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Support for REF authors

Frequently Asked Questions

If a staff member who moved institution during the census period lodged an article in the repository of their previous institution, does this meet the open access requirements? Does the new HEI still have to check that it is still in the repository?

If the staff member to whom the output is attributed was employed at a different UK HEI at the point of acceptance and the new HEI has not been able to determine compliance with the criteria, the output will not be required to meet the open access criteria.

Where an output was published at a previous institution, how much do HEIs need to do to identify whether an output is compliant or non-compliant with the open access policy?

Journal articles with an ISSN or conference contributions in conference proceedings with an ISSN produced by staff while they were at a former employer should not be returned as non-compliant with the REF 2021 OA policy requirements. These outputs may be out-of-scope if accepted for publication before 1 April 2016, or the submitting HEI may know that the output is compliant with the requirements. Otherwise the output should be returned with a TECH 1 exception

Can the open access exception TECH 1 (254a) be used for outputs of former staff?

In-scope outputs produced by former staff (ie the institution is submitting something from a staff member that has moved on) may not use the TECH 1 exemption. The output may have to be returned as non-compliant if it is in-scope and compliance cannot be demonstrated and another exception is not suitable.

The publisher doesn’t allow my article to be available in Open Research Archive until 12/24 months after publication. Can I still deposit “on acceptance”?

Yes, deposit on acceptance to comply with REF 2021 open access policy. An embargo will be applied to your publication, in compliance with publisher requirements. The embargo will lift automatically at the end of the embargo period.

REF policy respects publisher embargoes (REF panels A and B maximum 12 months; REF panels C and D maximum 24 months). Papers that are still under embargo will be eligible to be submitted for the REF.

Does an embargo apply to the accepted manuscript?

Yes, depending on the publisher, an embargo may apply to the accepted manuscript. Always deposit on acceptance and a temporary embargo will be applied. When the publication is published, the metadata is updated with the publication details and the publisher embargo is set to run from the date of publication. It lifts automatically at the end of the embargo period. If the embargo period for the accepted manuscript exceeds the maximum allowable in the REF 2021 open access policy, an exception may be applied.

Should I upload my past publications from a previous institution?

If your past publications have already been deposited in your previous institution’s repository it is not necessary to re-deposit in Open Research Archive.

Can I upload the published PDF instead of the accepted manuscript?

Most publishers do not permit deposit of the final published PDF in a repository. Check journal policies using SHERPA/RoMEO


We promote Open Access at St Mary’s by providing support and training in the following areas:

  • Open access requirements of REF2021
  • Open access publishing
  • Open access in the institutional repository Open Research Archive

Format of training/support offered

  • General and bespoke sessions for open access
  • 1:1 sessions
  • 10-15 minute presentation at meetings
  • 30 minute workshops

Contact us