Research Information System Enhancement (RISE) Development Update #3

Where are we now?

User testing has been a key focus over the past weeks with users from across all Colleges and Schools being invited to test the system. This includes members of the REF Team, REF Officers and academics. We have held sessions in ISS and also run sessions remotely to allow colleagues to test the system from the comfort of their own offices and at a time convenient to them.

A number of common concerns have been raised through the testing including:

· The need for the system to give a visual sign when pages are loading

· Additional save buttons to prevent the user from scrolling needlessly

· A welcome message using the users preferred name e.g. welcome John, rather welcome

We would welcome any further feedback on the system and if you would like to be involved in testing please contact the team on the details provided below.

What next?

Over the coming weeks we will be working to ensure that the feedback from user testing is used to inform future development work and to fix common problems. We will also be looking ahead to the rollout of the system in September, with our attention turning to developing training sessions and updating user guides.

Please note, the Outputs Mini-REF for 2019 will be run from the current RIS following the Publications Mini-REF Assessment Process 2019.

Feedback and get involved

Colleagues are welcome to come and view the current stages of development in Faraday, Singleton or to attend bi-weekly showcase meetings where the development team demo the new system, to provide an opportunity for colleagues and inform future developments.

We will be continuing to test the system with users over the coming weeks. If you are interested in taking part please contact Laura Bailey ( and/or Andrew Burrows ( We will of course keep you up-to-date on progress and training will be provided should the changes to the system necessitate this

REF Open Access & Gold OA


The REF open access policy (which comes into effect on 1st April 2016) was not designed to compel authors to pay for gold open access. In the original policy they state: “Institutions can achieve full compliance without incurring any additional publication costs through article processing charges”. Instead the focus of HEFCE’s policy is encouraging researchers to take the free “green” route of uploading their papers to institutional repositories.

Do you need to pay for gold open access for the REF?

No, only in one situation: HEFCE have a limit on the embargo periods permitted for the green self-deposit route (12 months for Panels A & B, 24 months for Panels C & D). If you have had an article accepted for publication in a journal which has an embargo period longer than HEFCE allows then you will need to pay for gold open access so that your paper is eligible for the REF unless you can justify an exception. We have a central fund available for RCUK researchers; an agreement is also in place that covers many Springer journals.

What do you need to do for the REF if you paid for gold open access?

If you have paid to publish open access you don’t have to upload a version of your paper to RIS to comply with the open access policy for the REF but it is still strongly encouraged (see below).

What you DO need to do is to set the drop-down box in RIS for “Processing Charge” to “Paid” and add details of the funder(s) in the following box (separate multiple funders with a comma):


This will flag in the system that this is a Gold OA paper and we will not then chase you up for your accepted manuscript! ISS staff may upload a copy of the paper where permitted to the repository, particularly if you have used our RCUK fund.

The policy background

If you have paid to publish a paper via the “Gold” route, then you are covered by the exception stated in policy section 38f: “The output was published as ‘gold’ open access (for example, RCUK-funded projects where an open access article processing charge has been paid)”. However they do still “strongly encourage these outputs to be deposited in a repository to facilitate preservation, aggregation and text-mining”.

HEFCE adjusted the policy back in 2015 and this is the wording of their section on “Gold open-access outputs”:

“We further recognise that many papers will be published as ‘gold’ open access, and will therefore be available as the final published version-of-record2. We believe that there are significant benefits to the deposit of gold OA outputs – repositories support the effective preservation, aggregation and text-mining of research material. However, we recognise that when publishing as gold OA, authors typically prefer to deposit the final published version instead of the accepted manuscript, and that in some cases this will not be available within three months of acceptance. In light of this, we have decided to introduce an exception to the deposit requirements for outputs published via the gold route. This may be used in cases where depositing the output on acceptance is not felt to deliver significant additional benefit. We would strongly encourage these outputs to be deposited as soon as possible after publication, ideally via automated arrangements, but this will not be a requirement of the policy.”


Are you ready for Open Access?

A public dataset on Figshare provides a record of publications that have been funded from the RCUK Gold Open Access block grant received by Swansea University for the period 1 April 2013 to 31 July 2014. If you are one of the Swansea authors who received funding for the fifty seven gold open access articles that were published in 2013-14, then you can stop reading now.

If you have never heard of the RCUK block grant which pays open access article processing charges for those choosing the gold publication route, please take a look at our research support pages for more information. Swansea University is in receipt of a grant from RCUK for the period 2014-15 to support open access.

Swansea University will be implementing an open access deposit mandate in 2015 in order to encourage free and open access to publicly funded research. Whilst we strongly encourage self-archiving in Cronfa, (the Swansea University institutional repository) using the green route, you may choose the gold route if you prefer and funding is available. You are free to publish in the journal of your choice.

The recently published HEFCE mandate outlines the forthcoming open access requirements for the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework. It is applicable to:

  • All journal articles
  • All conference proceedings with an ISSN

The key elements of the policy will require you to:

  • Deposit a final draft of your article in an institutional or subject repository immediately upon acceptance for publication and no later than three months after this date. The Swansea University mandate will require you to deposit the final peer reviewed version
  • A bibliographic record must be made available in Cronfa, the institutional repository. Outputs should be made discoverable as soon as there is sufficient information for the output to be found via an internet search (e.g. journal name, title of paper, authors etc, and even DOI, ORCID if available).
  • Subject to the permitted embargo period, full text must be accessible as soon as possible
  • Outputs accepted for publication after 1st April 2016 are required to be open access to be eligible for REF

See SHERPA Fact – the Funders & Authors Compliance Tool

Open Access Week (20-26 October 2014)


ISS are keen to create a supportive environment to develop a positive open access culture. Please come along to the Open Access Lunch & Learn Session on 21st October 2014, in the APECS, Skills Training and Development Unit to learn more.  Book here:

Recent developments in open access

A report from an Open Access Event  Bournemouth  7th May 2014 #BUOA2014

Benefits of open Access / Alma Swan – Director of Advocacy for SPARC Europe and director of DOAJ

Alma felt that in the last 6 months to a year, the “indifferent majority” is beginning to wake up to open access, partly due to the HEFCE policy announcement of open access requirements for the next REF. It is important that it is peer reviewed literature which is made open access to avoid losing quality control and becoming vanity publishing. Open access should be immediate, free to use and free of restrictions to be ideal. She was pleased to see that scholarly communication is starting to change as she felt that the internet should have made more difference in this area before.

