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Open Access: Funder Policies (including REF)

The Goldsmiths Library's introduction and overview of Open Access

Funder Open Access Policies (including REF)

An increasing number of research funders are creating Open Access requirements for research outputs that they fund through research grants.  This also includes national research assessments like the Research Excellence Framework, which also has an Open Access policy.

Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) and Open Access

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) introduced an Open Access policy for REF 2021, which came into effect from 1 April 2016.  The REF open access policy has remained unchanged after HEFCE was replaced by Research England for REF purposes, and the next REF is also expected to continue this Open Access requirement.   

The policy requires authors to upload their papers in academic journals and conference proceedings published with an ISSN to a repository such as Goldsmiths Research Online (GRO) within 3 months of acceptance.

All papers that have been accepted for publication after 1st April 2016 are only eligible for REF 2021 if they are uploaded to GRO within 3 months of the date of acceptance.  This is the final acceptance for publication, after changes have been made in response to peer review.  To comply with the policy, you must upload your author’s accepted manuscript/AAM to GRO.

In some instances, we will be able to apply “exceptions” to non-compliant papers to be able to submit them to REF. Please email for further information.

Further information on REF2021 eligibility and Open Access are available here:

Plan S

At the end of 2018, cOAlition S – a consortium of research funders (including UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Wellcome Trust among others), supported by the European Commission and the European Research Council – launched a new Open Access publishing initiative called Plan S, which comes into effect on 1st January 2021. Plan S is an initiative that hopes to make immediate, full Open Access a reality by committing to the Open Access publication and dissemination of all scholarly publications on the results from research funded by public or private grants provided by national, regional and international research councils and funding bodies without embargo. For more information, please visit the Plan S page within Goldsmiths Research Online.

Open Access Policies

Individual funders and agencies create their own Open Access requirements through their Open Access policies.  This includes the members of Coalition S, who will implement Plan S in their Open Access policies.  Of particular relevance to Goldsmiths and other UK researchers are the UKRI and Wellcome Trust.  UKRI is currently in the process of drafting its new Open Access policy following the principles of Plan S.  Research England and the Research Excellence Framework are not directly part of Plan S, but the REF Open Access policy is linked to the UKRI policy.  

REF 2021 Open Access Policy

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Open Access Policy

Wellcome Trust Open Access Policy

Plan S

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