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Important new UKRI Open Access Policy

On August 6th the UK’s powerful Research and Innovation organisation’s (UKRI) announced its new Open Access Policy.

Open Access Australasia welcomes this announcement. With Australia’s Chief Scientist currently undertaking a consultation process on a national Open Access strategy for Australia, the UK announcement provides a timely opportunity for the Australasian sector to consider further which of the diverse approaches to OA might be appropriate in this region.

The reaction of stakeholders to this announcement has largely been in alignment with their previous positions on open access.

The new policy will require immediate open access for UKRI-funded journal articles, open licences for most research outputs, and funding support for transformative agreements.

UKRI’s new policy is the result of its 2018 Open Access Review and replaces the existing research councils’ 2013 Policy on Open Access.  It outlines how the changes must be implemented from April 2022, but more detail is expected to come with the British funder continuing to consult on publication fees for hybrid journals.

The policy is largely in line with the 2018 Plan S initiative.  In its explanation of the changes document, UKRI deemed the risk of loss of income to publishers and potential damage to the sustainability of the research publishing endeavour due to the requirements of the new policy to be low. 

See how stakeholders have responded to the policy announcement, including STM, Taylor & Francis, Jisc, Research Libraries UK, cOAlition S, IOP publishing.

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 publication 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.

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 uptake of UKRI compliant open access options.
    • continuing work to support culture change around publication, in that research should be recognised for its intrinsic merit rather than where it has been published.