Library Services


Open Access for the REF

Here you'll find information and guides to help you to maintain your list of publications in RPS and upload your manuscripts, including details of the REF open access policy.

Upload your manuscript to RPS


The REF Open Access Policy

To be eligible for submission to REF 2021, articles and conference proceedings must have been deposited in an open access repository within a specific time period. Papers accepted for publication from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2018 must have been deposited within 3 months of first online publication. Papers accepted from April 2018 must be deposited in an open access repository within three months of acceptance. However, an exception applies for outputs accepted from April 2018 that were deposited within three months of first online publication but not within three months of acceptance. Full details of the policy are in the REF submission guidance.

To fulfil these requirements, UCL researchers must upload their final accepted manuscripts to UCL's Research Publications Service (RPS). It is best practice to record your paper in RPS and upload it as soon as it is accepted for publication. There is more information about uploading and exceptions to the REF policy in our FAQs.

UCL's policy is that outputs of all types should be uploaded to RPS, including books and book chapters. The Open Access Team will review your manuscript, and make it open access through UCL Discovery according to the publisher's copyright permissions.

Guides and training

The PDF guides below will show you how to maintain your list of publications in RPS and upload your manuscripts.

To request training on using UCL's Research Publications Service (RPS), the REF open access policy, making your work open access in UCL’s repository, UCL Discovery, or open access options for a publication, please complete our training request form. We are currently able to offer support by email and/or online in Microsoft Teams.

Recording publications in RPS

Uploading publications to RPS

Further information

Our FAQs answer common questions about the REF open access policy. The policy makes allowances for journals' embargoes on making manuscripts open access through repositories. The maximum permitted periods are 12 months (Panels A and B) and 24 months (Panels C and D). 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 FAQs for details. Contact UCL's Open Access Team for support.