Shaping our open access policy


Implementing our open access policy

We are now working to support the implementation of our open access policy. As part of this, we are committed to working collaboratively to support the policy in practice, with:

  • research performing organisations
  • researchers
  • publishers
  • other relevant stakeholders

We’ve set out current implementation activities and dates when further information will be made available. This will continue to be updated as work progresses.

Read Professor Sir Duncan Wingham’s blog about progress implementing the policy.

Open access funding

UKRI is providing up to £46.7 million per year to support the overall implementation of the policy.

Most of this funding is directly allocated to research organisations via a block grant to support open access research articles.

Information about the block grant and funding assurance can be found at open access funding and reporting.

Funding for monographs, book chapters and edited collections

From January 2024 approximately £3.5 million will be dedicated to supporting open access for long-form outputs via a separate ring-fenced fund. The fund will be centrally held by UKRI, and research organisations will apply to UKRI to access it. The fund aims to:

  • support open access for the version of record of longform outputs that are in scope of the UKRI open access policy
  • seek affordability and support sustainability to achieve open access
  • support a diverse range of research organisations

Applications to the fund will be via a staged application process where:

  • at stage 1 the research organisation registers the output(s) with UKRI for funding. A publishing contract does not need to be signed for a stage 1 application
  • at stage 2 the research organisation provides final confirmation of publication to allow UKRI to release funds

As UKRI funds institutions, authors and publishers will not usually apply directly to UKRI for this fund, except in some exceptional circumstances, such as when an author is no longer employed by a research organisation.

The process will involve the UKRI-funded author’s research organisation applying directly to UKRI via an online form. The information below will be required for each output funding is being requested for.

At stage 1:

  • Name of research organisation
  • UKRI funding reference
  • Author name(s)
  • Title of publication
  • Name of publisher
  • Estimated cost (if known)
  • Statement about relationship of the output to the UKRI funded project or grant, including the authors role in this

At stage 2:

  • Date of publication
  • Confirmation of open access publication
  • Financial information
  • Any changes to the information provided at stage 1

We will confirm if a publication is eligible for funding after a stage 1. Successful applications will need to demonstrate a substantial link between the publication and UKRI research funding, as well as between the author and UKRI research funding.

We will support a range of open access models via this fund, including subscribe to open agreements (also known as ‘diamond’ or collective models), book processing charges, and book chapter processing charges.

We will publish full guidance on applying to the fund and permissible costs by autumn 2023. Research organisations will also be able to submit stage 1 applications from autumn 2023. Updated guidance on what authors should do before then is available at open access funding and reporting.

Engagement and guidance for monographs, book chapters and edited collections

UKRI has published new supporting guidance for authors about our open access requirements for monographs, book chapters and edited collections.

We have also published new guidance on when and how to use exemptions at Annex 3 of the UKRI open access policy.

While authors will not need to seek approval from UKRI to use one of these exemptions, we are considering asking authors and research organisations to provide notification to UKRI when an exemption is applied to aid policy monitoring and evaluation. Final guidance will be provided in autumn 2023, alongside our monitoring and evaluation framework.

We are also working with Jisc to provide tools for authors and research organisations to check whether their preferred publisher supports compliance with our requirements for longform outputs, including enhancements to Jisc Sherpa. Find more information on the Jisc website.

We will be engaging with stakeholders throughout 2023 to raise awareness of the long-form outputs policy and to support researchers and research organisations to prepare. Activities include:

  • an updated UKRI open access policy information slide pack, which research organisations can use to engage their research communities about our policy for long-form outputs
  • contacting grant holders and holding a webinar for researchers in autumn 2023
  • developing guidance on how a variety of different models for long-form open access publishing can be supported
  • engaging with stakeholders via our stakeholder forum and dedicated meetings to discuss and inform implementation activities
  • working with Clare Painter Associates on a best practice guide about using third-party materials in open access long-form publications, which will be published autumn 2023

Read Christopher Smith’s (Executive Chair, AHRC) blog about unlocking arts and humanities research through open access.

Read articles about implementing open access for monographs on the Jisc Research blog.

Monitoring and evaluation

UKRI is developing a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework for the policy. This will help UKRI and the sector assess open access progress, levels of compliance with our policy and its effectiveness. The M&E framework will also seek to establish insights into open access publication trends across the UK and, where possible, their impact on academic practices and society.

The M&E framework will employ a mix of quantitative and qualitative measures. We will also be considering information sources and datasets that will yield useful insights while minimising bureaucracy.

UKRI commissioned Research Consulting to support the development of its M&E framework.

We want to ensure it is co-designed with the research and publishing stakeholders and Research Consulting and UKRI have conducted interviews and workshops with a diverse set of experts and stakeholders.

The outcomes of the project are available on Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of UKRI’s open access policy, and we will consider them in developing our final M&E framework which we will publish in the autumn.

Monitoring policy compliance

Compliance of research organisations with the policy will form part of our monitoring activity. Research organisations no longer need to submit an annual open access compliance form.

The details of our approach to monitoring compliance are being further developed as part of our wider M&E framework. However, work undertaken so far suggests that we will be able to use existing data sources and there will not be a reporting requirement on research organisations.

For more information on monitoring and compliance, see the UKRI open access policy and supplementary frequently asked questions (FAQs).

For information about open access block grant monitoring and funding assurance, see open access funding and reporting.

Technical requirements for research articles

Our policy sets out technical requirements for research article venues. We commissioned MoreBrains Cooperative to conduct an 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. The Metadata to support the UKRI open access policy report makes several recommendations towards full adoption.

A phased approach to full adoption is necessary. Working with MoreBrains Cooperative, we have begun work to develop a roadmap for improvements to the open access research information landscape. This will build on the recommendations of their report by setting out practical pathways to open access policy compatibility that can guide UKRI’s work and that of repositories, publishers and service providers.

We want to ensure the roadmap is co-designed with the research community and publishing sector. We have established a project group to support its development and will be engaging more widely with other stakeholders.

The roadmap will complete at the end of 2023. Further information on the project can be found at roadmap for open access research information and landscape.

Stakeholder forum

UKRI has established a stakeholder forum to support the implementation of the policy and wider adoption of open access. The forum’s membership and summaries of its meetings can be found at UKRI Open Access Policy Stakeholder Forum.

Working with Jisc

UKRI has funded Jisc to undertake activities to support the implementation of the policy. These include:

  • scaling up sustainable, affordable open access agreements to provide UKRI-funded researchers and their publishers with opportunity to access compliant routes to publish
  • gathering and analysing data to monitor and evaluate the performance of transitional arrangements to enable Jisc members, funders and publishers to understand the progress and impact of these arrangements in the context of the UK’s ambition to achieve 100% open access
  • working with a range of stakeholders, including publishers and research organisations, to:
    • develop an understanding of the challenges around open access
    • share and develop best practice
    • deliver support
  • preparing and equipping research organisations with tools, guidance and publishing options in readiness for the commencement of the open access monographs policy.

Read more about this work on Jisc’s website about:

Information and good practice events

UKRI, in partnership with Association of Research Managers and Administrators, Jisc, Society of College, National and University Libraries and Research Libraries UK, held information and good practice sharing events for research organisations.

See the outputs from these events:

Ask a question about the UKRI open access policy

Check for an existing answer in the UKRI open access policy and supplementary FAQs.


Last updated: 4 September 2023

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