Open Access in the Next REF – Planning Update

Over the last few weeks. the University of Edinburgh has seen a whirlwind of activity around the Open Access requirements for REF.  The Library’s Scholarly Communications Team attended an HSS College Research Committee, which has resulted in appointments to speak at School or subject area departmental meetings to inform academics of the latest requirements and how they will be implemented.

Edinburgh also hosted a meeting of the PURE Repositories Working Group, which is working to finalise the specification for PURE, to build a robust system for the management of the OA requirements in the run-up to the next REF.

I have been starting to think about planning for the implementation of the requirements and have been working with a variety of stakeholders across the University to decide how best to roll out the the requirements and get the academic buy-in and administrative support needed to get to 100% compliance.  I’m writing a top-level plan for the University which will outline our overall approach to managing this as a project.  In addition, we will visit every School in each of the three Colleges and run through a questionnaire to get a better picture of how things work there.  We will use the results of this questionnaire to write up a brief implementation plan for each School, with agreed workflows depending on their needs.  These plans will be agreed between the School (or research group, as may be) and the Scholarly Communications Team.  We will include milestones and measures for testing performance, which we can use to assess progress over the coming year.

Questionnaire text included below for reference.  I’d be interested in any feedback on this approach, so please contact me at

-Dominic Tate, University of Edinburgh


Implementation of Open Access Requirements for the Post-2014 REF

Planning Questionnaire

School/Organisational Unit:
Completed by:(Names & Roles)

Associated Organisational Units

Please list all the research centres associated with your School. In particular, we are interested in centres or groups which are affiliated with your School but which may not always be represented at meetings or participate in School activities.


Who has overall responsibility for research in your School? How are decisions about research policy made in your School?
Does your School have a designated Open Access Champion? Please give his/her name and job title.
Which administrative staff are already working with PURE and/or Open Access? Please include names, job titles and particulars of working arrangements (e.g. If part-time, what days do they work? Are they on temporary contracts? Do they work exclusively with PURE/OA or is this part of another role. How many hours are allocated to this work?
Do you have any plans to put additional resources in place to support this work? Please give as much detail as possible


What channels are used to communicate important messages in your School? Please think about different formats. Who messages must come from in order to get attention?
At which meetings are the REF Open Access Requirements likely to be discussed? When and how often do these meetings take place? Please provide details of any scheduled forthcoming meetings.
Do you have any thoughts on how best to convey the message about Open Access in the REF to academic colleagues in your School?

Use of PURE

Please describe how you think academics in your School interact with PURE. Do you think academics use the system much themselves? Is it more likely to be administrative staff who use PURE on behalf of academics? Does this differ for different groups (e.g. early-career researchers, more senior staff)?
How do think staff in your School feel about PURE? Do they like it? Do they have problems using it? Do they see benefits in using the system?

Training Requirements Administrative Staff

What training will be required for administrative staff in your School? Do they need extra training on using PURE, Open Access, policy details? Will you require additional training for temporary or agency staff? Is high staff turnover likely?

Please give as much detail as possible.

Training Requirements Academic Staff

What training will be required for academic staff in your School? Do they need extra training on using PURE, Open Access, policy details, versioning? Please give as much detail as possible.

Measuring Performance

How do you anticipate measuring performance against Open Access requirements in your School? What information do you need from the Scholarly Communications Team?
What milestones are targets would you like to see set for Open Access in your School?

Change Management

Implementation of the Open Access Requirements for REF requires academics to engage with PURE (or a designated proxy) each time a journal article or conference proceeding is accepted for publication. For most researchers, this represents a change in their normal procedures.How do you think we can best achieve this change in your School?


At this stage, do you have any early ideas as to how the deposit, checking and validation workflow is likely to work in your School?

Further Information

Do you have any concerns about the implementation of the REF Open Access requirements in your School?
Do you have any ideas as to how to achieve successful implementation of the REF Open Access requirements which are not detailed elsewhere?
Do you have any further comments for the Scholarly Communications Team?


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