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Durham University

Open Research


The open access requirements for REF2021 only apply to:

  • Scholarly journal articles and conference papers published in a proceedings with an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) and only if
  • Accepted for publication from 1 April 2016 onwards

This means that all other REF-eligible outputs can be submitted without needing to be available open access.


  1. DEPOSIT: accepted peer-reviewed manuscript in either an institutional or subject repository within 3 months of its acceptance for publication
  2. OPEN ACCESS: deposited manuscript made open access
    • within 1 month of deposit if there is no publisher-imposed embargo or
    • no later than 1 month after the publisher-imposed embargo has expired


There are maximum compliant embargo periods depending on which REF Panel the output is submitted.

    • 12 months for papers submitted to Panels A and B
    • 24 months for Panels C and D

Email your final accepted peer-reviewed manuscript to The DRO Team will create a Staff Profile record, transfer a copy record to DRO, check the publisher's repository policy and process the manuscript accordingly.


  • Create your own Staff Profile record - this also puts the record into the REF database
  • Attach your final accepted peer-reviewed manuscript
  • Link any Durham co-authors to the record – enables its display on their DU web page as well as yours

The DRO Team will check your Profile record, adding any missing information - eg ISSNs - and process the record and manuscript for deposit in DRO.

There are a number of exceptions, circumstances in which it was not possible to comply with either or both the deposit and open access requirements. For example, although you deposited your accepted manuscript within the 3-month deadline, your chosen journal requires an embargo longer than the maximum deemed compliant for your REF Panel.

See details of all the Policy exceptions and what to do if you think they apply to any of your submissions.

Research and Innovation Services maintains a list of REF FAQs. If the answer to your question is not on this list, please email