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The University of Bolton Library

REF: making your research open access

The REF 2021 publication period closed on 31 December 2020, but researchers should continue to comply with the requirements of the REF 2021 OA policy until further notice. The OA requirements of the next REF will be displayed here when available. 



The REF open access policy:

"applies to journal articles and conference contributions (with an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)) which are accepted for publication from 1 April 2016 and published on or before 31 December 2020.  It requires these research outputs to be made open access to be eligible for submission in REF 2021. The REF 2021 outputs should be deposited, discoverable, and free to read, download and search within, by anyone with an internet connection.”   REF Guidance on Submissions

REF 2021 and open access: key points

  • Research intended for submission to REF 2021 must be made open access
  • This policy came into force on 1st April 2016;
  • To be eligible, papers must be deposited within the following timeframes:

    Outputs accepted for publication from the 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2018. The output must have been deposited no later than three months after the date of publication.

    Outputs accepted for publication from the 1 April 2018 to 31 December 2020. The output must have been deposited no later than three months after the date of acceptance.

  • The policy applies to journal articles and conference papers
  • Monographs and book chapters are not included.

REF compliance at the University of Bolton

The easiest way to ensure you achieve open access compliance for the REF is to deposit your research in UBIR

Contact the UBIR Team for guidance. 


Creating an ORCID ID means that you can link all of your outputs using a single identifier. An ORCID ID is essential for REF 2021. Follow the link below to create your ORCID ID:

Useful links

Funder compliancy

To establish how you can achieve open access compliancy for funded research, you can check SHERPA FACT (Funders and Authors Compliance Tool), available here: