Publications & Research Assessment Policy in the UK: Insisting on Open Access

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the United Kingdom’s system for assessing the quality of research undertaken in UK higher education institutions. REF exercises are undertaken every seven or eight years, and the results of these exercises have a direct impact on an institution’s research funding over the coming period. Since April 2016, journal articles and conference proceedings must be deposited in an institutional or subject repository within three months of the date of acceptance and made Open Access (OA) via the green route within 12 months (STEM subjects) or 24 months (AHSS subjects). There are a limited number of exceptions which can be used in the few cases where there is a good reason for not meeting the deposit and access requirements. Otherwise, papers which do not meet the requirements will not be eligible for submission to the next REF.
This new REF OA Policy has tied the Open Access agenda to research assessment – something which will have implications for university funding – and this has significantly increased the importance of OA to UK universities. In the context of this development, institutions have needed to work quickly to raise awareness of OA and to increase compliance with OA policies. The pace of change has increased significantly and universities are working to very tight deadlines to ensure that all of their journal articles and conference proceedings are OA, and therefore eligible for assessment.
In line with this new policy, the University of Edinburgh is undertaking a programme to facilitate the widespread adoption of OA to journal articles and conference proceedings across the entire University.

This paper and the associated presentation will cover:

  1. An outline of the processes for the quantitative and qualitative assessment of research outputs in the UK.
  2. The importance of Open Access in UK Higher Education.
  3. An overview of the Open Access policy relating to research assessment.
  4. An introduction to the University of Edinburgh’s approach to the transition to Open Access.
  5. Feedback on progress to far: what (not) to do!

This paper will be of interest to librarians, open access practitioners, policy makers, journal editors, publishers and authors.


Conference presentation:


Location: Lecture Hall Aula Magna Date: October 20, 2016 Time: 11:45 - 12:15 Dominic Tate