Exceptions to the REF open access policy

In certain circumstances, a paper can be submitted to the REF even though it does not comply with the REF open access policy. Permitted exceptions are shown below, alongside the action that authors need to take. Exceptions are recorded in OA Monitor in myPublications and are visible to departmental OA administrators.

Deposit exceptions

The following exceptions deal with cases where the output is unable to meet the deposit requirements. In the following cases, the output will not be required to meet any of the open access criteria (deposit, discovery or access requirements).

1. At the point of acceptance, it was not possible to secure the use of a repository Not applicable - all Sheffield authors have access to a repository. New starters from other institutions are covered by other provisions below.
2. There was a delay in securing the final peer-reviewed text (for instance, where a paper has multiple authors) Authors should make all reasonable efforts to get hold of the manuscript from the corresponding author, or from other co-authors. Where the author is unable to secure a copy of the manuscript - and before the deadline for deposit - they should use myPublications to upload the output to WRRO without the manuscript attached. The Library will then ask for written confirmation from the author of the efforts undertaken to gain the manuscript, which will be kept on file for submission to the REF.
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 This includes staff recruited to Sheffield from overseas, or individuals that were on an ineligible contract type at the time of acceptance (e.g. a teaching contract). New staff should add details of their outputs in the current REF period (since 1 Jan 2014) to myPublications.
4. It would be unlawful to deposit, or request the deposit of, the output To be handled on a case-by-case basis. Contact OAEnquiries@sheffield.ac.uk for further assistance.
5. Depositing the output would present a security risk
6. The output was published as Gold open access (for example, RCUK-funded projects where an article processing charge has been paid) or in an open access journal.

Access exceptions

The following exceptions deal with cases where deposit of the output is possible, but there are issues to do with meeting the access requirements. In the following cases, the output will still need to be deposited in myPublications with 3 months of first publication and the metadata published on WRRO (i.e. a closed-access deposit whereby the manuscript is under embargo).

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). The author deposits outputs as normal in WRRO within 3 months of first publication, informing the Open Access Team of any problems with reproduction of third party content using the comments box during the upload process.
2. The publication concerned requires an embargo period that exceeds the stated maxima, and was the most appropriate publication for the output. Where a journal does not allow open access at all, or has an embargo period that is too long, authors are encouraged to consider publishing in an alternative journal. If they still wish to publish in the journal because it is the most appropriate publication for the research, then the manuscript should be uploaded to WRRO within 3 months of first publication. Problems with excessive embargo periods are determined by the Library as the record is processed. 
3. The publisher actively disallows open access deposit in a repository, and was the most appropriate publication for the output

Technical exceptions

The following exceptions deal with cases where an output is unable to meet the criteria due to a technical issue. In the following cases, the output will not be required to meet the open access criteria (deposit, discovery or access requirements).

1. 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. We are not required to seek and retain evidence of the previous HEI's compliance with the deposit requirements. New staff should add details of their outputs in the current REF period (since 1 Jan 2014) to myPublications.
2. The repository experienced a short-term or transient technical failure that prevented compliance with the criteria (this should not apply to systemic issues). All periods of downtime are recorded by the Library. Authors who were unable to deposit a manuscript during downtime and thus missed the 3-month period, should contact OAEnquiries@sheffield.ac.uk for further assistance.
3. 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) Sheffield authors are encouraged to deposit all outputs in WRRO, which is within our control. Failures of third party providers will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Authors should contact OAEnquiries@sheffield.ac.uk for further assistance.

"Other" exception

‘Other’ exception should be used where 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. If 'other' exception is selected, the output will not need to meet the open access criteria (deposit, discovery or access requirements). ‘Other’ exceptions will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Authors should contact the REF team in Research Services for further assistance.

For further information, contact OAEnquiries@sheffield.ac.uk.