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Copyright Licensing Agency extends royalty-free licence with UKRI for REF 2021

24th November 2020

CLA has extended its royalty-free licence with United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) on behalf of our four member organisations - the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS), Publishers' Licensing Services (PLS), the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) and the Picture Industry Collecting Society for Effective Licensing (PICSEL). This extended licence agreement will allow the continued copyright-compliant storage and reuse of relevant research output for Research Excellence Framework 2021 purposes, following a revision to the timetable due to COVID-19.

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research among Higher Education Institutions, and is made up of four UK funding bodies: Research England, the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), and the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland (DfE). The last REF assessment was carried out in 2014, with the next one due to take place in 2021. The outcomes of the assessment are used as a basis for allocating around £2 billion per year of public funding for university research.

This extended agreement will help to make the submission of research outputs more efficient for REF 2021 and provide assurance that the submissions are copyright compliant. Under the agreement, HEIs can now submit research outputs for expert opinion, including books, journals, periodicals and conference proceedings published between 1 January 2014 and 31 December 2020 (or, exceptionally, up to 31 March 2021 where delayed by COVID-19), and the REF team and panels can access published research output included in these submissions.

In order to assist HEIs make their submissions and allow the REF team access, this agreement permits UKRI to make the necessary research outputs available whether they exist in a digital or print format:

  • Where research output is available in a digital format via publisher or third-party websites, UKRI is permitted to store PDFs and other metadata download by subscribing universities so that the REF team can assess the material offline
  • Where research output is only available in a physical form, HEIs are permitted to scan or photocopy print or paper research outputs which can then be made available to the REF team via a secure web-based system

For more information you can visit the REF 2020 page for submission system data requirements and view the REF 2020 Agreement online.