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Open Access

Get ready for REF

Research England have in place an open access mandate as part of REF 2021 and REF 2027. Currently, the REF open access mandate only applies to journal articles and proceedings with an ISSN.

For a research output to be eligible for the next REF, authors’ final peer-reviewed (author-accepted) manuscripts must be deposited in LBS Research Online as soon after the date of acceptance as possible and no later than three months after acceptance. The Acceptance date is based on the letter or e-mail from the publication to author. 

Embargo period(s) and copyright

Publishers frequently impose a delay before open access repositories can make manuscripts freely available. London Business School fall under REF Panel C & D, so based on the open access policy the maximum permitted embargo is 24 months. Copyright information on journals is available at SHERPA/ROMEO and it is not uncommon for copyright restrictions preventing open access of deposits.

REF Open Access Exceptions

Copyright restrictions are one of several scenarios where higher education institutions can claim a REF open access exception. Simply put, this means that while open access has been prevented or hindered, there is justification for the research output to be eligible for REF. The REF open access mandate policy details these scenarios but if there is uncertainty or doubt concerning your research output and eligibility, email

REF 2021 & REF 2027


The Research Excellence Framework is the way the United Kingdom assesses the quality of research in higher education institutions. The first REF took place in 2014 and the subsequent REF was completed in 2021. The results of REF 2021 are expected to be released in May 2022.

The School are currently in the REF cycle, after REF 2021, that is expected to assess research quality from 2021-2027. 

Still 'Act on Acceptance'

Act on Acceptance

Research England are deciding on the new open access policy for REF 2027. Until then, the open access policy from REF 2021 remains, so please continue to 'Act on Acceptance'.

What is 'Act on Acceptance'? 

Research papers need to be deposited in a repository within 3 months of the date of acceptance as confirmed in a letter or email from your publisher. If that does not happen, it opens up the possibility of the research paper not being eligible for the REF.

We recommend the following steps:

  • Once you have received 'acceptance', please email the acceptance letter (or acceptance date) to
  • Once you have a copy of the 'accepted manuscript', please email it to

The Library Team will take care of the rest.