Open Access and REF eligibility

Open access in a nutshell

To be eligible for the next REF, HEFCE’s Open Access Policy requires that journal and conference articles are made Open Access. From 1st April 2016, authors need to upload their articles to Pure immediately when they are accepted for publication. If your article has not been correctly uploaded to Pure within 3 months of being accepted for publication, then it will not be eligible for the next REF.

Quick guide to uploading publications to Pure

For further help, contact the Research Outputs Team at You may also like to follow us on Twitter: @UoPResearchTeam


Open access 



Using Pure

'Predatory' journals



What is Open Access?

In academic publishing, Open Access means making the entire text of a research output, especially a peer reviewed journal or conference article, readily available online for anyone to access - without financial cost for users, and especially in the case of Gold Open Access, with minimal copyright restrictions on the output’s reuse.

Academic publishing in peer reviewed journals typically requires the author of the research to sign a Copyright Transfer Agreement, handing copyright over to the journal publisher. Because it is the publisher who owns the copyright to academic research, it is therefore the publisher - not the author - who controls the access to its content.

But a demand for easier online access to published academic research has initiated the requirement of Open Access to peer reviewed academic research in UK government policy, and also in the policies of many research funders.

There are different kinds of Open Access for academic research, depending on the type of journal an author publishes in. In academic publishing, Open Access terminology is therefore typically distinguished between Green and Gold Open Access.

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How can I find Open Access research?

Please see the Finding 'good' open access research: a guide for UoP Students and Staff.

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What are the different Open Access policies?

There are different Open Access policies in the UK, which are broadly aligned in their requirement that journal and conference articles are to be made open access. If your research is produced as a result of funding then more than one policy may apply. Please see below for further details.

HEFCE’s Open Access Policy for the next REF - From 1st April 2016, in order to be eligible for the next REF, HEFCE require all journal and conference articles to be made open access on institutional repositories. Post-prints must be deposited into repositories immediately after being accepted for publication, and within a 3-month deadline from the date of acceptance. Journal embargo periods must not exceed 12 months for REF Panels A & B, or 24 months for Panels C & D.

HEFCE's Open Access Policy for the post-2014 REF can be downloaded from their website. Please also see their FAQs to this Policy.

HEFCE's Open Access requirements apply only to peer reviewed articles published in journals and conference proceedings. Other types of research output - book chapters, monographs, non-article outputs in journals (e.g. a book review or letter), or articles in specialist publications (e.g. a magazine or newspaper) rather than in a journal or proceedings per se - do not require Open Access in order to be eligible for the next REF.

However, HEFCE encourages Open Access on institutional repositories for all research outputs if the publisher's copyright permissions allow it.

University of Portsmouth’s Open Access Policy - The University of Portsmouth’s Open Access Publication Policy states that from 1st January 2014 authors are required to add the post-print of all articles published in peer reviewed journals or conference proceedings to the University’s institutional repository (i.e. Pure) upon acceptance for publication.

The University’s policy can be downloaded. The University has a preference for the Green route to Open Access, which involves self-archiving the post-print version of the article in institutional repositories - as per the requirements of HEFCE's Open Access Policy.

External funders Open Access Policies - If your research is externally funded (e.g. by RCUK, the Wellcome Trust, or Horizon 2020) then making your publications Open Access is a requirement of your grant. Please check the terms and conditions of your award, particularly as some funders (e.g. Wellcome, BBSRC, ESRC, MRC) have additional subject-repository and/or data archiving requirements.

External funders may also have ‘stricter’ Open Access requirements (e.g. shorter acceptable embargo periods) than HEFCE.

The Sherpa-Romeo website is a useful resource for checking journal embargo periods, and other self-archiving requirements of the publisher. Also, the Sherpa-Juliet website is a useful resource for checking funders’ Open Access policies, and the Sherpa-Fact website shows how the requirements of journal publishers match those of funders.

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What is meant by Green and Gold Open Access?

There are two routes to Open Access: Green and Gold.

Open access flowchart

Green Open Access means making the post-print version of your article (accepted post-peer review) available to download and read from your institution’s repository (Pure and the Research Portal). Green Open Access is normally available when a researcher publishes an article in a Subscription (Hybrid) Journal. Such journals normally retain copyright to the final published version of your article.

Therefore, publishers of Subscription Journals typically only allow an article to be made Open Access on an institutional repository on these two conditions: firstly, if it is the accepted post-print version; and secondly, if it is subject to an embargo period. An embargo period is where Open Access is deferred on the repository according to publisher timescales.

Sherpa-Romeo provides the facility to search for the embargo period, and other self-archiving requirements, of a particular journal.

Gold Open Access means making the published version of your article (formatted according to the publisher’s formatting) available to download and read from the journal’s website immediately on publication. This typically involves payment of an Article Processing Charge (APC) by the individual author to the publisher.

