What is HEFCE’s OA policy for REF2021?
From 1 April 2016, articles & conference papers will only be eligible for submission to the next REF if the Accepted Manuscript is deposited in an institutional or subject repository within 3 months of acceptance. From now on all Oxford academics and researchers (whether funded or unfunded) need to Act on Acceptance.
For more information please see HEFCE’s FAQ.
Which version of my work is the accepted manuscript?
This is the final accepted version of the manuscript that is ready for publisher typesetting. You don’t usually have the right to deposit typeset or ‘publisher’ versions. What we’re looking for is the final ‘author version’ – the final revised typescript, before the publisher’s copy-editing, proof corrections, layout and typesetting. For more on this see HEFCE’s FAQ at http://www.hefce.ac.uk/rsrch/oa/FAQ/#deposit4.
What is the date of acceptance?
This is the date when the output was ‘firmly’ accepted for publication (after all peer-review changes have been made and it is ready for publication), as opposed to any earlier ‘provisional’ or ‘conditional’ acceptance. It could be the date you, as author, considered you have been told by the editor of the acceptance of the paper even in an informal email. For more on this see HEFCE’s FAQ at http://www.hefce.ac.uk/rsrch/oa/FAQ/#deposit4.
What if I think that my publication will not be submitted to the next REF?
There is no way to know with certainty which publications may be needed for a future REF submission. Therefore researchers need to take individual and timely action for every journal article or conference proceeding that they produce.
I am a new member of staff. Should I upload my previous papers?
Yes – for REF purposes, please deposit the accepted manuscripts of any articles and conference papers that were accepted after 1st April 2016.
ORA will also accept material that isn’t specifically for the REF, including datasets, grey literature, and reports. Further information about ORA deposits can be found here.
I am a retired Fellow / Emeritus Professor. Should I upload my papers?
Yes please. Although the HEFCE policy doesn’t apply to retired staff, the university’s Act on Acceptance message is for everyone, and ORA welcomes the deposit of all Oxford-affiliated papers (and other publication types).
What if I already deposit in a subject repository?
Subject repositories do not meet the metadata requirements of the policy, for example, they do not collect ‘date of acceptance’, which will be required as part of the REF submission. They also do not necessarily meet the open access requirements of HEFCE’s policy. In order to ensure your publication complies with HEFCE’s requirements, you should deposit the manuscript in ORA.
Should I deposit if my article is being published ‘gold’ (immediate) open access?
Yes please. Oxford researchers are asked to Act on Acceptance for all articles and deposit within 3 months of acceptance. You can deposit the final pdf if available within the timeframe; if not please deposit the AAM (Author Accepted Manuscript). The ORA team will ensure that the gold OA version is made available through the ORA record, once the article has been published.
Can I deposit the publisher PDF (Version of Record) into ORA?Yes, if your article is being published ‘gold’ (immediate) open access. Please deposit within 3 months of acceptance. For other journals, probably not; normally copyright agreements for traditional subscription journals only allow deposit of author versions (such as the accepted manuscript) but not publisher versions (proofs, final pdf). Journals usually require a link to the final published version; the ORA team add this to the ORA record.
Sherpa Romeo has a list of publishers which allow deposit of published PDF (note this includes fully OA publishers where a fee may need to be paid in order to publish and therefore deposit).
Will the deposit be in breach of my publisher’s copyright? When does it become visible?
By doing this and adhering to the HEFCE policy authors will not be in breach of their contracts. The Bodleian team will make sure you deposit the right version and abide by copyright. Depositing your manuscript into ORA doesn’t mean that it will be made open access immediately. The Libraries will check embargo periods and licenses. The manuscript will only be made openly available when it is permissible, if and when it complies with the requirements of the funder and/or publisher, e.g. 12 months after publication.
Which version will actually be used during the REF assessment?
The final published version.
Can a link be added to the ORA version to point to the final published version?
Yes. This is part of the standard ORA record – once the article has been published, a link to the publisher website is added by the ORA staff.
