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Library Research Support: Open Research: REF OA

This guide is intended to provide advice and support on open access research, including guidance around Durham Research Online (DRO), open access publishing, research data management and related topics.

REF Open Access Policy

REF Open Access (OA) policy

The open access requirements for REF2021 only apply to:

  • Scholarly journal articles and conference papers published in a proceedings with an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) and only if
  • Accepted for publication from 1 April 2016 onwards

OA requirements

  1. DEPOSIT: accepted peer-reviewed manuscript in either an institutional or subject repository within 3 months of its acceptance for publication
  2. OPEN ACCESS: make deposited manuscript open access
  • within 1 month of deposit if there is no publisher-imposed embargo or
  • no later than 1 month after the publisher-imposed embargo has expired


  • 12 months for papers submitted to Panels A and B
  • 24 months for papers submitted to Panels C and D

Note that manuscripts deposited in DRO will only be made open access once the particular publisher's embargo has expired

REF requires a manuscript is accessible no later than 1 month form the end of any embargo, or no later than 1 month after the date of deposit if the journal requires no embargo.

What should I do?

Email your final accepted peer-reviewed manuscript to The DRO Team will create a Staff Profile record, transfer a copy record to DRO, check the publisher's repository policy and deposit your file.


  • Create your own Staff Profile record
  • Upload and attach your final accepted peer-reviewed manuscript
  • Link any Durham co-authors to the record which enables its display on their DU web page as well as yours

REF 2021 Quick Links

REF Open Access Guide

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