The accepted manuscript required for the REF open access policy can take many forms. This post is an attempt to provide some guidance!
The REF and university open access policies require that an author uploads the accepted version (also known as the “post-print” or “accepted manuscript” or “author’s final, accepted manuscript” version) of a paper into RIS at acceptance. This is the minimum requirement – if you ARE allowed to upload the published version under the publisher’s copyright terms (or a creative commons licence if the article was published open access) then you should do so. Publisher copyright for a journal can be checked on the Sherpa Romeo database.
Sherpa Romeo defines the “post print” as:
The final version of an academic article or other publication – after it has been peer-reviewed and revised into its final form by the author
HEFCE also clarify in their FAQ for the REF open access policy:
We ask that access is provided to the version of the article that contains all academically necessary changes arising from peer review and the academic editorial process. Accepted manuscripts do not typically contain the subsequent non-academic alterations arising from copyediting and typesetting, nor do they typically show the journal page numbers and other publication livery present in the published version of record, but for many people wishing to access research findings they do represent an academically sound version of the output.
So we normally advise that the accepted version:
- Contains all changes to the paper requested following the peer review process
- Is the version that has been agreed with the editor at the point of definite acceptance for publication
- Does not contain any publisher formatting = a proof is normally not acceptable
- If it is a Word document, it is recommended to save it as a PDF
However, this is not always the case:
- Some publishers (e.g. Elsevier) make a clearly labelled “accepted manuscript” available and this can be used in RIS/Cronfa
- Some journal submission systems will apply formatting earlier in the process
You can see some different examples of accepted manuscripts on Cronfa:
If in doubt which version is acceptable, get in touch with the library research support team (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can help!