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Uploading PDF outputs

The deadline for submissions to the REF from UK higher education institutions passed on 29 November 2013. The information on this page relates to the submissions phase of the exercise.

The REF submission system has the facility for institutions to upload outputs as PDFs. This page provides further guidance. 

Journal articles and conference proceedings

For all journal articles and conference proceedings (type D and E outputs), the institution must provide Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) wherever available. This will enable the REF team to access the published outputs directly via the publishers' web-sites. HEFCE will store these outputs and make them available to panel members for REF purposes.

There will be some type D and E outputs which it will not be possible for the REF team to access directly, and we will not attempt to source type D and E outputs flagged as 'pending publication'. In these instances the HEI will be required to upload a PDF of the output to the submission system. Reports will be available on the submission system identifying type D and E outputs that the REF team has not been able to source directly, and will therefore need to be uploaded by the HEI.

It is each HEI's responsibility to run the reports regularly and provide PDFs of all submitted type D and E outputs which cannot be sourced by the REF team. The REF team will not be contacting individual HEIs to request these outputs.

Other output types 

In addition to journal articles and conference proceedings that the REF team cannot source, HEIs are encouraged to upload other types of outputs as PDFs to the REF submission system. The 'Output collection format' table indicates which output types can be uploaded as PDFs. Where there is a choice between uploading a PDF or submitting a physical output, a PDF should be provided wherever the output is already available in this form or can be converted or scanned into a PDF of sufficient quality, within the file size limit, as described below.

Creating PDF outputs

Where the output is not already available as a PDF, a PDF of sufficient quality should be created while minimizing the file size as far as practicable. A PDF of 'sufficient quality' means that it will be easily readable whether viewed on screen or printed, and provides an accurate representation of the output.

To minimize file sizes, the output should be converted directly to PDF if possible, rather than scanned. If this is not possible, the output should be scanned avoiding high resolution and colour as far as possible while ensuring the PDF is of sufficient quality. 

A PDF output cannot be uploaded to the submisison system if the file size exceeds 100MB (and we anticipate that most PDF files will be significantly smaller than this). If a PDF of sufficient quality cannot be produced within this file size limit, the HEI should submit the output in physical form instead, either in hard copy or in digital form (on CD, DVD or a USB).

Note that all outputs submitted as PDFs will be available for panel members to view electronically; however, individual panel members may choose to print the PDF to view as a hard copy, and this may be in black-and-white. This should be considered when producing PDFs.

Only one PDF may be uploaded for each output being submitted. 

When to upload PDF outputs

HEIs should regularly run reports on type D and E outputs, and upload any such outputs that the REF team is unable to source, as well as any other outputs to be submitted as PDFs, as soon as practical throughout the submission phase. HEIs should not  wait until the end of the submission period to upload large numbers of PDFs as this may cause strain on the submission system. Should the submissions system be adversely affected we may implement a queuing system for HEIs to upload outputs.

Where the REF team has been unable to source the type D and E outputs within three weeks of the HEI listing the output on the submission system, the HEIs should upload the output.* This applies up to October 2013. For any type D and E outputs added to the submission during November 2013 that the REF team are unable to source within one working day, the HEI should assume the REF team will not be able to source these outputs and must upload the PDFs themselves.

All PDF outputs must be uploaded by the submission deadline on 29 November 2013, except for outputs 'pending publication' (outputs expected to be made publicly available between the submission deadline and the end of the publication period, 31 December 2013). Type D and E outputs flagged as 'pending publication' will not be sourced by the REF team. The institution must upload all PDF outputs flagged as 'pending publication' by 31 January 2014.

It will not be possible to run bulk uploads of PDFs to the submission system. The application programming interface (API) for the submission system contains an UploadOutputPdf method that can be used to upload single PDFs for single outputs.

 *Sentence amended 25 February 2013