The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the method by which research is assessed in UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).  In 2014 the first REF was carried out, replacing the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).  The next REF assessment is in 2021.

More information about our REF2021 submission.

REF 2021 wide logo

Accepted for Publication?

LLC Research Services can make sure your work meets REF and funders' Open Access Requirements.  We provide a mediated deposit service to ensure that your outputs are appropriately uploaded to the institutional repository, the Discovery Research Portal.

Act upon acceptance:

  • Email
  • Send us your Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) and a copy of the email from your publisher confirming the date of acceptance.

Key Points to the Policy:

  • All journal articles accepted for publication after 1 April 2016 must be open access
  • All conference proceedings with an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) accepted after 1 April 2016 must be open access
  • Authors' final peer-reviewed manuscripts must be deposited in an institutional or subject repository within 3 months of the date of acceptance for publication
  • Researchers must provide evidence of the date of acceptance for outputs and, if possible, a copy of their Copyright Transfer Agreement (or similar)
  • If an AAM has been deposited, it can be replaced by a final published version where permissible (e.g., upon payment of Article Processing Charge for Gold Open Access)

What happens if my publisher requires an embargo?

Publisher embargo periods will be respected, and items still under embargo at the time of the REF submission will still be eligible.

Embargo periods are set at:

  • 12 months for Main Panels A&B
  • 24 months for Main Panels C&D

Are there any exceptions?

Yes, exceptions are based on deposit, access and technical grounds, though it should be noted that we aim to keep the number of exceptions to a minimum.

If you have been unable to fulfill the open access requirements for REF2021, and need to know more about exceptions, please contact

More information about REF2021 Open Access requirements can be found on pages 54-60 of the Guidance on Submissions document, specifically paragraphs 223-260.