computer for word processing, email, access to electronic libraries, software development and so on. In some research areas, specialist computing hardware and software is provided.


Using the OU Library at Walton Hall

Library Services combines the best traditional library facilities and services with the latest technologies and learning opportunities, to provide a modern, quiet, spacious environment for study and research as well as access to books, journals, multimedia and the internet. Library Services has a dedicated study room for researchers to use, with a collection of research-methodology books. There is also a seminar room in the library dedicated to research-related activities.

Your online Library

As an OU research student you have access to our world-class online library service. The Library website is a gateway to a wide range of online information resources that can help you develop your research. These include full-text journal articles, electronic books, statistics, newspapers, images, theses and conference proceedings. You can make use of these online resources to:

  • develop your research
  • keep up-to-date with your subject.

The Information Skills for Researchers online tutorial is designed to help you through the research process.

The Library also supports the bibliographic software packages EndNote and RefWorks.

The OU Library Research page provides details of services available to researchers.

Document delivery

Both full-time and part-time research students can take advantage of the document delivery service for items that are not available through the Library Services’ extensive range of electronic resources. You will also be able to use The British Libraries EThOS service ( for free access to full text British Doctoral Theses.

Open Research Online (ORO)

The OU’s freely accessible, open-access database of peer-reviewed research - Open Research Online - shows the range and depth of recently published OU research. An increasing number of the 14,000-plus items on ORO include full-texts of the articles. See ORO.

Access to other libraries

If you would like to use other libraries, you can find out about suitable ones near you by checking the access arrangements at Library Services.

The OU Library is a member of the SCONUL Access scheme, so postgraduate research students can borrow from over 160 university libraries throughout the UK and Ireland.

Access to national libraries

All OU students are entitled to apply for a free pass to use the British Library's reading rooms at St Pancras in London. You will need to present two forms of identification as proof of your identity and the details of your programme of study. The National Libraries of Scotland and Wales also welcome OU students.

Laboratories and equipment

Since 2005, the University has invested £12.4 million in new laboratory facilities. The latest addition is the Jennie Lee Building, which opened in 2008, with dedicated laboratories for pervasive computing and deployment of ambient and ubiquitous technologies.

We have new laboratories for design, music, ecosystems and geobiology, and atomic, molecular and plasma research. Other laboratories for biomedical, cognitive psychological and environmental research have all been modernised recently.

Details of the specialist equipment and facilities available are listed on the individual subject area pages of this web site.

Additional equipment and services

If you have a disability or other need for which you might need an adjustment to be made in order to participate fully in your studies, please let us know as soon as you can.  You will normally be asked to apply for a Disabled Students’ Allowance to cover the cost of any additional equipment or services – we will tell you how to do this when we send your offer of registration.

Your questions

For advice about applying for a research degree, or sponsoring a research student, send us an email or call +44 (0)1908 654882.