UKRI announces new Open Access Policy

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UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) new policy will increase opportunity for the findings of publicly funded research to be accessed, shared and reused.

Following extensive consultation with the sector, UKRI has published a single Open Access Policy for research publications that acknowledge funding from its councils.

UKRI’s updated policy requires immediate open access for peer-reviewed research articles submitted for publication from 1 April 2022.

Monograph requirement

It also includes a new requirement for monographs, book chapters and edited collections published from 1 January 2024 to be made open access within 12 months of publication.

UKRI will provide increased funding of up to £46.7 million per annum to support the implementation of the policy.

UKRI Chief Executive, Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, said:

The new UKRI Open Access Policy is an important step towards realising our vision of a more open and transparent research culture, which is widely shared across the research and innovation community.

I am grateful to the many people and organisations who contributed their views during the development of the policy and we look forward to continuing to work together to implement open access.

Access, share and reuse research outputs

Professor Sir Duncan Wingham, UKRI Executive Champion for Open Research, who has overseen the policy development, said:

The UKRI Open Access Policy will ensure increased opportunities to access, share and reuse the outputs of research across all of the disciplines UKRI funds, benefiting the research community and generating greater social and economic impact.

Through the increased funding we are providing in support of the new policy we aim to ensure researchers and research organisations are sustainably supported to implement open access and achieve value for money.

Amanda Solloway, Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, said:

Opening up the UK’s research system so that it is accessible to all will be crucial in underpinning collaborative, world class research and accelerating new discoveries, as highlighted in our new R&D People and Culture Strategy.

I’m delighted that UKRI’s new Open Access Policy will enable UK researchers to share their expertise and findings more easily, ensuring that the benefits of their research are felt across industry and all parts of our society.

Supporting actions

UKRI aims for the new policy to be as easy as possible to implement for all stakeholders and will put in place supporting actions including:

  • policy guidance
  • stakeholder engagement
  • support to help up-take of open access journal agreements.

Monitoring and reporting will be more automated and light-touch. UKRI has worked with the higher education funding bodies to ensure that any open access policy within a future research assessment exercise will seek commonality with the UKRI policy.

UKRI recognises the importance of international coordination to increase open access to research and our new policy aligns closely with those of other international funders, including other members of cOAlition S.

Requirements of the new policy

For peer-reviewed research articles, key requirements of the new policy include:

  • immediate open access for research articles submitted for publication on or after 1 April 2022
  • either via the version of record in a journal or publishing platform, or by depositing the authors accepted manuscript (or if permitted by the publisher the version of record) in an institutional or subject repository
  • CC BY licence and CC BY ND by exception, including a requirement to notify publisher of licensing at the point of submission.

Key requirements of the new policy for monographs published on or after 1 January 2024 include:

  • the final version of a publications or accepted manuscript being made open access via a publisher’s website, platform or repository, within a maximum of 12 months of publication
  • CC BY licence preferred, but NC and ND licences are permitted.

The UKRI Open Access Policy will replace the existing research councils Policy on Open Access, which applies to peer-reviewed research articles acknowledging research council funding and was published in 2013.

The policy is the outcome of the UKRI open access review, which commenced in autumn 2018. UKRI consulted on a draft position during spring 2020, receiving 350 responses.

Supporting policy implementation

To support successful implementation of the policy UKRI will work with the sector to put in place supporting interventions, including:

  • substantially increasing UKRI funding support for open access in recognition that this is required to meet the new policy intent and the extension of our policy to long-form outputs
  • dedicated funding to Jisc in support of sector open access negotiations, with guidance and infrastructure to aid the up-take of UKRI compliant open access options
  • continuing our work to support culture change around publication, in that research should be recognised for its intrinsic merit rather than where it has been published.

Further information

Read the UKRI Open Access Policy.

Read an explanation of key changes to our policy.

Additional information on supporting actions and the timing of future announcements of the details for funding allocations and monitoring can be found at shaping our open access policy.

Information about the UKRI open access review, including an explanation of key changes to our policy, a summary of responses to our public consultation and other evidence can be found at shaping our open access policy.

Professor Sir Duncan Wingham, UKRI Executive Champion for Open Research, outlines the benefits of UKRI’s new Open Access Policy.

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