Open access

REF open access policy

Summary of the policy

It is a requirement for the 2021 REF (Research Excellence Framework) that all journal articles and published conference proceedings are made available open access via a repository. Please familiarise yourself with this policy and the FAQs below.

  • The policy applies to all journal articles and conference proceedings (published with an ISSN) accepted for publication after 1 April 2016. The policy does not apply to book chapters or monographs.
  • The author’s accepted manuscript must be deposited in an institutional repository (such as the UWL Repository) within 3 months of acceptance for publication.
  • An embargo period on access to the manuscript, stipulated by the publisher, is acceptable as long as this does not exceed 12 months after publication for REF Panels A & B and 24 months for REF Panels C & D.
  • If your work does not meet the requirements of the policy, the work cannot be submitted for the next REF.

Making your work REF eligible

UWL authors should consider whether their chosen journal meets the requirements of the policy. Please check the publisher’s policies for the journal using SHERPA/REF and the advice available on our publisher copyright policies.

The REF policy allows for some exceptions, so if your chosen journal does not meet the requirements please contact for further advice.

After acceptance for publication, deposit your author’s accepted manuscript into the UWL Repository as soon as possible. Please do not wait until publication. Instructions for deposit can be found here.

Please see our HEFCE's policy for Open Access in REF2021 FAQ section for commonly asked questions about the REF policy. Please see our Open Access FAQ page for mpore general questions on Open Access.


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