Research and the Research Excellence Framework

HEFCE OA policy: what to do to ensure your journal article complies


Are you a researcher based at a UK higher education institution?

If so, from April 1st 2016, the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s (HEFCE) Open Access policy now applies to your work. To ensure your published research is eligible for the next Research Excellence Framework (“REF”) you now need to deposit journal articles in an institutional or subject repository as soon after acceptance as possible, and no later than three months after you received the acceptance letter or e-mail from the journal (find out more on the HEFCE website).

What is the “REF”?

Every six years HEFCE assesses the research outputs (journal articles, book chapters, monographs, and datasets) of each institution in the UK and assigns a score which determines the funding that institution will receive. This is the “Research Excellence Framework”, usually known as the REF.

How to comply with HEFCE’s OA policy

The next assessment will take place in 2020, and for journal articles to be eligible they must be available as open access – either gold or green. The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Scottish Funding Council also use the REF to determine how to allocate funding to their institutions, and these two organisations have also effectively adopted the HEFCE Open Access policy.

Whether you’re publishing in a subscription journal or open access with Taylor & Francis, Routledge or Cogent OA, you can check what you need to do, with which version of your article, and when, by clicking on the image on the left.