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Open Access and the next REF


Open Access requirements for the next REF

In 2016, Research England introduced the REF OA policy for REF 2021 which was submitted in March 2021. The output census period for the next REF started on 1st January 2021. The REF 2021 OA policy requirements will continue to apply until the next REF OA policy is implemented. These support pages were developed to support REF 2021 and will continue to be relevant until the new policy is announced and implemented. Researchers should continue to comply with the REF 2021 OA policy requirements. 

Journal articles and conference papers with an ISSN must be uploaded to Pure within three months of the date of acceptance. The Research Support Team will check records and files and  then the files will be made OA in line with the publisher's policy. 

The four UK higher education funding bodies believe that research arising from their funding should be as widely and freely accessible as the available channels for dissemination allow. Open Access to research enables the prompt and widespread dissemination of research findings. It benefits the efficiency of the research process and allows publicly funded research to drive economic growth. It delivers social benefits through increased public understanding of research.

Four step quick guide to making articles Open Access via Pure

REF OA guide

Updated 8th July 2021

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Open Access:


Meet the Team

How to comply

Upload the file of the Author's Accepted Manuscript into Pure within three months of the date of acceptance. This full text file will then be made Open Access in line with the publisher's policy on OA


Adding files to Pure

Full instructions on how to add files to Pure.


Versions of articles

The Author's Accepted Manuscript is required. This is the version with the final academic content but without the logos, fonts and typesetting of the publisher's final version.

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Acceptance date

Type the full acceptance date and add the evidence which can be the DOI if it links to a page with the acceptance date or add a file showing the acceptance email from the publisher.


REF OA eligibility

The Sherpa Romeo website provides information on publisher's OA policies. This information is also often shown on Pure when adding records.

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Published OA articles

If articles are published as OA articles, then they achieve REF OA compliance via this route. Guidance for articles that are published as OA articles.


REF exceptions

Can be considered if the requirements are not or can not be met.


Pure records checking

The Research Support Team provides a file and record checking service and will contact authors for clarification or to request files.


College REF OA fund

The College has created an REF OA fund which can be used to pay Article Processing Charges for authors and outputs that meet the fund criteria.

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