UK authors can still publish in the William and Mary Quarterly and other American journals and meet either the REF Open Access requirements or other criteria for REF compliance.
This is what you need to know:
- In order to be eligible for REF2021/2022 all journal articles accepted for publication after 1 April 2016 must be Open Access compliant as defined by the HEFCE guidelines, Policies for Open Access in the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework (http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/year/2014/201407/).William and Mary Quarterly policy is aligned with these guidelines. Authors who have an essay peer reviewed and accepted for publication in the Quarterly can:
- Upload a PDF of the author-revised essay—the ‘author manuscript’—to her or his institutional repository. (Paragraphs 18–20 of Policies for Open Access). Bibliographic information about the essay must be ‘discoverable’ online. Your repository will manage this.
- Embargo this ‘author manuscript’—making it publicly unavailable via internet access—for a period of two years from the article’s date of publication. Once this embargo period expires, the repository will make this manuscript ‘accessible’ so that the text of the article can be found on the internet and accessed by anybody.(Paragraphs 31–32).
- While the Quarterly’s policies allow authors to be REF-compliant, some journals published in the United States and elsewhere may choose not to allow online publication of ‘author manuscripts.’ However, HEFCE’s Policies for Open Access (Paragraph 39) allows key exceptions, which UK authors can utilise so that non-OA compliant journal articles are eligible for submission for the REF. These exceptions are:
- The output depends on the reproduction of third party content (such as images) for which open access rights could not be granted (either within the specified timescales or at all).
- The journal in question both requires an embargo period that exceeds the stated maxima and is the ‘most appropriate publication for the output.’
- The journal in question both disallows open-access deposit in a repository and is the ‘most appropriate publication for the output. ’
The key clause here is ‘most appropriate publication for the output.’ If you publish in a non-OA compliant journal, be prepared to explain and justify why that was the most appropriate venue.
In making that case, you may wish to consider factors such as:
- Readership: Journals offer authors different audiences; broader is not always better.
- Conceptual: Is your approach to a topic/theme/issue best suited for a given journal?
- Methodological: Journals have distinctive methodological profiles.
- Peer reviewers: Feedback content and style varies by journal, as do reader profiles.
- Historiographical: Has a particular journal hosted or ignored debates that you engage with?
- Personnel: Do you need to work with Editor A or publish alongside Author B?
- Digital options: Journals’ offerings vary dramatically.
- Is the journal associated with a professional organisation that leads research in the article’s field?
In such cases the ‘author manuscript’ will still need to be uploaded to the author’s institutional repository. However, while bibliographic information about the article will be discoverable, the actual essay will be permanently embargoed and the content will be inaccessible online.