Gold Open Access occurs when a researcher publishes an article in either an Open Access Journal or a Hybrid Journal. On payment of the APC, the journal publishers ought to return copyright to the author via some form of Open Access copyright licence, such as Creative Commons.

Among other things, a Creative Commons licence allows academic researchers to self-archive the published version of their article in their institutional repository (please note that if you take the Gold Open Access route then you still must upload your publication to Pure). The main condition is that an attribution is made to the article in its original location of publication in the journal.

These two routes into Open Access correspond to the two different types of journalsthat exist in academic publishing.

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What are the different types of journals?

Journal publishers typically operate under two different business models: Subscription Journals and Open Access Journals. There can also be various fusions of these two business models. For example, Subscription Journals that provide optional Gold Open Access are called Hybrid Open Access Journals.

Subscription (Hybrid) Journal - The business model of a Subscription Journal involves payment of a subscription fee by university libraries. A Subscription Journal is therefore free of charge for an individual author to publish in it. A Hybrid Open Access Journal is a Subscription Journal that provides optional Gold Open Access. Most of the Subscription Journals that are published by the larger publishers (Elsevier, Wiley, Taylor & Francis, etc) are Hybrid Journals.

Historically, the main issue with this traditional publishing model is that, if a particular library does not stock a particular journal then researchers who would want to read the content struggle to access it. Hence, Green Open Access is mostly related to publishing in Subscription Journals. All of the larger publishers should now have self-archiving policies that allows Green Open Access.

Open Access Journal - The business model of an Open Access Journal involves charging an individual author to publish in it. The entire content of the article is published on the journal’s website itself, hence becoming freely accessible.

The Gold Open Access cost paid for by the individual author (or by their university) in order to publish in an Open Access Journal is typically referred to as an Article Processing Charge (APC). On payment of an APC the author should receive a form of Open Access copyright licence, such as a Creative Commons license.

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What are the different versions of a journal article?

Universities have to adopt the terminology publishers use for the different versions an article goes through before it is published. Sometimes this terminology is far from intuitive!

The pre-print is any draft version of the output before peer-review. Pre-prints do not comply with either HEFCE's, the University's or RCUK's OA policies. This version is sometimes referred to as a 'draft' or 'submitted' version.

The post-print is the author’s accepted and final peer-reviewed text. This version is after the peer-review changes have been made, but it does not typically include the publication-specific formatting. The Open Access policies of the University, HEFCE and most major funders accept this version. This version is sometimes also referred to as the author's final draft, accepted author manuscript (AAM) or the author's final peer-reviewed manuscript. Example.

The publisher's version is the final published version. This is after peer-review and with the publisher's formatting. All OA policies accept this version, however, publishers typically do not allow it to be made OA unless an Article Processing Charge has been paid. This version is sometimes also referred to as the publisher's version of record. Example.

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How do I make my article Green Open Access?

If you are publishing in a Subscription Journal, in order to comply with HEFCE’s REF-eligibility requirements, you will need to make your article Open Access via the Green route.

Before submission - Please ensure that, before submitting your article to a journal, the journal you are planning on submitting your article to is consistent with HEFCE’s REF-eligibility requirements.

This involves checking two things. First, that the publisher allows the self-archiving of the post-print version of your article into an institutional repository (this is typically subject to a publisher-imposed embargo period). And second, that the publisher’s embargo period does not exceed the maximum embargo that HEFCE allow (12 months for REF Panels A & B, and 24 months for Panels C & D).

If your article is produced as a result of funding then please also check your funder’s embargo requirements (e.g. RCUK’s embargo requirements are shorter than HEFCE’s).

The copyright and self-archiving policies of different journal publishers can be found on Sherpa-Romeo, and if you’re externally funded the Sherpa-Fact website is also useful.

Upon acceptance - Please ensure that, when your article has been accepted for publication in a journal, you keep a record of the acceptance date in the form of the official email of acceptance that you received from the journal publisher.

Within 3 months of your article being accepted for publication, upload the following to Pure:
- Bibliographic metadata (author names, article title, journal title, abstract and acceptance date);
- The post-print version of your article

Once the Pure entry has been validated by the Library, the metadata will become available on the Research Portal.

Authors can either upload publications to Pure themselves (please see, how do I upload my publications to Pure?), or send them to their Faculty Depositor to do so on their behalf.

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What funding is available for Gold Open Access and how do I apply?

To apply for central funding for your APC please download the application form (.doc file):

For further details on the process of applying for APC funds please see below.

Summary - An author publishes in an open access or hybrid (subscription) journal and pays an Article Processing Charge (APC) in order to make the article openly available online (without charge or subscription) immediately on publication on the journal’s website.

Although in most cases the University of Portsmouth prefers the green route, the gold route may be appropriate in the following circumstances:
- If you are RCUK funded;
- If the University has APC deals with publishers (please contact
- If you cannot find a journal that allows you to meet the requirements of HEFCE’s Open Access policy without paying an APC

In order to apply for APC funds, please follow the process below.

Before submission - Before submitting your article to a journal for publication, secure funding to pay for the APC.

