School of Psychology

Uploading your publication to Sussex Research Online (SRO)

School of Psychology guidelines for depositing your publication outputs on SRO

From 1st April 2016, HEFCE’s Open Access policy requires that all relevant post-2014 REF publications be deposited in an institutional repository within three months of the date of acceptance (not the date of publication).

Sussex Research Online (SRO) is the University’s central system for managing the research outputs and publication details of staff.

The person responsible for letting the School know about new papers is the relevant faculty member.  When more than one member of School faculty are authors, please agree which of you starts the process (usually the lead author) to avoid duplications. If the paper was submitted by a PhD student, it is still the faculty co-author who should start the upload process. 

1. Locate the FINAL (ideally .pdf) file that was submitted to the journal which was accepted.  If the MS is one where you are co-author, you need to get a copy of this file from the submitting author.  Note post-acceptance versions (ie where the Journal has edited this onto their format) can NOT be uploaded even for Gold OA papers.

2. Locate the email confirming the paper was accepted: again if you are not the submitting author, ask the submitting author to forward the acceptance email to you.

3. Forward the relevant acceptance email to the email address ATTACHING the final accepted author version .PDF

4. In the body of that email, give YOUR estimate of the likely REF rating this paper may get, Try and be realistic, and use the guide to REF papers the School has produced below to help you.

5. Research Support staff in Psychology will upload the paper onto SRO and let you know when the link is live.



Open Access procedures and policies

The Library web pages have detailed information on Open-Access procedures and policies -, including -

The Green and Gold Options for Open-Access:

UK Research and Innovation (formerly RCUK) funded research, which has required peer-reviewed journal articles and conference proceedings submitted after 1st April 2013 to be open-access. This includes work produced by funded doctoral researchers:

Research Funders Open-Access Policies:

Open Access for Non-funded Researchers:

Open Access requirements for REF 2021:

Guidelines for estimating the REF ratings of your publications

Translating REF Output ratings for Psychology

 The key translation is converting “originality, significance and rigour” into more tangible measures.  There are no explicit definitions: rather, quality is judged implicitly from reading each paper.

Key indicators that help determine the likely REF grade include:

  • Intrinsic quality – what is the long-term academic impact of the work (i.e. is it likely to be widely used/cited in 5-10 years time, feature in future textbooks, cause a major theoretical shift, etc)
  • Reach – is the work restricted to a narrow field or does it have broader implications both within and beyond its narrow field of study?
  • Journal quality – what rating would we expect the “typical” outputs in this journal to achieve (but as a rough guide only)?

REF * rating

Published REF description

Translated guidelines for Psychology


Quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour

Papers in this category likely to have some of the following features:

  • World-leading quality
  • A substantial contribution: either multiple experiments/studies, very large highly novel trial or new theoretical perspective
  • Findings that radically alter our understanding
  • Most likely to be in high impact broad appeal journals, e.g. general Science journals or the top ranked general international Psychology or Neuroscience journals


Quality that is internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour but which falls short of the highest standards of excellence.

Papers in this category likely to have most of the following features:

  • High quality international research, greatly advancing the field of   study and with some implications beyond the specific field
  • Offering clear new information or perspectives
  • Likely to be in a top ranked journal in that field of study or in journals where typical outputs   are 4* but where the work itself is not sufficiently substantial or lacks the reach needed for a 4* grading


Quality that is recognised internationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour.

Papers in this category likely to have the following features:

  • High quality international research which makes a clear contribution to the field of study
  • Adds weight to existing theory, clarifies knowledge gaps, etc. without making a radically new contribution
  • Published in an internationally recognised journal but not necessarily the top journal in its field OR in a top journal but lacking the originality and/or breadth needed for a 3* rating


Quality that is recognised nationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour.

Papers   in this category likely to have the following features:

  • Highly specialised outputs which add to local knowledge but lack a clear international perspective
  • Lacking in scope and breadth
  • Typically in nationally focused journals or international journals but taking a limited perspective that does not translate internationally


Quality that falls below the standard of nationally recognised work. Or work which does not meet the published definition of research for the purposes of this assessment.

Papers in this category likely to have one of the following features:

  • Falls outside the REF remit (published outside the specified review period)
  • Very limited or flawed studies