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Open Access: REF2021

REF2021 Open Access Policy

Research England's REF2021 Guidance on Submissions addresses Open Access in paragraphs 105-114 and 223-255.  These are summarised in an Overview published in Nov 2019.
Key Points:
  1. In order to be eligible for submission to REF2021, all journal articles and conference papers published in a journal must be deposited in an insitutional or subject-based repository (such as Worktribe) within 3 months of the date of acceptance for publication.

  2. The author's accepted manuscript, or the published version, must be open access as soon as possible after the date of publication: no later than 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.

  3. Open access can be achieved through Gold or Green routes.  Research England has not expressed any preference for 'gold'; there is no expectation that authors will pay to publish.

  4. The work must be made available with an open licence, such as Creative Commons, and machine readable.

  5. Research England has agreed a list of exceptions to the policy, where an author or institution is unable to meet the criteria for deposit or access to articles.  At the University of Hull,  Associate Deans for Research have oversight of the use of exceptions.

  6. Institutions which demonstrate engagement with open access beyond the minimum specifications of the policy may be rewarded through their Research Environment score.


If your research output relates to a funded project, your funder's criteria for open access may be more stringent than the REF.  Refer to the guide to Gold Open Access, and check the terms of your agreement with your funder.

University of Hull institutional repository

In April 2015, the University of Hull introduced an Open Access policy (revised 2019),  committing the institution to provide mechanisms to enable authors to comply with REF2021 obligations. 
All research outputs should be deposited in Worktribe, regardless of their open access status or their 'REFability'.  It is the responsibility of the author to deposit their research output within the specified timeframe. 

University of Hull authors with a Worktribe account can log in via the red button below.  Information for new users and guides to Worktribe modules can be found in SharePoint.



University of Hull process for complying with REF Open Access criteria

This is a simplified representation of the process of depositing research output in Worktribe.  Not every scenario is captured by this visualisation.  Contact if you have any questions.

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