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Open Access & the next REF

Have your say on the proposed new open access policy for REF 2029:

For the next Research Excellence Framework (REF) process there is a policy on open access.

This policy states that to be eligible for the inclusion for the REF journal articles and conference contributions accepted on or after 1 April 2016 must be deposited into a repository. University of Warwick’s policy is that all outputs should be deposited in our institutional repository, WRAP.

3 step process to compliance with the policy

My journal article or conference contribution (published with an ISSN) has been accepted for publication and I want to make it eligible for the next REF process:

What should I do?

Deposit the accepted, peer-reviewed version of your paper. This is the version that has not had any publisher copy-editing but incorporates any changes following peer-review.

When should I deposit?

As soon as possible, but no later than three months after the date of acceptance.

Where should I deposit to?

To our simple deposit form.

Any concerns or questions?

Please email publications at warwick dot ac dot uk.

(PDF Document) (PDF) Printable version of the 3 step process.

 REF 2029 open access policy exceptions

[last review - 2023-01-05]

Current REF OA exceptions continue until advised.

Deposit exception

  1. At the point of acceptance, it was not possible to secure the use of a repository
  2. There was a delay in securing the final peer-reviewed text (for instance, where a paper has multiple authors)
  3. The staff member to whom the output is attributed was not employed on a Category A eligible contract by a UK HEI (defined in paragraphs 52 to 63) at the time of submission for publication
  4. It would be unlawful to deposit, or request the deposit of, the output
  5. Depositing the output would present a security risk

Access exceptions

  1. The output depends on the reproduction of third-party content for which open access rights could not be granted (either within the specified timescales, or at all)
  2. The publication concerned requires an embargo period that exceeds the stated maxima, and was the most appropriate publication for the output
  3. The publication concerned actively disallows open-access deposit in a repository, and was the most appropriate publication for the output

Technical exception 

  1. At the point of acceptance, the staff member to whom the output is attributed was employed at a different UK HEI, and it has not been possible to determine compliance with the criteria
  2. The repository experienced a short-term or transient technical failure that prevented compliance with the criteria (this should not apply to systemic issues)
  3. An external service provider failure prevented compliance (for instance, a subject repository did not enable open access at the end of the embargo period, or a subject repository ceased to operate)

Further exception

  1. ‘Other exception’ should be used where an output is unable to meet the criteria due to circumstances beyond the control of the HEI, including extenuating personal circumstances of the author (such as periods of extended leave), industrial action, closure days, and software problems beyond those listed in the technical exceptions. If ‘other’ exception is selected, the output will not need to meet the open access criteria (deposit, discovery or access requirements)
  2. The output was not deposited within three months of acceptance date, but was deposited within three months of the earliest date of publication. In this instance, the output will need to meet all other policy requirements. This exception does not need to be applied retrospectively to outputs compliant with the policy from 1 April 2016 to 1 April 2018 which fulfilled the policy requirements within three months of publication

Once you have deposited your article into WRAP it will be made open access in accordance with any publisher embargo policies and the team will contact you if there is anything else we need from you to ensure compliance.

Please keep your WRAP publications list up to date. To update an earlier publications deposit with a web link/DOI, or final volume number/publication dates, please use request changes.

Article versions

The Research England policy asks for the author’s accepted and final peer-reviewed text (which may otherwise be known as the ‘author manuscript’ or ‘final author version’ or ‘post-print’).

This is the last ‘author owned’ version before the publisher begins copy-editing and additional added value services. As shown in the diagram it is the version that incorporates all of the changes after peer review and is formally accepted by the journal.

Flow diagram of article versions

Image courtesy of HEFCE

If you have any questions about identifying the correct version, please contact the team: publications at warwick dot ac dot uk

Key points of the REF Policy

To be eligible for REF submission, journal articles and conference proceedings must have been deposited in an open access repository, and made open access within a specified time.

  • Papers accepted for publication after 1 April 2016 should be deposited within 3 months of acceptance
  • The policy is mandatory for journal articles and conference contibutions with an ISSN but strongly encouraged for all other outputs. The University recommends that authors consider this applying immediately
  • Publishers often impose a delay before repositories can make manuscripts openly available
    • The maximum permitted embargo is 12 months (for Panels A and B) or 24 months (Panels C and D)
    • Articles still under embargo are eligible for REF submission, provided they meet the requirements of the policy

Further information

  • Got a question? Would you like more information about the policy at a team or departmental meeting? Please contact us at publications at warwick dot ac dot uk
  • The previous REF2021 policy is available on the REF2021 website
  • The University of Warwick’s open access policy
  • Open Access Funding is available, for more information and to apply
  • Guide on How to deposit your work in WRAP

Photo accreditation: Photo by John Loo, CC-BY



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