Update on UKRI open access policy: October 2021

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During International Open Access Week, UKRI is providing an update on the work being undertaken to support implementation of its new open access policy.

UKRI continues to work collaboratively with research organisations, researchers, publishers and other stakeholders to support policy implementation.

During September and October, we held a series of discussions with stakeholder groups to understand their perspectives and practical considerations. These conversations have been valuable in developing our approach.

Open access transitional agreements

  1. We’re supporting the scaling up of transitional open access agreements and other arrangements for a range of publishers and research performing organisations, via a grant to Jisc.
  2. Jisc’s role in supporting implementation of the UKRI open access policy has been further defined, and more details on this set of activities were published in September 2021 (PDF, 169KB).

One aspect has been to clarify that transitional journals are one of the routes that we will support, subject to meeting the sector’s requirements. Jisc are working to establish requirements in consultation with the sector and aim to release these in December 2021.

Policy exceptions for research articles

There is a case-by-case exception for research articles where a no-derivatives (ND) license may be allowed, and we have further developed our approach for managing this.

We will require research organisations or authors to apply to UKRI for an exception with justification. It is our intention for the process to be light-touch and aligned with other funders as far as possible. We recently held a workshop with stakeholders to help inform the details of the process.

The workshop also explored actions UKRI can take to support implementation and help research organisations and authors make informed decisions about using an ND licence.

Further information on the process for managing the ND licence exception and associated supporting actions will be provided in November 2021.


We have heard from stakeholders that UKRI needs to provide further clarity on the work it is doing to support implementation of its open access policy for monographs and associated timescales.

We are working collaboratively to understand stakeholder perspectives and practical considerations to develop a more detailed implementation plan that we will publish. In addition, we have committed to providing an update on our approach for managing policy exceptions, for example around the use of third-party materials, in the second quarter of 2022.

Metadata guidance

UKRI commissioned an independent analysis of the metadata landscape, which shows that currently it does not fully support implementation of the requirements set out in the open access policy.

We will use the findings of this analysis to help us set reasonable expectations for meeting the metadata requirements as well as monitoring progress. The analysis will also help inform what actions UKRI and its stakeholders can take to improve the metadata landscape, therefore further supporting the transition to open access.

We will provide further information on our approach to meeting the metadata requirements before the end of the year.

Communications and engagement

We have also further developed our approach for communications and engagement.
We will continue to engage with stakeholders, working through some of the more detailed practicalities of policy implementation and will establish appropriate groups or work via forums to facilitate this. In addition, we will continue to communicate regular updates on policy implementation.

We will work collaboratively to deliver advice, guidance, resources and support for the implementation of the policy, with some of these resources and support delivered by others in partnership with UKRI. We will provide an update on this set of activities in November 2021.

A priority for UKRI is to have effective, targeted engagement with researchers, to ensure they are prepared for policy changes. Following discussions with stakeholder groups, we have further developed our approach.

We will work with research organisations and sector bodies to develop resources that research organisations can use to engage researchers in a way that is appropriate for their institutional context. This activity is underway, and we will make resources available in January 2022.

We recognise the importance of continued engagement to support the successful implementation of the policy, both in the planning stages and when the policies are live. In early 2022 we will establish a stakeholder forum for this purpose, as well as to support wider adoption of open access.

Further information

Further information on implementing our open access policy can be found on our shaping our open access policy page.

This year’s International Open Access Week theme, ‘It Matters How We Open Knowledge: Building Structural Equity’, focuses on equity as a foundational consideration in knowledge sharing.

Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is integral to excellence in research and innovation, and UKRI seeks to embed it into everything it does. We undertook an equality impact assessment of our new open access policy: further information is available on our shaping our open access policy page.

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