How to Request an Exception to the REF Open Access Policy

This form can be used by authors in some circumstances to request an exception to the open access requirements of REF 2021.

A full list of possible exceptions can be found below. Please consider the available exceptions listed before completing the exception request form and submitting.

Requested exceptions will be validated by the University Library’s Scholarly Communications Team and in some cases, REF Strategy panel before being applied and recorded in Elements.  You may be contacted if further information or evidence is required.

You will receive confirmation by email to confirm the outcome of your exception request.

Except in cases where deposit is not possible due to the nature of the exception, the output must have been deposited in WIRE before requesting an exception using this form.

The 'Other' exception should only be selected in exceptional circumstances, such as extenuating personal circumstances of the author. 'Other COVID-19' exceptions can be requested for outputs made publicly available in 2020, in circumstances where open access requirements could not be met due to personal or institutional circumstances related to COVID-19.

All exceptions require an accompanying narrative explanation with full details of the circumstances that led to the exception being required. 

Exceptions to the REF Open Access Policy

  • DEPOSIT 1 At the point of acceptance, it was not possible to secure the use of a repository.
  • DEPOSIT 2 There was a delay in securing the final peer-reviewed text (for instance, where a paper has multiple authors).
  • DEPOSIT 3 The staff member to whom the output is attributed was not employed on a Category A eligible contract by a UK HEI at the time of submission for publication.
  • DEPOSIT 4 It would be unlawful to deposit, or request the deposit of, the output.
  • DEPOSIT 5 Depositing the output would present a security risk.
  • DEPOSIT 6 The output has been published as gold open access.
  • DEPOSIT 7 Extended deposit deadline – The output was deposited within 3 months of publication not acceptance.
  • ACCESS 1 The output depends on the reproduction of third party content for which open access rights could not be granted (either within the specified timescales, or at all).
  • ACCESS 2 The publication concerned requires an embargo period that exceeds the stated maxima, and was the most appropriate publication for the output.
  • ACCESS 3 The publication concerned actively disallows open-access deposit in a repository, and was the most appropriate publication for the output.
  • TECH 2 At the point of acceptance, the staff member to whom the output is attributed was employed at a different UK HEI, and it has not been possible to determine compliance with the criteria.
  • TECH 3 The repository experienced a short-term or transient technical failure that prevented compliance with the criteria (this should not apply to systemic issues).
  • TECH 4 An external service provider failure prevented compliance (for instance, a subject repository did not enable open access at the end of the embargo period, or a subject repository ceased to operate).
  • OTHER 1 An output is unable to meet the criteria due to circumstances beyond the control of the HEI, including extenuating personal circumstances of the author (such as periods of extended leave), industrial action, closure days, and software problems beyond those listed in the technical exceptions.
  • OTHER COVID-19 An output is unable to meet the criteria due to COVID-19. This includes effects due to individual circumstances (such as ill health and caring responsibilities); other personal circumstances related to COVID-19 (such as furloughed staff, health related or clinical staff diverted to frontline services, staff resources diverted to other priority areas within the HEI in response to COVID-19); and/or external factors related to COVID-19