REF2021 Open Access Policy
What outputs are affected?
Journal articles and conference proceedings with an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) accepted for publication after 1 April 2016 need to made publicly available within 3 months of acceptance or, in cases where that is not possible, within 3 months of the publication date.
Journal articles, and conference proceedings with an ISSN number, accepted for publication after 1 April 2018 need to made publicly available within 3 months of acceptance or, in cases where that is not possible, a valid execption must be applied.
The policy does not apply to monographs or other long form publications, to non-textual outputs, research data, conference proceedings published with an International Standard Book Number (ISBN), or publications that must remain confidential for security or commercial reasons. Journal articles and conference proceedings published before 1 April 2016 are not subject to the policy.
Open Access criteria
The REF policy states that "..outputs should be deposited, discoverable, and free to read, download and search within, by anyone with an internet connection".
To comply, the final peer-reviewed manuscript of all articles and conference proceedings must be deposited in an open access institutional or subject repository within 3 months of acceptance. Authors should deposit their accepted version, the version post peer review but before any copyediting or layout work has taken place. The final journal article or conference paper does not have to be published as ‘gold’ open access, i.e. you do not have to pay an open access fee or APC, to be eligible for REF 2021.
Journal article or Conference Proceeding with ISSN
needs to be deposited in an institutional repository (Pure)
no later than 3 months after the date of acceptance
needs to be the 'final author version' or 'post-print' which can be replaced with the final published PDF version at a later date.
To comply with the REF2021 Open Access policy, Authors should send their acceptance e-mail and final accepted manuscript to email@example.com . Library colleagues will check your journal’s open access permissions, create the Pure entry and upload the manuscript.
More information on open access and the support available through the library is available on https://www.abdn.ac.uk/library/support/open-access-212.php Or directly from the REF website : www.ref.ac.uk/publications
Publications under embargo are acceptable to REF, as long as the embargo periods imposed by journal publishers do not exceed the following lengths:
- 12 months for REF Main Panels A and B (STEM subjects)
- 24 months for REF Main Panels C and D (HASS subjects)
Outputs still under embargo can be selected for REF2021 provided that the date of first publication is still within the REF reporting period.
There are a limited number of situations where an output may be exempt from the open access policy, these exceptions fall under the headings deposit, access and technical exceptions. It is anticipated that exceptions will be rare however, if you think an exception may apply to your publication please contact the open access team for advice.
Any output that falls within the scope of this policy and is submitted to the REF2021 but does not meet the requirements without a valid exception will be given an unclassified score and will not be assessed.
- Open Access Exceptions
In certain circumstances a paper can be submitted to the REF even though it does not comply with the REF Open Access Policy. There are three types of exceptions that can be applied to an output.
- Deposit exceptions: these exceptions deal with cases where the output is unable to meet the deposit requirements, or has been made open access via another route.
- Access exceptions: these exceptions deal with cases where deposit of the output is possible but there are issues with meeting the access requirements. The accepted manuscript should still be deposited as soon as possible.
- Technical exceptions: these exceptions deal with cases where an output is unable to meet the criteria due to a technical issue.
Even if an exception applies the accepted manuscript should be added to Pure within 3 months of acceptance, or in the case of new staff as soon as possible after joining the university.
Some examples of exceptions are outlined below
- An output made publicly accessible through the Gold open access rule will be compliant, as long as its details are entered into the institutional repository within three months of publication.
- An output published in a journal whose embargo periods exceed 12 months for STEM or 24 months for HASS subjects, or journals that do not allow any open access publishing, can be compliant if the journal represents the most appropriate forum for publication of the specific article. The bibliographic details of the article must be made publicly available on the institutional repository within 3 months of acceptance, or where that is not possible, within 3 months of publication.
- Outputs by authors who were not employed by a UK institution at the time of acceptance will be provided with a deposit exception.
Exceptions are recorded in Pure by the Library team and monitored as part of the preparation process for REF2021. Even if an exception applies the accepted manuscript should be added to Pure within 3 months of acceptance.
If you think an exception may apply to your publication please contact the open access team for advice.
- Open Access Policy
OPEN ACCESS MANDATE FOR REF
The REF open access mandate for journal articles came into force on 1 April 2016. This means that all journal articles and some conference proceedings have to be publicly accessible within three months of acceptance for publication in order to be eligible for submission for the next REF. Failure to meet this requirement renders the output ineligible for submission to a future REF Assessment.
How do I comply with the mandate?