Individual authors gain visibility, usage, impact and a better personal profile from using open access. She gave examples – a philosophy lecturer “Self-archiving in the PhilSci Archive has given instant world-wide visibility to my work. As a result, I was invited to submit papers to refereed international conferences / journals and got them accepted”.

Prof. Martin Skitmore from the School of Urban Design, QUT, Australia “There is no doubt in my mind that ePrints wil have improved things – especially in developing countries such as Malaysia — many more access my papers who wouldn’t have thought of contacting me personally in the “old” days.  While this may … increase…citations, the most important thing…is that at least these people can find out more about what others have done”. Alma stressed that article use from repositories is usually from people who do not have access to the journal and is therefore a new audience. Alma looked at an example of the University of Liege, one of the most successful repositories and showed the increase in use of their papers.


HEFCEs Open Access Consultation and REF2020 / Ben Johnson – Policy adviser, HEFCE

Ben reminded us that open access is a global movement and mentioned that two other countries are considering adopting the HEFCE policy. He pointed out that it is enabled by new technology and by the “gift culture” of academia where academics are giving their work for free. Cost of journals is a driver but also new technology such as text mining to cope with the huge amount of information available. The top priority for open access is to allow people to read articles which are currently behind paywalls but allowing reuse and text mining is also an aim.

The aim of the HEFCE policy is to significantly increase the uptake of open access options, to protect author choice as much as possible and to stimulate the deposit of work in repositories. The core principle of the policy is “Outputs submitted to a post-2014 REF should be “open access”.”

The policy has minimum requirements but will also give extra credit for institutions who go further than necessary. The minimum requirements are that:

  • The final peer-reviewed draft of a paper must be deposited in the repository on acceptance.
  • The repository record must be discoverable asap.
  • The full text must be accessible asap (or once an embargo has elapsed – They are keeping to the RCUK embargo periods for simplicity though hope they will come down in time.).

It applies to all journal articles and most conference proceedings, although not those published within book series.

96% of work submitted to the last REF could have been made open access under existing publisher policies so that will be the target for the next REF. A 4% margin will be allowed for publishers with a longer embargo or other exceptions – a reason will have to be given with the REF submission but they intend to be “light touch” and not require too much burdensome evidence to back up the exception.

The policy will not apply to data, images, books, creative works etc. However, credit will be given to universities who go beyond requirements, perhaps by including these things, by allowing reuse and liberal licences where possible. The policy starts in 2016 but credit may be given for starting early.


It was noted that people have personal feelings about their work which have to be treated sensitively. Some academics in the audience did not like the most liberal licences as they wanted people to ask them to use their work. One academic noted that when he has completed a paper he just wanted to get rid of it and didn’t want to mess around submitting it to a repository although he accepted that he should – probably a common feeling!

Behavioural change is needed which is difficult but the HEFCE presenter felt that the full engagement of authors is vital and that technical solutions alone are not the answer.

One participant suggested that journals will sometimes accept a licence to publish instead of an author signing a copyright agreement – even Elsevier had done this when pushed although they used their own wording so it is worth talking to publishers about their terms – an example licence to publish from JISC.

The importance of adding keywords to repositories and using terminology which people are likely to search for in search engines was mentioned.

Note that full text can be added to the Swansea repository Cronfa via the Research Information System. Contact your subject librarian if you need help.


Tips for using Scopus: Check your author profile


The REF will be using data from SCOPUS for citations analysis. BIS (Dept for Business Innovation & Skills) used SCOPUS data to map areas of expertise in the UK  in the ‘International Comparative Performance of the UK Research Base, 2011’.


What sort of errors can occur? Most commonly these will come from variant forms of the names of the author and the institution or research body.

AUTHOR DETAILS –If there are variants of your author name, Scopus will try to bring these together  to help locate all of an author’s works indexed in the database. Check your entries by doing an AUTHOR SEARCH Find your name on the list and click on it to view the author profile page.  On the author profile page, you can check your entries and contact SCOPUS to have any errors corrected.

Conatact your subject librarian or

REF FAQ webpage now available

An FAQ page is now available on the REF website at
Queries can be browsed by the following categories:
•Publication of results and submissions
•Staff (REF1a)
•Individual staff circumstances (REF1b)
•Research outputs (REF2)
•Impact case studies (REF3b)
•Environment data (REF4)
•Codes of practice on the selection of staff

REF 2014 – Panel criteria and working methods – Jan 2012

Available from the HEFCE website, this document sets out the assessment criteria and working methods of the main and sub-panels for the 2014 Research.

Revisions have been made in the light of the consultation exercise (‘Consultation on draft panel criteria and working methods’ ). Amendments to the guidelines that were published in ‘Assessment framework and guidance on submissions‘ (REF 02.2011) are set out in Part 1, paragraphs 43, 44 and 64-91 and supersede the relevant paragraphs of REF 02.2011.

Full details…