Conference papers are published in many formats which makes them tricky to categorise and deal with. This is a brief guide to how to treat conferences in terms of depositing them for the REF.
What is covered by the REF policy?
According to the HEFCE policy only journal articles and conference papers with an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) are included in the policy.
HEFCE are aiming to pick up conferences with journal-like series of proceedings, typically in the sciences.
Conferences that look like books, often with an ISBN and typically in the humanities, are not included in the policy.
What if an item has an ISBN and an ISSN?
This does occur in some cases, for example, in proceedings published in Lecture Notes in Computer Science. HEFCE say that institutions will be expected to use their own professional judgement to determine whether an individual paper is covered by their policy. However, if papers are published in a venue with a self-archiving policy which allows deposit in a repository they encourage authors to deposit them.
How do I tell what is the point of acceptance for a conference paper?
If there is no peer review procedure for a conference the date of acceptance is the date that the conference confirms that the article has been received and will be published in the proceedings.
If there is a peer review process the point of acceptance is when the peer review and editorial process has been completed.
Lecture Notes in Computer Science
Springer have a self-archiving policy which allows deposit in a university archive. Librarians who have asked HEFCE for clarification on LNCS have been told that they are within the scope of the policy and should be included in university repositories.