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.
Open Access for REF 2021
There is an open access policy for the next 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 must upload their final accepted manuscripts of articles and conference proceedings to UCL's Research Publications Service (RPS) before the final deadline of 3 months after first online publication. 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.
- 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?