UCL Library Services


Open access for the next REF

There is an open access policy for the next Research Excellence Framework.


To be eligible for submission to the next REF, journal articles and conference proceedings accepted from 1 April 2016 must have been deposited in an open access repository. At UCL, researchers must upload their papers to UCL’s Research Publications Service (RPS). See our Key Information document for further details.

  • It is best practice to upload your paper to RPS as soon as it is accepted for publication. Outputs not uploaded within 3 months of first online publication cannot be submitted to the REF.
  • The version to upload is the final accepted manuscript (after peer-review, but before the publisher’s typesetting).
  • The Open Access Team will make your paper open access through UCL Discovery according to the publisher’s copyright permissions (usually after a delay period).

UCL’s policy is that outputs of all types should be uploaded to RPS, including books and book chapters. 


Publishers often impose a delay on making manuscripts available through open access repositories. The REF policy makes allowances for journal embargoes. The maximum permitted periods are 12 months (Panels A and B) and 24 months (Panels C and D). For details of your journal's embargo period, contact the Open Access Team or check Sherpa ROMEO.

More information and Exceptions

Our guides page provides key information on the REF policy and instructions on managing your publications in RPS. Typical enquires are covered in the REF section of our FAQ­­. 

In certain circumstances, a paper can be submitted to the REF even though it does not comply with the REF Open Access Policy. See the Exceptions section of our FAQ for details. Contact UCL's Open Access Team for support.