OLH and REF

This page is intended to inform UK-based researchers who may wish to submit material from the Open Library of Humanities (ISSN 2056-6700) to the Research Excellence Framework (anticipated in 2020). Work published in the OLH fulfils all of the submission criteria for REF as currently set out by HEFCE. In fact, there are some reasons why the OLH may be a better option for researchers wishing to submit to REF compared to subscription journals.

OLH is REF-admissable

  • The OLH is strongly peer reviewed. This is the base criterion for admission to REF.
  • Unlike some open-access journals, we charge no fees to authors. We pay our costs through an international library consortium. We therefore have no incentive to take substandard work.
  • We have an internationally respected academic steering committee.
  • David Armitage, the Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History at Harvard has said, of the OLH, that “there is hardly a more important project in train for scholarship in the humanities today”.
  • All work in the OLH is given a unique identifier (DOI) and is permanently digitally preserved.
  • REF sub-panels are not allowed to judge work on the basis of the name of the journal in which it was published: "No sub-panel will make any use of journal impact factors, rankings, lists or the perceived standing of publishers in assessing the quality of research outputs. An underpinning principle of the REF is that all types of research and all forms of research outputs across all disciplines shall be assessed on a fair and equal basis."
  • By publishing fully gold open access with OLH, you may score additional environment points in a future REF: "Credit will be given” to institutions exceeding the letter of HEFCE's policy in a future “research environment” component. (Para 15, HEFCE REF Open Access document)

Conclusions

Material published in the OLH may be submitted to REF and will be judged equally alongside other journals. We have strong quality-control measures in place and no incentive to take poor work. An international board of high-profile academics has been involved in building the platform. HEFCE may award an institution additional environment points for exceeding their open-access policy; work published in the OLH would qualify as exceeding HEFCE's policy since the version of record (final PDF) will be immediately available. Work published in the OLH is digitally preserved and safe.

We hope this answers any queries that UK researchers may have on this front. If you would like further information, please contact co-Director Dr. Martin Paul Eve.