Policy for open access in the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework

Make sure your publication is eligible for the next REF.

'Open access' aims to make the findings of academic research available electronically without charge and free from most copyright or licensing restrictions.  To further this aim, all four funding councils for research in the UK have launched an open access policy for the next REF.

The Policy states that journal articles and conference proceedings must be available in an open-access form to be eligible for the post-2014 REF. In practice, this means that these outputs must be uploaded to an institutional repository at the point of acceptance for publication.

Which outputs are included in the Policy?
The Policy applies to all journal articles or conference proceeding (with an ISSN) accepted for publication after 1st April 2016.

What do you need to do?
As soon as your paper is accepted for publication by a journal or a conference with proceedings published with an ISSN, you should:

  • create a record in Pure for the output - either an article or conference contribution.
  • Add details of the title of paper, journal / conference title, authors, date of acceptance of the paper and any other data
  • upload the Author Accepted Manuscript to Pure

Outputs deposited in Pure more than three months after acceptance by the journal or conference will not be eligible for the next REF, unless an exception is applicable.

Which version of a paper should you deposit in Pure?
The Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) is the version of the paper after peer-review but before any typesetting or proof-reading process has been carried out.

The pre-print (Author's Own Manuscript) is the version submitted to the publisher, and in almost all cases this should not be deposited as it has not been peer-reviewed.

If you publish your paper as gold open access (ie openly accessible on the publisher's website with a CC-BY licence), you can deposit and/or link to the Publisher's Final Version of the paper rather than the AAM.  However, we encourage you to also deposit in Pure the AAM within three months of acceptance.

The Library will check and set any embargo period on access to the full-text of the paper required by the publisher, and will check the metadata and copyright.  Your Pure research output record will then be validated by the Library within one month of deposit in Pure.  When the embargo period on the paper passes, the paper will automatically be available to be read online by anyone (open access).

Embargo periods
REF rules state that journal embargo periods to open access to the deposited paper, after publication online, should not exceed the following maxima:

  • 12 months for REF Main Panel A and REF Main Panel B
  • 24 months for REF Main Panel C and REF Main Panel D

Outputs still under embargo will be accepted for REF, as long as the first publication period is within the REF publication period.

You can check if your journal meets the REF Open Access requirements by using the Sherpa REF service, which collates information from publishers.

If your journal does not meet the REF Open Access deposit requirements, if it is the best journal for the paper, it can be entered into the REF as an exception (section 37).  You do not need to pay for open access for your paper to be eligible for REF submission.

For more information, see: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/rsrch/oa/

You can also contact open.access@hw.ac.uk


About Open Access
Open Access publications are those which are freely available online, published with the permission of the copyright holder (the publisher and/or the author).

Why make your publications open access?

  • Wider access to your work with potentially an increase on citations
  • Research funders are increasingly requiring that publications resulting from their research funding are made available via Open Access

There are two key routes to open access:

Gold Open Access: article is freely available through the journal website, either in an open access journal, or in a subscription journal that allows specific articles to be made open access sometimes on payment of an open access fee - usually called an Article Processing Charge (APC)

Green Open Access: freely accessible through an open access repository, an institutional repository such as Pure or arXiv, PubMed, by deposit of a pre-print or post-print (Author Final Version or Author Accepted Version) of the article.

If you are required by RCUK to make your publication Open Access, there is information here on open access funding and RCUK requirements.