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Open access

Open access aims to make the published outputs of research widely and freely accessible to all, under conditions that allow maximum reuse.

Open access is a current priority for UKRI. As set out in our strategic prospectus, supporting openness is a key foundation that underpins excellent research and innovation.

Open Access Policy

UKRI is currently reviewing and developing its policy on open access, including a consultation on a proposed policy. Further information on the UKRI open access review is available.

Two existing open access policies relevant to UKRI’s review are:

The RCUK and REF open access policies are similar in their intent to maximize access to and re-use of research and are sensitive to disciplinary differences, as summarised in UKRI’s high level policy and principles on open access (PDF, 18KB).

The RCUK Policy on Open Access and REF 2021 open access policy should continue to be followed until further notice. No changes will be made to the REF 2021 open access policy.

Plan S

Working internationally is important to help achieve open access. UKRI has joined cOAlition S, along with a number of national research funders and foundations, and with support of the European Commission and the European Research Council (ERC). The coalition aims to help make full and immediate Open Access to research publications a reality. The initiative is built around Plan S, which consists of one target and 10 principles. Further information is available.

The Plan S principles broadly align with current open access policies and will be considered as part of the UKRI open access review. Final decisions on UKRI policy will be made via the Review.


General queries about UKRI’s work on open access, including the UKRI open access review: openresearch@ukri.org

RCUK open access policy: openaccess@funding.ukri.org

Guidance on queries about the REF 2021 open access policy is available on the REF2021 website.  

General queries about Plan S and cOAlition S should be sent to: info@coalition-s.org

Latest updates

21/04/2020 - UKRI Open Access Block Grant – Transformative agreements guidance (PDF, 89KB) - Please see an updated guidance on the use of the Research Councils’ Open Access Block Grant for the payments of transformative agreements.

06/02/2020 - UKRI Open Access consultation update

14/01/2020 - Report makes recommendations on transparent communication of Open Access prices and services

25/11/2019 - 10 organisations pledge financial support for the implementation of Plan S

12/09/2019 - Report and Toolkit to Support Learned Society Publishers Transition to Immediate Open Access

05/09/2019 - Towards a Framework to Enable More Transparent Communication of Open Access Publishing Services and their Prices

27/06/2019 - UKRI signs San Francisco Declaration of Research Assessment

04/02/2019 - UKRI welcomes publication of open research reports    

27/11/2018 - UKRI Open Access update


1. Research England, the Scottish Funding Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Department for the Economy Northern Ireland.