REF OA eligibility


The  REF Open Access policy requires that the author’s final peer reviewed manuscript of journal articles and conference papers with an ISSN must be deposited in a repository immediately upon acceptance for publication. At Royal Holloway, the author’s final peer-reviewed manuscript must be deposited into Pure. 

Before the manuscript is submitted for publication, it is essential to check if the journal meets the next REF OA requirements. A journal will meet the requirements if a publisher:

  1. Allows the deposit of the author’s final peer-reviewed manuscript in a repository (i.e. Pure)  
  2. Restricts access to the output with an embargo period for no more than 12 months for REF Panels A & B and 24 months for Panels C & D.

To check if a journal meets these requirements, please use the SHERPA ROMEO service - an international service that works in close cooperation with publishers to collect information regarding their terms and agreements on depositing manuscripts. 

If there are any further questions on how to use the service or advice is needed with checking the journal’s terms and conditions, please contact

Using the SHERPA ROMEO service

  1. Go to
  2. Enter the journal’s title or the journal’s ISSN in the search box 
  3. Click on the ‘Search’ button 

Romeo will display the publisher’s OA policy as a number of pathways for each version (Published, Accepted and Submitted).

The REF requires deposit of the accepted manuscript so it is the information within the Accepted version section that is essential to read.

The + icon should be clicked to expand the information.

Some publishers have different pathways for the accepted version, these can relate to funder requirements and / or to different locations eg one pathway for an author’s homepage and another for the institutional repository. It is essential to check if there is a pathway for Institutional repository or Any website and then read the information under that pathway.


Key information:

  1. Embargo – this will indicate if any embargo is required eg:



     2. Location – this needs to indicate that it is permitted to deposit the accepted version in to an institutional  repository, which is what Pure is. Romeo may explicitly include “Institutional repository / website” or implicitly include it by stating “Any website” eg



Authors should check Romeo so that they understand the OA policy of the publisher. The Research Support Team will check Romeo and will apply the publisher’s OA policy to the author’s accepted manuscripts. If the journal does not provide REF compliant OA either by not allowing OA or by requiring a longer than permitted embargo, authors should consider publishing in a REF OA compliant journal instead.

If this is not possible, then the article will only be eligible for submission to the REF if an exception is applied to the article. Authors will need to be able to provide a short statement explaining why the journal title is the most appropriate for their article. 

Advice will be provided on the exceptions that REF have created that can be applied to articles within journals that exceed the maximum embargo period or do not allow OA on the Authors Accepted Manuscript..

Download the guide

Updated 9th July 2021

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