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How to comply

The next REF OA requirements apply only to journal articles and conference papers with an ISSN.

When the journal article or conference paper is accepted for publication, deposit the author's accepted manuscript immediately into Pure (see guidance below). The deadline for depositing into Pure is three months from the date of acceptance for publication. Outputs deposited after this deadline will not be eligible for the next REF. Along with the output, the evidence of the date of acceptance (such as a publisher’s email of acceptance or the DOI / URL to the article page on the journal website showing the full acceptance date) also needs to be added to Pure. Please see the Acceptance Date section for full information.

The author’s final peer-reviewed version of the output, which is also called ‘Author’s Accepted Manuscript’ needs to be deposited into Pure.  Do not deposit the publisher’s PDF - the final version in which the publisher has applied logos, typesetting and copy-editing. 


The Research Support Team will check the Pure record and full text file and make the full text file Open Access in line with the publisher's OA policy. Depending on the publisher's OA policy, the file may be made OA at the time of acceptance, on the date of publication or after an embargo period. In a very small number of cases, publishers may not allow the file to be made OA and this is when an exception can be considered.

Embargo periods

Maximum permitted embargo periods are 12 months for Panels A and B and 24 months for Panels C and D. Outputs still under embargo will be accepted for REF, provided that the first publication date is within the REF publication period. Once the manuscript has been uploaded onto Pure, the OA Team will check the record and apply any embargo if required by the publisher. Irrespective of the embargo period, the output must still be uploaded onto Pure within 3 months of acceptance for publication, but it will be made openly accessible in line with the publisher's OA policy including  after any embargo period. Please do not delay deposit.

Journal compliance with the policy

The SHERPA/ROMEO service provides information about publishers policies on OA. Romeo information is also integrated within Pure. 

Please email with any questions about the OA requirements for the next REF.

Download the REF OA guide

Updated 8th July 2021

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