Do I have to pay an open access fee or APC for my work to be eligible for the REF?
No. Deposit of the accepted version in an open access repository ensures eligibility; HEFCE policy does not ask for the final published version. You can choose to publish in a gold open access journal if that is the most appropriate publication for you, but it is not a requirement for REF.
Will the deposit meet the open access requirements of funders other than HEFCE?
HEFCE’s policy sits alongside the open access policies of other funders; it does not supersede them. You still need to check and meet the requirements of your funder.
What about multiple Oxford authors? Can one author deposit the manuscript on behalf of the other Oxford authors?
Yes. If Oxford Author A creates a record and deposits the AAM (Author Accepted Manuscript), their Oxford co-authors can simply Claim the record. They only need to upload a file if one hasn’t already been deposited. To check if a file has already been deposited:
- Check the record:
a) If it says ‘This publication has been deposited’ – there is no need to deposit another version.
b) If it says ‘This publication has not been deposited’ – please deposit the Author Accepted Manuscript.
Does each co-author have to upload? Should all Oxford authors of a manuscript individually deposit it?
No. If Author A creates a record and deposits the AAM (Author Accepted Manuscript), their co-authors can simply Claim the record. They only need to upload a file if one hasn’t already been deposited.
Here’s the procedure for co-authors:
Author A creates a record in Symplectic and deposits their manuscript; please include any Oxford co-authors when filling in the deposit form.
Author B searches for the article title, finds the record, ‘Claims’ it and checks to see if ‘This publication has been deposited’.
It’s important to Claim the existing record rather than creating a new, duplicate record.
Do I need to deposit co-authored papers where the corresponding author is at another UK university or overseas?
Yes please. Each institution is responsible for their own REF data gathering and submission. The University’s ‘Act on Acceptance’ policy asks for the deposit of all Oxford-affiliated articles into our institutional repository (ORA), to aid the discovery, dissemination and preservation of Oxford research.
Is there a simple explanation of the HEFCE OA policy I can use when asking non-UK lead authors for AAMs?
The following summary may be of use when contacting co-authors outside the UK who are unfamiliar with the REF to request a copy of the AAM:
The UK’s Higher Education Funding Councils have an Open Access policy that journal articles and conference papers (in publications with an ISSN) accepted since 1 April 2016 must be deposited in a repository within three (3) months of acceptance for publication, in order to be eligible for submission to the next Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), which has significant influence on the future funding of university departments.
In line with this policy, UK university researchers are required to deposit the final peer-reviewed manuscripts (Author Accepted Manuscripts – AAMs) of newly-accepted papers into their institutional repository.
An AAM is the final revised typescript, before the publisher’s copy-editing, proof corrections, layout and typesetting.
The REF is a periodic assessment of the quality and impact of UK university research, and the results are used to allocate research funding.
Does the HEFCE requirement apply to DPhil students?
No, the ‘act on acceptance’ requirement does not apply to research students. While DPhils may publish outputs that are later submitted to REF, those produced while the author was a student are exempt. They are covered by a policy exception, which excludes individuals not employed by a UK HEI at the time of submission for publication from the requirement to act.
DPhil students are nevertheless still able to deposit their publications into ORA. They may need to request a user account for Symplectic Elements to do so. Information about requesting new accounts can be found here.
How do I know whether my department is meeting the requirements of the policy?
The Open Access Project Group began monitoring readiness and numbers of deposit in October 2015. It has made reporting tools available to help departments and colleges to monitor and promote engagement locally. A list of local department/faculty OA contacts is on the Act on Acceptance page.
What do I do about my past papers (already published)?
The policy only applies to articles accepted from 1 April 2016. There’s no requirement for previously published articles to be deposited in order to make them eligible for the REF, but if you want to deposit, ‘Claim’ the record in Symplectic and upload the manuscript if you wish.
Do I need to deposit my book chapters and books for them to be eligible for the next REF?
No. Books/book chapters do not have to be Open Access in order to qualify for the REF and they do not have to be deposited into ORA.
