The full requirements of the policy can be found in PARA 223 to 255 of the REF Guidance on Submissions. All outputs listed in REF2 for a submission, and in scope of the policy, must:
Act on acceptance, and deposit your Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) in DRO via the Staff Profile system. This will ensure compliance with the REF Open Access policy, and the University’s Open Access Policy.
DRO Team members will check each individual copyright agreement for any embargo details and, if necessary, close-off access to the deposited paper until the embargo expires.
In line with Durham University's Open Access Policy, and our guidance on publication planning, authors should carefully consider the most appropriate journal in which to publish their research. This consideration should include consideration of what options the journal provides to authors to make their research open access, and any requirements of the funder(s) of that research.
For REF, this should include considering what is the embargo period the journal requires (if any) for any manuscript deposited in an open access repository, before it can be made publicly available.
Before submitting to a journal you should check and consider what your options are for green and/or gold open access and whether these options comply with the open access policies of REF, the University and your funder.
You can use Sherpa REF if a particular journal will meet the REF requirements for your discipline.
Alternatively, you can contact the Library at firstname.lastname@example.org and you will receive a response from a member of the Open Access team. Please provide as much information as possible so that you receive information that is relevant to your particular needs.
All journal articles, and papers published in a conference proceedings with an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), which are accepted for publication on or after the 1st April 2016.
The policy does not cover proceedings published as a book, with an International Standard Book Number (ISBN). However, Durham's policy is that outputs of all types should be deposited in DRO. The REF's research environment component (REF5) will consider evidence of how a Unit of Assessment is working towards an open research environment, including increasing access to outputs outside the scope of the policy.
PARA 228 of the REF Guidance on Submissions confirms that:
No. The Open Access policy only covers outputs accepted for publication from 1 April 2016.
This does not mean that outputs accepted before this date cannot be submitted; they are just not within the scope of the open access policy and so are not required to meet its requirements.
You are advised, however, to ensure that all relevant research outputs are deposited into the Staff Profile System and that the acceptance date is added to the records.
No. Outputs other than articles and conference proceedings are still eligible for submission to the next REF. The Open Access policy does not apply to outputs such as monographs and other long-form publications, non-text outputs, and data that underpins some research. Therefore, these types of output do not have to be made Open Access.
However, Durham's policy is that outputs of all types should be deposited in DRO. The REF's research environment component (REF5) will consider evidence of how a Unit of Assessment is working towards an open research environment, including increasing access to outputs outside the scope of the policy.
The Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM), sometimes referred to as the 'final author version', 'final author manuscript', or ‘final manuscript’ is the version of your work which:
Often the AAM is a Word version of your publication. Most publishers will allow the AAM to be deposited in an institutional or subject repository, subject to an embargo period. Note that the final published PDF (the version that appears on the publishers website, sometimes called the 'version of record') cannot usually be deposited in DRO, unless an article processing charge (APC) has been paid for Gold open access.
Research England define the 'Date of Acceptance' as meaning:
This is the point at which the author is notified that:
By this point, the paper should have been updated to include all changes resulting from peer review as well as any changes of an academic nature requested by the journal editor or conference organiser.
We recognise that in some disciplines, the acceptance date may not be clear. Where a 'date of acceptance' is unknown, or unclear, the author should endeavour to deposit their manuscript which incorporates changes resulting from peer review in Durham Research Online (DRO) at the earliest opportunity.
If later revisions are made to the manuscript, a 'revised manuscript' may also be added to the record:
Some researchers are concerned that they may have difficulty getting hold of the accepted manuscript version of their paper to deposit in Durham Research Online (DRO) where they are not corresponding author. This is more likely in an environment where the corresponding author is based overseas and unfamiliar with the funder requirements for Open Access in the UK.
Please note: Open Access is not a UK initiative alone, and whilst the REF policy is specific to the UK HE sector, the use of open access journals and repositories is not unique to the UK. Globally, there are almost 1,000 policies registered with Roarmaps, only 120 of which are for the UK; Many of these are registered by universities which provide their own open access repository.
Authors should consider the advice received by Durham by Research England in May 2018, which is outlined below with context:
Any questions from Durham researchers or their co-authors should be directed to email@example.com.
All outputs should be deposited in Durham Research Online (DRO) within 3 months of the Date of Acceptance, in line with Durham University Open Access Policy.
‘Gold’ open access usually means the immediate, permanent, and free to access availability of the published version of record on the publisher’s website and with a licence that permits copying and reuse.
Research England have confirmed that:
However, it is a requirement on the university to be able to confirm that outputs were available immediately after publication via the gold route, were not made open access after publication, and meet all other requirements of re-use.
Some journals may make an article "free" to access for various reasons.
However, this often does not meet the recognised definitions of open access and will not meet the REF requirements. A journal may withdraw the 'free' access at anytime, and continuing access and re-use permissions are not guaranteed. It is important that an article is accompanied by a clear use of an open access licence, indicating re-use permissions are granted for the article.
No. Research England has not provided a list of acceptable subject repositories and not all will meet the metadata requirements of the policy. You can ensure compliance by depositing your Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) into the Staff Profile System for transferral into DRO by the Repository Team.
ResearchGate, Academia, and Sci-Hub are not subject repositories and would not meet the requirements of the policy.
The arXiv (and other pre-print servers, such as bioRxiv) do not meet the technical and audit requirements of the REF open access policy. This is because the REF policy requires researchers to deposit their final accepted manuscript within 3 months of its acceptance for publication. But arXiv offers no standardised means of recording either:
The guidance on on submissions published in 2019 finalised details on where use of arXiv and similar services could be used to meet the open access requirements:
To be certain an output to be included as part of a UoA's REF submission, an author must be certain (and be able to confirm to their REF lead in their UoA) that:
If the above criteria have been met, authors can still continue to use arXiv as you would normally, and comply with the REF requirements by:
The DRO Team will then transfer a copy of the Profile record to DRO, check the copyright agreement to ensure deposit of your manuscript in DRO is permitted, and then deposit the file and apply any embargo stipulated in the agreement. This will ensure deposit well within 3 months of acceptance as is mandated by HEFCE's policy.
Following this guidance will mean that you not only comply with the REF requirements, but also Durham's open access policy, and possibly also that of your research funder.