Research England's policy does not lay out any specific requirements for licensing research outputs. However, it does expect that articles are “…presented in a form that allows anyone with internet access to search electronically within the text, read it and download it without charge.”
A Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, No Derivatives licence (CC-BY-NC-ND) would meet this requirement. This is the most restrictive Creative Commons licence. Authors should be mindful that their funder may mandate a more open licence.
In order to be eligible for submission to REF2021, all journal articles and conference papers published in a journal must be open access within a specified timeframe: 12 months for REF Panels A&B (STEM) , and 24 months for Panels C&D (social sciences and humanities). This obligation came into force for articles accepted 1st April 2016 to date, and cannot be met retrospectively.
Articles accepted prior to April 2016 do not need to be open access, but institutions demonstrating engagement with open access throughout the REF period prior to the policy will gain credit in their Research Environment score.
Articles must be deposited in a compliant repository (such as Worktribe) within 3 months of the date of acceptance for publication.
Research England has agreed a list of exceptions to the policy, where circumstances prevent full compliance, but use of these is expected to be rare.