If I want to deposit my book chapters/books anyway, what should I do?
If you wish to deposit your book chapters/books into ORA, or simply create a record for them, please use Symplectic.
How to add a book chapter to Symplectic:
On your Symplectic ‘homepage’ there is a box called My Summary.
1.Click on + add and select chapter. 2.Fill in the Add Chapter form.
This will create a record (which gets sent to ORA). You can also deposit the file if you want, but you could just create a record.
Where can I get help with Symplectic (getting an account or fixing a problem)?
Those who are not given automatic Symplectic access (e.g. administrative staff, technical support staff, postgraduate research students, college-only researchers etc.) can now request accounts directly from the central Symplectic Helpdesk firstname.lastname@example.org. For other help please visit the support pages on the Research Services Symplectic Elements website (https://researchsupport.admin.ox.ac.uk/reporting/symplectic) or contact your Departmental Symplectic administrator.
Can somebody else deposit on my behalf in Symplectic? Can I deposit for someone else?
Yes, a delegate (e.g. PA) can deposit on behalf of an academic, through the academic’s account. The PA first needs to get a Symplectic account of their own.
To grant the necessary permissions the researcher then needs to:
1. Log in to their own Symplectic account at https://oxris.ox.ac.uk.
2. Click on the Menu tab. Under My Account, click on Manage Delegates.
3. On the next screen use the box to add a delegate(s) to your account.
For more help please see ‘Adding a delegate and impersonating in Symplectic Elements’ in the Quick Reference section of the Symplectic User Guides.
What happens after I have deposited my Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM)?
There is no automatic notification email of a successful deposit to the Oxford University Research Archive (ORA, http://ora.ox.ac.uk/). On deposit of your AAM to ORA via Symplectic Elements, a record for your work is automatically created in the repository, containing the details you entered in the deposit form (title, author, journal title etc.). It is not publicly visible at this point. Nor is the full text, which transfers to ORA under embargo. ORA review staff receive notification of the deposit and review the deposit details including:
- confirm the correct file version has been deposited (AAM not Publisher PDF),
- check and enhance bibliographic details (adding abstract, key words, additional author information, links to the publisher website, publisher statement, and more),
- check funder information (correctly acknowledged and policy with regards to embargo periods),
- check publisher information (self-archiving details, OA (open access) policy and embargo requirements),
- check REF/HEFCE OA policy information (embargo policies meet REF expectations),
- pass Article Processing Charge (APC) requests onto the APC team (other responsibilities with regards to funders, APCs and Creative Commons licensing are not dealt with by the ORA team).
Once the deposit has been reviewed, ORA staff release the ORA record, and send you the link and/or contact you with any query arising from deposit. Please wait for their confirmation email.
ORA review staff will apply the embargo period given in the publisher policy to the deposited AAM from the date of publication. The version permitted to be OA under the publisher’s self-archiving policy will be released at the end of this embargo period. If your work has been published OA (i.e. you have paid an APC) and the publisher PDF can be used, ORA review staff will download this from the publisher website and release the file in ORA – the AAM should however still be the version deposited. At the end of the embargo period, ORA review staff will enhance the ORA record with any further information resulting from publication (page numbers, journal volume/issue details, DOI, etc.). If there is no embargo the full-text will be released at the point of deposit.
ORA review staff will not contact you again at the end of the embargo period, the file will be released at the URL provided at first review.
For queries regarding a deposited AAM, contact email@example.com
What is the timing of Open Access release in ORA of articles with no embargo? What about press (metadata) embargoes?
If the publisher permits, ORA releases the bibliographic record (including abstract) and full text file at the point of deposit, not publication.
HEFCE OA policy states: ‘For outputs deposited with no embargo. The output must meet the access requirements as soon as possible and no later than one month after deposit.’
Press embargoes are imposed by some journals (preventing pre-publication release of particular metadata, which may include the abstract). They can be difficult to ascertain in the absence of a master list, but the ORA team will not release before publication details of articles they know to be under press embargo.
