Library

Exceptions for the REF2021 Open Access policy

In certain circumstances a paper can be submitted to the REF even though it does not comply with the REF Open Access Policy. Permitted exceptions are outlined below alongside the action that authors need to take.

Exceptions are recorded in SRO by the Library Research Support team but in many cases will need to be agreed with Directors of Research or the RQI team. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, even if an exception applies the accepted manuscript should be added to SRO within 3 months of acceptance. It is always better to take action or seek advice sooner rather than later to minimise the risk of an output becoming ineligible for REF submission.

Deposit exceptions

The following exceptions deal with cases where the output is unable to meet the deposit requirements, or has been made open access via another route.

1. Individual was unable to secure the use of a repository

Not applicable - all Sussex authors have access to SRO. New starters from other institutions are covered by other provisions below (exceptions 3 or 10).

2. Individual experienced a delay securing the accepted manuscript (eg for multi-authored papers)

Authors should make all reasonable efforts to get hold of the manuscript from the corresponding author, or from other co-authors. Where the author is unable to secure a copy of the manuscript in time, they should notify the RQI team (rqi@sussex.ac.uk), who will agree the exception. The exception will then be added to SRO by the Library.

3. Individual was not employed by a UK HEI at the point of acceptance

New staff should add details of their outputs in the current REF period (since 1 Jan 2014) to SRO or ask School staff to do so in line with their agreed support. If School staff are adding on behalf of a new academic who was not employed by a UK HEI they should alert Library SRO staff to their date of arrival by noting this in the ‘Notes to SRO staff field’ for each output which was accepted before their start date at Sussex and Library staff will apply the exceptions on SRO.

4. It would be unlawful to deposit, or request the deposit of, the output

To be handled on a case-by-case basis. Contact RQI for discussion if this applies to your output.

5. Depositing the output would present a security risk

To be handled on a case-by-case basis. Contact RQI for discussion if this applies to your output.

6. The output was published as Gold open access

Exceptions for such outputs will be set in SRO by Library staff. This will happen on deposit for publications in pure Gold journals (eg PLoS ONE), and on publication for Gold articles in hybrid journals (which offer Gold as an option not as default) so that the Gold status can be confirmed.

 Access exceptions

The following exceptions deal with cases where deposit of the output is possible but there are issues with meeting the access requirements. The accepted manuscript should still be deposited as soon as possible.

7. Output depends on third party content for which open access rights could not be granted

The author deposits outputs as normal in SRO at the point of acceptance, but should notify Library staff about the third party content where the open access rights could not be granted.

8. The output requires an embargo period that exceeds the stated maxima, and was the most appropriate publication for the output

Where a journal has an embargo period that is too long, authors should follow the process outlined in the REF Open Access Exceptions Process document  i.e. discussing alternative options with their DRKE and recording the details of why it was the most appropriate publication for the research. If the decision is to publish in the journal, then the accepted manuscript should be uploaded to SRO within 3 months of acceptance. It will not be made openly available until the journal’s embargo period has ended. If the embargo period is the only reason for non-compliance then the Library staff will add this exception when the item is deposited.

9. The publisher actively disallows open access deposit in a repository and was the most appropriate publication for the output

Where a journal does not allow open access at all, authors should follow the process outlined in the REF Open Access Exceptions Process document i.e. discussing alternative options with their DRKE and recording the details of why it was the most appropriate publication for the research. If the decision is to publish in the journal, then the accepted manuscript should be uploaded to SRO within 3 months of acceptance. It will not be made openly available. If the disallowed OA is the only reason for non-compliance then the Library staff will add this exception when the item is deposited.

 Technical exceptions

The following exceptions deal with cases where an output is unable to meet the criteria due to a technical issue.

10. At acceptance, the individual was at a different UK HEI that failed to comply

New staff should add details of their outputs in the current REF period (since 1 Jan 2014) to SRO or ask School staff to do so in line with their agreed support. If School staff are adding on behalf of a new academic/research colleague who was previously at a different UK HEI, they should alert Library SRO staff to this by noting their date of arrival in the ‘Notes to SRO staff field’ for each output accepted before their start date at Sussex and Library staff will apply the exceptions on SRO. We are not required to seek and retain evidence of the previous HEI's compliance with the deposit requirements and so this exception will be used for all items accepted before the author came to Sussex. If the output was deposited with a repository at a previous institution please also include this in ‘Notes to SRO staff’ and the information that this item was compliant elsewhere can be recorded if freely available

11. A short-term technical failure within the repository prevented compliance

If there is a short-term technical failure authors should add their output as soon as possible after it has been resolved.

12. An external service provider failure prevented compliance (eg a subject repository ceased to operate)

Unlikely to be applicable - Sussex authors should add their work to SRO even if they also add a copy to a subject repository to increase dissemination

 Other exceptions

In very exceptional cases, it may not be possible for an output to meet the open access requirements for a reason not covered by the exceptions listed above and it may be appropriate to record an ‘Other’ exception giving an explanation of why the requirements could not be met. Other exceptions will be handled on a case-by-case basis and authors should contact RQI to discuss. Please raise the issue as soon as possible after it arises.

 

Contacts

RQI team: rqi@sussex.ac.uk

Library SRO support: sro@sussex.ac.uk