Library Services


Open Access for REF 2029

These pages are designed to help UCL researchers understand the REF Open Access policy and explain what action is needed to make papers REF-eligible.

Upload your manuscript to RPS


Current guidance

UCL's submission to REF 2021 was completed in March 2021, and we are now in the publication period for REF 2029. A new open access policy is in development: details will be added to these pages when available. Research England have advised that the current policy should be followed in the meantime. Authors should continue to upload their accepted manuscripts according to the guidance below.

There is an open access policy for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise. The REF assesses the quality of research in UK Higher Education Institutions and informs the allocation of funding for research.

To be eligible for submission to the REF, UCL authors should upload their final accepted manuscripts of articles and conference proceedings to UCL's Research Publications Service (RPS) on or before the first online publication date. See our What do I need to do? page for more on complying with the policy.

The final accepted manuscript means the final author version after peer review, but before the publisher’s typesetting or copy-editing (often a Word document). Papers do not need to be published Gold open access in order to comply with the REF Open Access Policy.

UCL researchers should maintain their publications list in RPS, including regularly claiming publications. This is important because RPS sends authors regular email reminders listing papers not yet uploaded, but these can only sent for papers that are already claimed. See our guides to using RPS.

Although the REF policy specifically applies to articles and conference proceedings, UCL's policy is that outputs of all types should be uploaded to RPS, including books and book chapters.

See our FAQ or contact us for help with topics such as:

  • My paper is free to view on the publisher site; isn’t that open access?
  • I don’t have the accepted manuscript and can’t get it.
  • My paper is available through another repository or preprint server.
  • My paper was published Gold open access. Do I still need to upload the manuscript?