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


REF 2029

The higher education funding bodies are consulting on proposed open access requirements for REF 2029, which include significant changes and adjustements to the current policy, including to deposit timings. A working group comprising staff from LCCOS, RIGE and faculties is considering UCL's response. UCL staff who wish to provide feedback to inform UCL's response should contact openaccess@ucl.ac.uk. UCL will update guidance to authors when the final policy is announced in summer/autumn 2024. The current REF open access policy continues to apply to articles and conference: authors should continue to upload their accepted manuscripts according to the guidance below.

Books, chapters and edited collections

The REF open access policy does not currently apply to long-form outputs. However, UCL has introduced funding to make monographs, book chapters and edited collections Gold open access if authors would like to do so. This funding is primarily for outputs that may be submitted to the next REF, but there is currently no requirement to make these outputs open access.

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?