1st April 2016 – An important date for your diary!

On the 1st April 2016, HEFCE’s new open access policy for the next Research Excellence Framework (REF) will come in to force, and we’d like to use this blog post to tell you more about what this means for us at the Glasgow School of Art.

What does the HEFCE OA policy mean for GSA researchers?

The policy states that to be eligible for the next REF, journal articles and papers published in conference proceedings with an ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) must be deposited and made openly accessible in a repository such as RADAR, within 3 months of the date of acceptance. Deposited material should be discoverable, and free to read and download, for anyone with an internet connection.  Articles and papers which have not been made open access will not be eligible for REF submission.

Which version of a paper can be made open access in RADAR, under the HEFCE policy?

The authors’ final, peer reviewed manuscript (or “accepted author manuscript”) is the one that can be deposited in RADAR (and made available to “Anyone”) – as shown in green in this diagram:


Dateofacceptance infographic

So – the accepted author manuscript is the one that has 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.

What about other research outputs – do they have to be made OA?

There is no requirement to make other forms of research output such as exhibitions, books and creative work openly accessible in the same way as journal articles, although it is encouraged as a way to increase their impact. However, any output type can be eligible for REF submission, and there is even some indication that credit will be given in the research environment component of the next REF where other research outputs types have been made open access.

Whilst there is no clear advice yet from the Funding Councils as to what makes an exhibition or an artefact “open access”, for example, we are aiming to hold discussions within GSA (and also with colleagues at other institutions) about how this kind of OA might be defined.

Publisher embargoes

Most publishers allow the author accepted manuscript to be made available in an open access repository after an embargo period (the period when you can only access an article with paid access). Information on individual publisher’s open access policies and embargo periods can be found on the SHERPA / RoMEO website.

The HEFCE policy enables you to respect publisher embargoes and still be eligible for REF. Where a publication specifies an embargo period, authors can comply with the policy by making a ‘closed’ deposit. This means the accepted manuscript will be uploaded to RADAR, but the attached file can be restricted from public access by making it visible to “Repository staff only” for the period of the embargo. However, for REF Main Panel D outputs, manuscripts must be free to read and download after a maximum embargo of 24 months, from the date of first publication (online or print, whichever comes first!). Papers that do not require any embargo should be made open access immediately.

The countdown to 1ST April 2016 is now on!

To make sure you comply with HEFCE’s Open Access policy for the next REF, simply upload your author accepted manuscript to RADAR as soon as your research output has been accepted for publication. The RADAR team can assist with checking publisher policies and embargo periods, and we will do our very best to advise and support you with all things open access!

To ensure REF compliance, follow these 3 steps:arrows