In order to be eligible for REF 2021, the final peer-reviewed version of journal articles and conference papers (in publications with an ISSN) must be deposited in an open access repository within three months of acceptance for publication. The REF open access policy aims to ‘increase substantially the amount of scholarly material that is made available in an open-access form’.
Key points of the policy
- applies to journal articles and conference papers (in publications with an ISSN).
- requires researchers to act on acceptance to deposit their final peer-reviewed text (also known as the ‘Author Accepted Manuscript’) in a compliant open access repository within three months of the date of acceptance.
- applies to articles accepted after 1 April 2016.
- readers and search engines must be able to find out about the article straight away.
- full-text must be accessible for anyone to read and download immediately or after the end of an embargo period*
- REF 2021 covers publication dates between 1 January 2014 and 31 December 2020, but the open access policy only applies to articles accepted from 1 April 2016, meaning that older articles, and other publication types (books, chapters etc), are REF-eligible without need for deposit.
*Embargo periods should not exceed the following: 12 months for Science and Medicine (REF Main Panels A and B); 24 months for Social Sciences and Humanities (REF Main Panels C and D).
What this means for researchers
- failure to act will make research outputs ineligible for REF 2021.
- requires additional action; meeting the open access requirements of other funders is not enough.
- you still need to meet the requirements of other funders such as RCUK and Wellcome Trust.
Oxford’s message: you deposit; we’ll take care of the rest
All academics and researchers employed by the collegiate University should:
- deposit the accepted manuscript for any journal articles accepted since 1 April 2016.
- record all other publications (full text deposit optional).
- start now.
Deposited manuscripts go through to the university’s repository ORA. The Bodleian team check publisher permissions, create an ORA record and make the full-text available if and when it complies with the requirements of your publisher.