How to comply with the REF open access policy

Meet the Research Excellence Framework (REF) open access policy requirements by self-archiving your author accepted manuscript (AAM) into Pure, immediately on acceptance.

The AAM should be deposited within three months of the acceptance date (as given in the acceptance letter or e-mail from the publication to the author).

  • This version is also known as the ‘final author version’ or ‘post-print’.
  • This is the version after peer-review but before final formatting.

Self-archiving the AAM

Research England requires the AAM to be deposited to Pure immediately on acceptance. Deposited material should be discoverable, free to read and download, for anyone with an internet connection.

Publisher embargoes

If a publisher requires your AAM to be embargoed before it can be made open access, this may still be compliant with the policy.

  • For science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects a maximum embargo of 12 months is permitted.
  • For social science and humanities subjects, a maximum embargo of 24 months is permitted.

When you deposit an AAM on acceptance, library staff will check publisher requirements and apply an embargo as necessary. The metadata for your output must be visible and discoverable in Pure immediately on acceptance, even if the full text is embargoed. 

If your publisher is uncompliant with the REF self-archiving requirement, an exception to the policy may be permissible.

My output will be published open access. Do I need to deposit the AAM?

If you expect the output is to be published open access on the publisher’s website immediately under a licence that permits copying and reuse, (e.g. a Creative Commons licence), the Version of Record (VoR) can be uploaded in place of the AAM. 

However, we still recommend you deposit your AAM on acceptance to ensure you meet deposit requirement timescales, and in case there are any delays in conferring the correct open access status. Once an openly licensed VoR is published, this can replace the AAM in Pure.

If the VoR is free to read but does not have a Creative Commons or other licence permitting copying and reuse, this would not meet the REF requirements. 

How is this policy compatible with funders?

If your research is funded, you will need to ensure you are also compliant with your funders open access policy. See funders and open access for specific guidance.


Email if you any questions about the REF open access policy.

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