Open Access Review

The UKRI Open Access Review concerns open access to formal scholarly research articles, peer reviewed conference proceedings and monographs and concerns the policies of the Councils of UKRI. The open access policy for future REF will also be considered in collaboration with HEFCW, SFC and DfENI. Innovate UK will also be taken into account. The current RCUK and REF open access policies continue to apply over the period of the Review.


UKRI will review and develop its open access policies to:

  • enhance the research, societal and economic benefits that can be derived from UKRI-funded research through improving access to research outputs;
  • deliver sustainable support for open access and better value for money;
  • ensure policy is joined up across UKRI constituent bodies and that it is clear, unambiguous and as easy as possible to comply with;
  • encourage the development of new models of open access publishing;
  • support the adoption of open access through collaboration and alignment with national and international partners.

Timetable and stakeholder engagement

The Open Access Review will be undertaken via three phases of work, starting Autumn 2018 and running to the end of 2019. Throughout the Review UKRI will be engaging and consulting with the sector and a range of relevant stakeholders

Phase 1 (Q4 2018): Initiation of the Open Access Review, including establishing governance, initial stakeholder engagement and evidence gathering. UKRI will be holding some initial meetings with organisations and experts from university, research and publishing sectors to gather views on current open access policy and its effectiveness, what issues need to be considered, and to identify how we might work together to deliver an effective policy.

Phase 2 (Q1-2 2019): Evidence gathering and analysis, and development of policy options. UKRI will be engaging further with stakeholders, including workshops, to gather additional evidence and to explore policy options and scenarios.

Phase 3 (Q3-4 2019): UKRI consultation on draft policy, refinement and approval of the policy, and implementation planning.

UKRI expects the revised policy to apply during 2020; the exact start date will be confirmed in due course.

The Review is considering UKRI policy and therefore will be overseen within UKRI. UKRI will also work with the Department of Business Environment and Industrial Strategy who have an interest in open research and open access.

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.

The main Plan S target states: “After 1 January 2020, the necessary measures to fulfil its main principle: “By 2020 scientific publications that result from research funded by public grants provided by participating national and European research councils and funding bodies, must be published in compliant Open Access Journals or on compliant Open Access Platforms”.

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 policies will be made via the UKRI Open Access Review.

Enquiries relating to cOAlition S should be directed to Science Europe. Comments on the latest Plan S guidance are invited by cOAlition S.