You may be aware that we have been working on institutional processes to comply with the REF open access mandate for some time. It is a three stage process:
Before submission, check the access permissions of the journal in which you are planning to publish on http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/index.php. If it allows the deposit of the final accepted manuscript in an institutional repository, then the journal is REF compliant. If it is not (and we estimate that around 80% of journals are compliant), please speak to your College Director of Research in the first instance. If you are unsure about the access permissions, colleagues in the library will be able to advise: firstname.lastname@example.org
On acceptance, please forward your final accepted manuscript and acceptance e-mail promptly to email@example.com. Colleagues in the Library will enter the detail into Pure and enable open access where possible. Where the publisher requires an embargo, colleagues in the Library will set the embargo for you. Please let us have details of all papers, even those that cannot be made publicly available so we can ascertain whether an exception applies.
On publication, please let the Library know on firstname.lastname@example.org, so that the publication record in Pure can be completed and embargoes, where required, can be activated.
The rules allow for some exceptions which are detailed in the REF Guidance, paragraphs 223-255
Recording and monitoring compliance with the REF open access mandate
We will only be able to select journal articles for submission for the next REF from among the articles that meet the REF open access requirements. For REF 2014, 80% of the outputs submitted were journal articles (around 1,800). In order to select the best we will have to make sure that as many of our journal articles comply with the REF open access mandate as possible. The mandate cannot be applied retrospectively – if we fail to make an output accessible within the period specified by REF, or to provide a valid justification within the same period, then the output is not eligible for submission.
Pure, which includes a module to assist us in preparations for REF 2021, allow us to record all eligible outputs, and enable researchers to propose outputs for submission. When you log into Pure you will find a blue button inviting you to propose outputs on your personal pages. The open access status of each output will be clearly marked by the open access symbol.
If your article is also subject to the Wellcome/RCUK/medical charities open access mandate
If you have paid an article processing charge to make your article publicly accessible (Gold Open Access), then it is REF compliant. However, we will still need information on when it was accepted by the publisher, and when it first became publicly available. The easiest way to comply is to forward your final manuscript with the acceptance e-mail to email@example.com and indicate that an APC will be payable from the RCUK or Charities Open Access Fund. You can find out more about funders’ open access mandates and how to comply with them on https://www.abdn.ac.uk/library/support/open-access-212.php
- Enhance your visibility
There are many things you can do to enhance the visibility of your research:
- Deposit your publications in the university repository (Pure)
- Create an ORCID and link it to Pure
- Publish Open Access
- Produce a short video pitch on your main research topic
- Blog and tweet selectively on your research topics
- Share an early version of your paper as pre-print (ArXiv, bioRxiv, preprints.org, Cognet, RepEc, SSRN, PeerJ Preprints etc.)
- Share your data (FigShare, Dryad, UK Data Archive, Institutional Repository (Pure), etc.)
- Use a stable and full author name and affiliation
- Use your ORCID when publishing and applying for funding
- Use research profiles to unambiguously link publications to you
- Analyse who is using your research and through which channels
- Avoid journals that are not well-indexed
- Open Access Guidance
To help you comply with the REF2021 Open Access Policy we have prepared some resources
- Downloadable guide
- An open access workflow chart
- you can also visit the Library pages for more information
A summary of the REF Open Access Policy is below:
Institutional repository (AURA; deposit through Pure)
Within 3 months of acceptance for publication or
Where embargo applies, deposit must be made and metadata must be discoverable within 3 months of acceptance for publication
Acceptable embargo periods:
12 months Panels A, B (STEM)
24 months Panels C,D (HASS)
'final author version' or 'post-print' which can be replaced with the final published PDF version at a later date.
Conference proceedings with ISSN number
Subject repositories – arXiv; Pubmed Central
What should researchers do?
- Before submission: check whether the journal you plan to submit your article to is REF compliant: www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- On acceptance: e-mail confirmation e-mail or letter, together with the final accepted version of the output to:email@example.com
- On publication: complete bibliographic detail in Pure or notify firstname.lastname@example.org
E-mail email@example.com or find out more on the Library pages
Policy and FAQ links
- https://www.ukri.org/funding/information-for-award-holders/open-access/ref-2021-open-access-policy/ REF2021 Open Access Policy
- https://www.ref.ac.uk/faqs/ - REF2021 FAQ document
- https://www.ref.ac.uk/guidance/ - REF2021 Guidance
Helpful Tools and Compliance Guides
- http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ - Creative Commons, licences explained
- http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/fact/index.php - Sherpa Fact an Open Access Journal compliance checker
- http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/index.php?la=en - Sherpa Romeo, a guide to Journals' and Publishers' Open Access Policies
- http://www.jisc.ac.uk/open-access - JISC resources for Open Access
- https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-open-up-publicly-funded-research - Government announcement on Open Access
- http://www.researchinfonet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Finch-Group-report-FINAL-VERSION.pdf - The Finch Report