April 15, 2015 | Raymond Tellis , Open Access Publishing Editor

A REF round-up

Taylor & Francis, open access, and the Research Excellence Framework


The results of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework were published on 18 December last year. The REF is the “system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions,” and is carried out once every six years by the four Higher Education Funding Councils of the U.K., managed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). For the 2014 REF universities submitted research outputs published between 2008 and 2013; the result of the REF informs the allocation of some £2 billion of funding to universities.

In addition to publishing the results, HEFCE has made available a list of all the works that were submitted to be assessed, including 138,729 unique journal articles. Because submissions are limited to four per author, this list contains only what is considered to be the “best” in U.K. research.

Taylor & Francis in REF2014

Our analysis found that only Elsevier and Wiley had more articles submitted for assessment than Taylor & Francis, and we were the most submitted publisher in 12 of the 36 Units of Assessment:

  • Area Studies
  • Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory
  • Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Library and Information Management
  • Education
  • English Language and Literature
  • History
  • Modern Languages and Linguistics
  • Music, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts
  • Politics and International Studies
  • Social Work and Social Policy;
  • Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism
  • Theology and Religious Studies

To those who know the historical strengths of Taylor & Francis in humanities and arts publishing, these results may not be surprising. However, the number of science and medical journals we publish has grown recently with the reincorporation of Informa Healthcare titles, and recent acquisitions such as Landes Bioscience. In the next round of the REF, possibly due in 2020, we may well be topping the lists in these areas as well!

OA in “REF2020”

Speaking of the 2020 REF (or to give it HEFCE’s preferred, more enigmatic name, the “post-2014 REF”) we’ve been receiving a lot of queries from our authors and editors about HEFCE’s open-access policy and how we comply as publishers. In short, for articles to be eligible for submission to the 2020 REF, they must be freely accessible in at least their accepted form, preferably via the so-called “green open-access” route. Green open access means depositing a version of your article in your institutional repository so at some point it is freely available for anyone to read. You can read the policy in full here.

All Taylor & Francis authors can do this, provided they respect an embargo period before making their work publicly available (prior to which their work would be classed as a “closed” deposit in their repository, meaning information about it would be available, but not the full text).

You can find out more about our green open-access policies on our Author Services website. Our open-access policies mean that all our authors can be confident that any work they publish with us will be eligible for submission to the next round of the REF.

Published: April 15, 2015 | Author: Raymond Tellis , Open Access Publishing Editor | Category: Front page, News and ideas, Open Access (OA) | Tagged with: