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Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)


This policy affects research outputs from UK Higher Education institutions. The requirements apply to all journal articles and conference proceedings accepted for publication after 1 April 2016 but not to monographs, other long-form publications, creative or non-text outputs, data, or those outputs published under a Creative Commons licence.

Complying via ‘green’ OA

HEFCE require peer-reviewed manuscripts to be deposited in an institutional or subject repository at any point between acceptance and up to three months after the date of publication. This is a slight change from the original policy, issued in 2014, which required outputs to be deposited within three months of acceptance. However, following a 12 month grace period from April 2016 to April 2017, HEFCE plan that outputs accepted from 1 April 2017 will need to be deposited within three months of acceptance; this will be reviewed in autumn 2016.

HEFCE require authors to deposit the accepted manuscript (i.e. the version after peer review, but before OUP typesetting and copyediting). The manuscript should remain ‘closed’ in the repository until the appropriate embargo period has elapsed.

Acceptable embargo periods are 12 months for REF Main Panel A and REF Main Panel B, and 24 months for REF Main Panel C and REF Main Panel D.

The title, author, and other descriptive information of a manuscript must be discoverable immediately on deposit. Once any relevant embargo period has elapsed, the output must also be searchable electronically, readable and downloadable without charge.

Complying via ‘gold’ OA

In July 2015, HEFCE decided to make an exception to the requirement to deposit manuscripts in a repository within three months of acceptance for outputs published via ‘gold’ open access, under a Creative Commons licence. HEFCE strongly encourage these outputs to be deposited as soon as possible after publication, but this will not be a requirement of the policy.

OUP journals

The vast majority of OUP journals are compliant with the HEFCE policy. To find out which Creative Commons licences are available in any given journal, please see the ‘Instructions to Authors’ page of that journal. To find out the embargo period of a journal, please see the journal’s ‘Self-archiving policy’.

To read the full policy, click here

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