Posted by: bluesyemre | August 10, 2021

RLUK welcomes publication of UKRI’s new Open Access Policy

RLUK welcomes the publication today of a new Open Access (OA) policy applying to research outputs that result from UKRI funding. The new policy is the result of an extensive consultation period during which the views of all relevant stakeholders – including the research library community and RLUK – were sought and heard.

The new policy is clearly informed by the consultation and represents an evolutionary development of the current policies covering Research Council-funded research outputs.  Within the new policy, RLUK is particularly pleased to see:

  • A single, consistent policy covering all UKRI-funded output
  • A continued commitment to move to 100%, embargo-free open access;
  • The support of both green and gold OA as valid routes to compliance;
  • A commitment from UKRI to maintain block grants to institutions in support the policy;
  • Clarity that the use of those grants to pay APCs for articles in ‘hybrid’ journals that are not part of a transitional agreement will not be permitted; 
  • Acknowledgment of the vital role that rights play in scholarly communications and a requirement that both versions of record and author’s accepted manuscripts should carry the most liberal rights appropriate;
  • Encouragement for the use of OA preprints to facilitate open research practices; 
  • A measured approach to long-form works, although we note that the challenges around OA for these outputs are significantly different to those of journal articles.

RLUK and our members look forward to discussions over the coming months with UKRI on issues around allocation and management of block grants, reporting requirements, and management of exceptions. We will also work with our members to ensure that institutional repositories meet the technical requirements outlined in the policy.

Twenty years ago, the Budapest Open Access Initiative described the move to open access as unlocking ‘an unprecedented public good’. Providing access to research outputs reduces inequalities, encourages economic growth and knowledge transfer, and promotes rapid innovation (seen most dramatically over the last 18 months in the unprecedented speed with which vaccines against COVID-19 have been developed). As a result of open access policies over the past two decades, the UK has made great strides in ensuring its research outputs are available to all interested readers. This new policy from UKRI will help accelerate that change and move us closer to 100% open access.

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.

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