If you wish to apply for APC funding from the University’s central funds via the form above, then you are strongly advised to do so (and to wait to receive a response) before you submit your article to the journal. Please note that acceptance of an article for publication in a journal will not necessarily guarantee that APC funds will be available.
All applicants for the University’s APC funds must be the corresponding author of the article. The University has a separate budget for APCs for RCUK funded authors.
For authors without RCUK funding, the University’s APC funds are only available to authors who can demonstrate that they have no other sources (e.g. their departments) from which they can meet the costs, and that paying an APC to publish in the specified journal can be justified. Also, while PhD students are welcome to apply if they are the corresponding author, the article must also include at least one other author who is an academic member of staff at the University of Portsmouth.

The University also has a number of APC discount deals, as a result of our subscriptions with publishers.

Upon acceptance - Upload the post-print to Pure within 3 months of being accepted for publication. This is to ensure that the requirements of HEFCE's Open Access Policy are met.

After publication - Publishers usually allow you to replace the post-print with the publisher’s version in Pure when the article is published, as paying for Gold Open Access should mean that your article comes with an Open Access copyright licence (such as Creative Commons).

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What APC discount deals are available for University of Portsmouth staff?

If you are considering going down the route of Gold Open Access then the University of Portsmouth has a number of discount deals with publishers as a result of the subscriptions we have to their journals.

Discount deals currently available.

What are Creative Commons licences?

Creative Commons licences are one of the primary types of Open Access copyright licence. For information about the different kinds of Creative Commons licences please see the Library's copyright guidelines page.

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How do I upload a publication / research output to Pure?

These are the links that you need:-

Alternatively, instead of uploading your publications to Pure yourself, you can email them to your Faculty Depositors and they can upload them for you - see below.

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Who is my Faculty Depositor?

Click here for a list of Faculty Depositors

Your Faculty Depositor is someone who can add publications to Pure on the behalf of researchers

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I'm a Faculty Depositor. Where can I find help?

Here is the help guide for Faculty Depositors. Please contact if you have any questions.

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What is Pure?

Pure login

Login to Pure

Pure is a current research information management system (CRIS), which will be used to address many of the University's information and reporting requirements relating to research activities. In addition to research outputs and associated metadata, Pure can also store information about research staff (profiles), projects, activities and collaborations. Pure is being implemented in phases and it will be linked to finance and other corporate systems containing research-related information in future, so that it becomes the single authoritative source of research information.

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What is the Portsmouth Research Portal?

Go to the Portsmouth Research Portal

Portsmouth Research Portal is a public website showcasing University of Portsmouth research personnel, our research projects, outputs and outcomes. It provides a publicly accessible, fully searchable and navigable interface, with information drawn directly from Pure.

Research portal

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'Predatory' journals and publishers


An unfortunate side-effect of the growth of high-quality open access journals is the number of 'predatory' open access publishers that have also sprung up. These publishers essentially accept as many articles as possible in order to make as much money as possible. These journals provide little or no peer-review and editorial services, and as a result the quality of the articles they publish is poor. (You may like to read this Times Higher article).

Academics considering where to publish, or students considering what they should cite, should avoid these journals for obvious reasons!

Predatory journals can sometimes be hard to spot. Their websites can look professional, while making claims that are untrue. For example, saying that they have an Impact Factor when they do not, or claiming recognised experts are on the editorial board when they are not.

How to spot 'predatory' journals and publishers:-

• If they offer a very fast turn-around time for publication then be suspicious.

• Check that the journal/publisher is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). This website lists reputable open access journals.

• Check that the publisher is a member of Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM).

• Check that the editorial board of the journal are recognised experts in their field.

• Sometimes predatory journals list people as editors without their knowledge. Check that the people listed as editors are actually editors! E.g. check their profiles on their university website to ensure they mention their role as an editor, or contact them directly via their university email address and check.

• Check the journal is indexed by Web of Science and Scopus. (This may not be relevant for some subject areas, also new journals produced by reputable publishers may not be listed yet. So this is not fool-proof!)

• If the journal claims to have an Impact Factor, check that the journal is indexed in Web of Science. Some journals claim to have an Impact Factor but they do not. If a journal is not listed in Web of Science then it cannot have an Impact Factor.

• If the journal appears to have a back-catalogue of articles, make sure they are accessible.

• Look at the quality of the research published in the journal. If the quality is dubious then beware of the journal.

• If there is limited information about the costs (Article Processing Charges) of publishing on their website then beware of the journal/publisher.

• If the publisher sends spam emails to academics inviting them to submit to the journal, then beware.

• Check that the contact information for the publisher is verifiable. I.e. do they have an address and working telephone number? Be aware of publishers who only provide a web form as a means of contacting them.

Students - if you are in any doubt about a particular journal then please discuss it with your tutor, supervisor or Faculty Librarian.

In addition to working out where to avoid, you may want to also work out which journal to target.

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Further Information