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BIROn and the REF exercise: FAQs

Many questions have arisen regarding the 2014 REF exercise and exactly how BIROn will be used to help the college's submission.

Will BIROn supply full-texts for the REF panels?

  • No.  Panels will arrange their own access to published research outputs. They will ask the college to supply hard copies of books and monographs (which the library will supply), or upload scans of articles which they are unable to source (which UoA leads and coordinators will be responsible for). Click here to see the official guide to supplying outputs.

What will BIROn supply for the REF?

  • BIROn will be used to collate and export publication data.  Each item on BIROn has its own summary page, which contains all the data about it: what it is called, and where, when, and by whom it was written and published.  Most also contain DOIs (Digital Object identifiers) which UoA coordinators can use to download publication data to the REF submission system.  We will only see the benefits of this if BIROn’s records are as complete and accurate as possible, and we need your help to ensure this is the case.

Why deposit full-text if it won't be used in the REF?

  • BIROn’s primary function is as an Open Access resource, and hosting full-text material is an integral part of this, which is why we ask you to deposit full-text as well as metadata.

Why have my full-text deposits been locked?

  • If you've deposited a publisher version, leaving it open would contravene copyright law.  You can deposit publisher versions if they are all you have, but there are enormous limitations on how they can be disseminated.  Any material which does not adhere to publishers’ Open Access copyright requirements must be locked, and the more locked material BIROn holds, the more it deviates from its primary function as an open access resource.

Which full-text versions are preferred?

  • Your last, refereed draft before publication is most often permitted for Open Access (sometimes with an embargo), and we prefer these where possible.  Publisher versions are very rarely permitted.  Publisher proofs and scans of hard copies are never permitted.

Have I wasted my time by depositing?

  • No!  We appreciate that some authors have been depositing under a misapprehension (see Question #1), but BIROn is a service and resource with an intrinsic value for the whole college, not just the REF submission.
  • We gently remind all staff that deposit is mandated by the College’s academic board, and that many funders increasingly stipulate Open Access to research outputs as a condition of funding.

What happens now?

  • If you have already deposited on BIROn via either route (self or mediated), please continue to add your new work as it is accepted and published, with the aforementioned copyright provisos in mind.
  • If you have not yet deposited, please explore the guide and try to do so, by either route (again with copyright provisos in mind).
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