The policy requires that, in order to be eligible for Research Excellence Framework 2021 (REF) journal articles and conference proceedings with an ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) accepted for publication after 1 April 2016 must be made Open Access either by depositing full-text papers into an online repository or by publishing in an Open Access journal/ platform. Even if an output has been published Open Access, it it still highly recommended that the article be deposited in a repository as well. The policy does not currently apply to monographs, other long-form publications, creative or non-text outputs, or data but this is likely to change for the next cycle. You can find out more details about the policy here.
Outputs must be deposited in an institutional repository, such as UDORA, at the point of acceptance for publication and no later than three months from this date. Alternatively, outputs can be deposited in a subject based repository. ResearchGate and other academic social networking sites do not count as repositories and will not be considered as such by Research England.
The Policy Criteria
Occasionally, it will not be possible for an output to fulfil the criteria. An exception is permitted in the following cases:
You can more details about criteria for exceptions in the REF 2021 Guidance on Submissions in paragraphs 252 - 255.
How to comply
To comply with the Research England policy; upon receiving notification of acceptance from your publisher, the eligible research output should have a record entered into a repository, such as UDORA, with the full-text uploaded. To comply using UDORA:
Guidance on Revisions to REF2021 and the Open Access requirements as a result of COVID-19
In response to the global Coronavirus pandemic, Research England have released updated guidance on outputs and their Open Access status. Where an in scope output has not been made Open Access due to effects brought about by the Covid-19 outbreak, HEIs may apply the ‘other exception’. The guidance states that this exception may apply to individual circumstances (such as ill health, caring responsibilities); other personal circumstances related to COVID-19, such as furloughed staff, health-related or clinical staff diverted to frontline services, staff resource diverted to other priority areas within the HEI and/or external factors related to COVID-19. Please see the guidance document for further information and clarification.