The four UK funding bodies – Research England, Scottish Funding Council, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland – introduced a policy requirement on open access in Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021.
As the shape of a future research assessment exercise is yet to be determined, it is not feasible at this stage to define the specifics of a future open access policy. The funding bodies will make a decision about this policy through the Future Research Assessment Programme, based on:
You should follow the REF 2021 open access policy and guidance until further notice.
Source: Publishing the Findings of Research England-funded Research, 17 Aug 2021.
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.
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 (AHSS). This obligation came into force for articles accepted 1st April 2016 to date.
The work must be made available with an open licence (such as Creative Commons), downloadable, and machine readable.
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.
Institutions which demonstrate engagement with open access beyond the minimum specifications of the policy may be rewarded through their Research Environment score.