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Exceptions to the REF policy

In certain circumstances, a paper can be submitted to the REF even though it does not comply with the REF Open Access Policy.

Exceptions to the REF open access policy may be applied in the following scenarios. Contact the Open Access Team to discuss particular papers.

I was unable to make the paper open access due to COVID-19

An exception can be applied if the manuscript was not uploaded, for example, due to ill health, caring responsibilities, furloughed staff, health-related or clinical staff diverted to frontline services, staff resource diverted to other priority areas within UCL, or other factors related to COVID-19.

I was not employed by a UK university when the paper was submitted

If you joined UCL from a non-UK HEI, and there is no other author with a UCL affiliation on the paper, the Open Access Team will apply this exception to papers when you claim them. 

I was employed by another UK university when the paper was accepted

If you joined UCL from another UK university, and there is no other author with a UCL affiliation on the paper, the Open Access Team will apply this exception if it is not possible to determine that the paper complies with the REF open access policy.

There was a delay in obtaining my final accepted manuscript

If you cannot obtain your final accepted manuscript within the required period, this exception may apply. If you are not the corresponding author, you should make all reasonable efforts to obtain the manuscript from the corresponding author, from your co-authors, or from the publisher, before the deadline for uploading has expired. Authors should retain email correpsondence to demonstrate that a request for a manuscript was made in time. 

It would be unlawful to deposit the paper / depositing the paper would present a security risk

Where there are legal barriers to making a manuscript open access through a repository, or the author's identity needs to be protected (because depositing the paper would put the author or the institution at risk), these exceptions may apply. 

The journal's embargo period is too long / the journal does not allow open access

Most journals are compliant with the policy. Where a journal does not comply, because it does not allow open access in a repository within 12 months (REF panels A and B) or 24 months (REF panels C and D) of publication, or doesn't allow open access in a repository at all, the author is encouraged to consider publishing in an alternative journal. If the author still wishes to publish in the chosen journal, and considers that it is the most appropriate publication for the work, an exception applies.

After your paper is accepted for publication, upload your manuscript to UCL's Research Publications Service (RPS) as usual. It will be made open access after the embargo period, where this is permitted.

Open access rights cannot be granted for third-party content

If your paper contains third-party content for which open access rights cannot be granted you have the option to upload the text on its own. However, the REF policy recognises that the third-party content may be essential to the publication, and allows an exception if this is the case. You should upload the manuscript to UCL's Research Publications Service (RPS) as usual, and inform the Open Access Team that your paper includes third-party content and should not be made open access.

The manuscript was uploaded within 3 months of first online publication, but not within 3 months of acceptance

Papers accepted for publication from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2018 are eligible for submission to the REF if they were deposited in an open access repository within three months of first online publication. Papers accepted after this date must be deposited in an open access repository within three months of acceptance, but an exception applies if they were deposited after this date, but still within 3 months of first online publication.

Other reason not covered by the exceptions above

This exception may only be applied in specific extenuating circumstances, for instance in cases of extended leave.