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Submissions must include a set number of items of research outputs.  Each output must be:

i. The product of research,

ii. First brought into the public domain during the publication period 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2020,

iii. Attributable to a current or former member of staff, who made a substantial research contribution to the output.

Output types eligible for submission

Outputs eligible for REF are categorised into the following broad types:

  1. books (or parts of books)
  2. journal articles and conference contributions
  3. physical artefacts
  4. exhibitions and performances
  5. other documents
  6. digital artefacts (including web content)
  7. other

Output types in scope of the REF Open Access Policy

The Policy requires certain outputs to be made open access if they are to be submitted to REF.  Click on the links i - vii above to see a summary of the output types and subtypes eligible/not eligible for submission, and of the output types in or out of scope of the Open Access Policy

Outputs in scope of the REF Open Access Policy must meet the Open Access criteria in order to be eligible for submission: Outputs should be deposited, discoverable, and free to read, download and search within, by anyone with an internet connection.

Outputs not in scope of the Open Access Policy do not need to meet the Open Access criteria in order to be eligible for submission.

Timing of publication

The relevant date for determining whether or no an output was produced within the publication period, and hence is eligible for submission, will be the date at which the submitted output first became publicly available (or, for confidential reports, was lodged with the relevant body).  Evidence of the date an output became publicly available - such as a letter from the publisher -  may be required in cases where the date of publication is unclear, or where the date of imprint lies outside the publication period but the actual date of appearance is within the publication period.

Outputs expected to be made publicly available between the submission date and the end of the publication period (i.e., between 27 November 2020 and 31 December 2020) should be flagged in the submission, and full details must be provided to the relevant assessment panel by 29 January 2021.

An output first published in its final form during the REF2021 publication period that was 'pre-published' in the previous publication period - whether in full in a different form (for example, as a preprint), or as a preliminary version or working paper - is eligible for submission to REF, provided that the 'pre-published' output was not submitted to REF2014.