If you know there is a press or metadata embargo on your article, please provide information in the Comments box at the end of the deposit form. Please remember to select ‘Deposit my publication’ to complete the deposit.
The ORA record does not appear automatically after deposit into Symplectic Elements. It is only made visible after the ORA team have reviewed the deposit. If a record or file is inadvertently released prematurely, the ORA team will remove it once notified (this is standard ‘takedown’ practice). Contact the ORA team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My paper has not yet been published but is available on ORA. Can I request an embargo on a manuscript I am depositing?
No. It is our policy to make deposits available as soon as the publisher permits. If no embargo is required by them (or if there is no other restriction such as press embargo) ORA will release the full text immediately, at the point of deposit rather than publication. A number of publishers have a zero embargo.
The ORA confirmation email informs the depositor if the full text has been released. The ORA record makes clear the publication status of the article (to indicate that it is at the stage of ‘Accepted’ rather than ‘Published’).
HEFCE policy for the REF says that once made available the full text should remain so.
When I click on the file link in Symplectic Elements (SE) nothing happens – how can I view the file I uploaded?
When you upload a file in SE, the file transfers immediately to the Oxford University Research Archive (ORA, http://ora.ox.ac.uk/). Files are not stored in SE, they are stored within ORA. The link in SE does not currently resolve to an accessible area of the research archive, so when selecting the link the webpage returns blank.
On deposit of your file, a record for your work is automatically created in ORA (containing the details you entered in the deposit form – title, author, journal title etc.), but it is not publicly visible at this point. The file is also hidden as it transfers to ORA under embargo. ORA review staff receive notification of the deposit and review the deposit details including confirming the correct file version has been deposited (AAM not Publisher PDF).
Once the deposit has been reviewed, ORA review staff release the ORA record, and send you the link to it and/or contact you with any query arising from deposit – which may include questions over the version of full text. Please wait for their confirmation email.
If you have a query regarding a deposited file, contact email@example.com.
How do I update a previous deposit, eg replace an uploaded manuscript with a newer version?
If you go to the publication on Symplectic and go to the Deposit Page you will see a link to enable you to ‘Upload another file’.
You can use this to deposit the updated item, unless otherwise directed by the ORA review team.
(The ORA team also contact authors direct when they notice an incorrect version has been deposited, and request the correct file be sent by email in reply to the ORA query.)
Oops. I’ve just logged into my Symplectic Elements (SE) account and see that for one of my recent publications (accepted after 1 April 2016) I forgot to ‘Act on Acceptance.’ The article has appeared online on the journal’s website. What can I do at this stage to ensure that my publication will be eligible for the next REF?
At this stage there is a way to remedy this situation. As soon as you discover your manuscript has been published online on the journal’s website please claim it in your SE account and create the manual record prompted by the system. Key pieces of information are the acceptance and publication dates and you must ensure that you also attach the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM). Successful deposit relies on you ensuring the following workflow:
1. “Claim” the publication.
2. “Create manual record”.
3. THEN attach the AAM.
In future, to ensure your research output remains eligible for the REF you should adhere to the University’s ‘Act on Acceptance’ policy.
What to do if a journal is non-compliant with HEFCE open access policy? Is there a list of non-compliant journals?
Please ‘Act on Acceptance’ as usual and deposit the manuscript in ORA within 3 months of acceptance; if necessary it will remain a ‘closed’ deposit. It will need to be flagged as an exception; please notify your departmental OA Admin contact so that it can be recorded.
Authors can therefore publish in non-compliant journals and remain eligible for the REF.
Although this is permitted, note HEFCE encourage authors to ‘give serious consideration to their choice of publication venue’ in their FAQ on Exceptions.
What should I do about other exceptions to the HEFCE policy?
Please deposit as usual any article accepted since 1 April 2016. If for some reason you are unable to deposit within 3 months of acceptance, please inform your departmental OA Admin contact. A list of the local contacts is on the Act on Acceptance page.