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Open access

Open Access aims to make the findings of publicly-funded research freely available online as soon as possible, in ways that will maximise re-use. This is central to UKRI’s ambitions for research and innovation in the UK, as sharing new knowledge has benefits for researchers, the wider higher education sector, businesses and others.

A statement that sets out UKRI’s high level policy and principles on open access (PDF, 18KB), common to both the former HEFCE and Research Council policies, is available. This will inform the development of UKRI’s policy in this area, including our Open Access Review which is underway.

Current Open Access policy

UKRI has two in-scope OA policies for the Research Councils UK (RCUK) and Research Excellence Framework 2021 policy (REF), which is governed by the four UK Higher Education Funding Bodies. The policies are similar in their intent to maximize access to and re-use of research and are sensitive to disciplinary differences.

RCUK Policy on Open Access will continue to apply to Research Council-supported research until the outcome of the UKRI review of open access is known. Funding for the research council open access block grants is confirmed up to 31 March 2021. Further information on the research council policy and block grants is available.

The OA policy for outputs submitted to the REF 2021 exercise will not change. In-scope journal articles and conference proceedings are required to comply with the current REF 2021 OA policy in order to be considered eligible for submission to REF 2021. Monographs are not in scope for the REF 2021 OA policy. Further information on the Open Access policy for the REF after REF 2021 and the relationship to the UKRI Open Access Review is available.

UKRI welcomes publication of open research reports

UKRI has welcomed the publication of two independent reports on open research, commissioned by Government. Both reports contain a series of recommendations for UKRI and other stakeholders.

Read the announcement of these reports.