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2020 Open access and the REF


Complying with the REF

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercises assess the quality of our research by looking at the impact of our research output and the new REF requirements will be published in due course. The advice below assumes that these requirements will not change. 

For your research to be included, you'll need to place a copy in Worcester Research and Publications (WRaP), our institutional repository.

This applies to scholarly articles and full conference proceedings that have been published in journals with an ISSN.

Once you’ve completed the peer review process, the journal editor will email to confirm acceptance for publication. The date you receive the email is the date of acceptance.

You must upload your research to WRaP (video 8:05) within three months of the date of acceptance. Usually you will upload your author’s accepted manuscript (AAM). AAMs have been peer-reviewed but not copyedited or formatted by the publisher. They are also known as post-prints, accepted author versions, or personal copies.

We can advise you if your final published version, or version of record (VoR), is permitted instead of the AAM.

Your AAM can be embargoed for up to 12 months (health, science and engineering) or 24 months (arts, humanities and social sciences) and still be eligible for the REF. 



Article processing charge funding

University of Worcester funding

We have limited funds for article processing charges (APCs) where gold open access is the most appropriate route. Please apply for Open Access Funding (under Your Online Services) prior to submitting your article to your chosen journal.

You must be the lead, or corresponding, author, with no alternative funding. Your chosen journal must be compliant with current REF policy, and your research funder’s policy if applicable. Contact us if you need advice.


Read and publish schemes

We can also fund APCs through our journal subscriptions. Some publishers are flipping reading fees into paying for publishing, or offering APC discounts. We currently have deals with Springer Nature, Wiley and Sage. Other publishers, such as Taylor and Francis, Elsevier, Emerald and BMJ are currently negotiating similar agreements. We will update this page as new agreements are added.

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For your APC to be waived, you must be the corresponding author for an article accepted for publication in an eligible journal.

Please check with us before submitting a manuscript, as the list of eligible journals changes every year. Once we have confirmed your eligibility and your manuscript is accepted, apply for gold open access by ticking a box on the online copyright transfer form.

This agreement is in place until 31 December 2021.

For your APC to be waived, you must be the corresponding author, and want to publish in one of Wiley’s hybrid or fully open access journals. There is a cap on the number of publications.

From 12 October 2020, gold open access publishing will be limited to research funded by Wellcome, UKRI, Blood Cancer UK, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Parkinson’s UK and Versus Arthritis. This is because funding has been used more quickly than expected.

Please check with us for guidance on how this may affect your publishing plans. 

This agreement is in place until 31 December 2023.

Hybrid journals

For your APC to be waived, you must be the corresponding author and want to publish in one of Sage’s hybrid journals. Sage will accept original research papers, review papers, brief communications, short reports and case studies. Book reviews, editorials, abstracts and news items are excluded.

When you submit your article, include yourself as the corresponding author, and give your University of Worcester email address and affiliation. We will then be asked to approve the request.

Sage will inform all co-authors that the article can be published open access at no additional cost.

Within five days, one author must confirm that they wish to publish the article open access.

Within 14 days, one author must choose a licence (CC BY or CC BY-NC). We recommend choosing CC BY for compliance with research funder policies.

If you are not correctly listed as the corresponding author, Sage may not be able to later convert your article to open access.


Gold Journals

For a 20% APC discount, you must be the corresponding author and want to publish in one of Sage’s fully open access journals.

You must have funding in place for the remaining charge before submitting your manuscript.


This agreement is in place until 31 December 2022.


Open access routes


Green open access is free to publish. It works by putting the AAM version of your paywalled article in an institutional repository, an earlier draft in a preprint server, or any free version of your research in a subject repository.

WRaP is our institutional repository, where we collect, preserve and disseminate our research outputs. You can find WRaP records in search engines such as Google, and databases such as WorldCat and CORE.

Subject repositories contain open access research for specific disciplines. Preprint servers can also be subject-specific. Both are great for quickly and widely disseminating results from the early stages of your research. Most publishers will later accept articles based on preprints, although there may be conditions. 



You usually must pay an Article Processing Charge (APC) for gold open access. The University, read and publish schemes, and funders can help pay APCs. Your final published article will be immediately and freely available on the publisher’s website.

It will usually be published under a Creative Commons licence that allows re-use of content.



Why you should make your research open access

Benefits for your research

You can improve the reach, and evidence the impact of your research by choosing to publish open access. Another benefit is increased citations. Open access also encourages transparent and reproducible research practices. 


Research funder policies

Most research funders have an open access policy, and they usually have different requirements. If you do not comply, your existing grant could be withheld and you may not be eligible for future funding.


Benefits for society

Open access benefits society by opening research to everyone, rather than only those who can afford it. It is part of a movement which encourages creativity by freely exchanging knowledge and resources.


Benefits for the University

Participating in the REF improves our reputation for research. Open access might also help address the challenge of journal costs rising faster than library budgets. Our open access policy further details how we will support our researchers in maximising impact and complying with the REF and research funders.


Plan S and research funding

Plan S is a set of open access principles from a group of national funders called cOAlition S. Supported by the European Commission and the European Research Council, they aim to make research immediately, and freely available. Plan S will likely have a large impact on publishing, we will provide updates and guidance as it evolves.