How our open access policies are changing

We are reviewing our open access policies for research supported by UKRI. These policies apply to peer-reviewed articles and academic books that result from UKRI funding awards.

Why we’re reviewing our policies

Reviewing our open access policies will allow us to determine a single policy across UKRI.

It is our aim to:

  • have consistent, clear and unambiguous policies that are as easy as possible to follow
  • make the outputs of UKRI funded research more accessible and reusable – for the benefit of research, society and the economy
  • provide sustainable support for open access and better value for money
  • encourage the development of new models of open access publishing
  • support the adoption of open access in the UK and internationally.

We are also working with the UK higher education funding councils (Research England, the Scottish Funding Council, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and Northern Ireland’s Department for the Economy) to help inform the open access policy for the Research Excellence Framework.

What we’re doing

There are four phases to our open access review and policy development.

Phase one: October 2018 to January 2019

In phase one we:

  • established resources and governance
  • established the objectives and scope of the review
  • began initial engagement with the university, research and publishing communities on the effectiveness and issues of current policies, and how to work together.

Phase two: January 2019 to August 2019

In phase two we:

Phase three: September 2019 to October 2020

In phase three we consulted the wider community – both within the UK and internationally – on a proposed policy.

A total of 350 organisations and individuals responded, with an externally-commissioned analysis undertaken to look at the responses. See our open access review consultation document (PDF, 977KB).

We also gathered further evidence and undertook analysis, including:

  • an assessment of the economic implications of open access in the UK across all stakeholders, which aimed to identify risks and advise on mitigations, as well as understand the benefits of open access and potential blockers to its progress
  • improving our understanding about the current state of open access, including where and how UKRI-funded researchers publish, and how the block grant is used
  • an assessment of the publication venues of UKRI authors, their policies and alignment with the policy direction, including where there are gaps
  • a review of open access in low- and middle-income countries. This included an externally commissioned project by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office – in collaboration with UKRI and the National Institute for Health Research – to better understand the challenges and opportunities around open access in these countries and official development assistance (ODA) funding
  • analysis to understand the range of current UKRI investments in open access, including repositories
  • an equality, diversity and inclusion assessment of the open access policy and associated action plan.

UKRI open access review consultation information event

Phase four: November 2020 to second quarter of 2021

The fourth phase will see us finalise and publish UKRI’s new open access policy.

We will announce the policy and when it will commence on this webpage.

Who is involved

The review is overseen by a steering group, chaired by Executive Chairs, Duncan Wingham and David Sweeney. Wellcome is an observer.

It reports into the UKRI Board and Executive Committee, as well as the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation via the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The steering group are:

  • Alison Robinson – UKRI, representing the Natural Environment Research Council
  • Chris Wickham – University of Oxford, representing the Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • Geraldine Clement-Stoneham – UKRI, representing the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and Medical Research Council
  • Isabelle Baraffe – University of Exeter, representing Science and Technology Facilities Council
  • Karen Salt – UKRI, representing UKRI strategy
  • Nick Jennings – Imperial College London, representing Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
  • Paul Drabwell – BEIS
  • Paul Nightingale – UKRI, representing Economic and Social Research Council
  • Steven Hill – UKRI, representing Research England
  • Stuart Fancey – Scottish Funding Council, representing UK higher education funding bodies.

Find out more

Email us to find out more about the open access review.


Last updated: 8 November 2020

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