The REF Compliance Checker plugin for EPrints: timelines for implementation.

A number of institutions in the UK used their EPrints repositories to orchestrate their REF 2014 returns.  The REF plugin is a highly developed application encapsulating necessarily complex workflows and interactions and provides the basis for institutions to use EPrints for the next REF.

Since the last REF we have seen the launch of the UK HE Funding Bodies’ policy for open access which requires that certain research outputs accepted for publication after 1st April 2016 are deposited in an institutional or subject repository within a specified time frame in order for them to be eligible for the next REF.

In order to help determine which research outputs are eligible for the REF, Jisc has funded the development of a new plugin for EPrints.  The REF Compliance Checker plugin will interoperate with the Dates and RIOXX2 plugins that are already available on the EPrints Bazaar. The REF Compliance Checker plugin is currently undergoing quality testing.  In addition, documentation is being prepared.  Beyond that, the development team envisages the following timeline for release:

  1. A beta version of the plugin will be released by the end of October 2015. This will be made available to those institutions that have expressed a willingness to test the plugin.  The plugin will be self-contained so can be installed, tested and uninstalled without adversely affecting existing EPrints repositories. The testing phase will continue until the end of November.
  2. Then feedback from the testing institutions will be collated and assessed. Additional coding will be required to integrate the new plugin with the RIOXX2 and Dates plugins.
  3. General release of the REF Compliance Checker plugin via the EPrints Bazaar is planned for the beginning of January 2016, allowing three months for adoption by institutions that use EPrints.

For the time being, institutions that plan to use their EPrints repository for policy compliance purposes should install the RIOXX2 plug-in, the Dates plug-in and be collecting the required metadata. The REF Compliance Checker will use these data to indicate whether or not an article or conference proceeding with an ISSN is eligible for the next REF.

For further information about any of the activities described above please contact Sheridan Brown.

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