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Big players lean on HEFCE over REF 2020 open-access

Research-intensive universities are asking the Higher Education Funding Council for England to relax its open-access requirements for the next Research Excellence Framework.

University College London and the universities of Cambridge and Oxford are among the institutions that have told HEFCE that their large research volumes mean they can’t guarantee that all their academics’ outputs will be deposited in their institutional repositories from 1 April 2016. HEFCE’s policy states that outputs published after that date must be freely available in institutional repositories in order to be eligible for the next REF.

Through the Russell Group, the universities have written to HEFCE to ask for a certain allowance of papers that will not need to be open-access in order to be eligible for the REF, or for partial compliance by the time of the next REF, rather than total compliance from April 2016. “The challenge we have is we don’t know how heavy handed HEFCE is going to be,” says Danny Kingsley, head of scholarly communication at Cambridge.

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