Major UK science funder unveils strict open-access policy

“From April 2022, scientists must make papers supported by Britain’s national research-funding agency free to read immediately on publication, the funder UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) announced today in a keenly awaited revision to its open-access (OA) policy. As expected, the details closely match those laid out in Plan S, the bold pledge by many funders to publish all science outside paywalls. The British agency was an early supporter of the plan.

However, it has not yet decided whether it will pay the per-paper OA publication fees charged by a particular category of journals [namely, hybrid journals] that includes Nature and other Nature-branded titles. This decision will be put out to consultation, the funder says….”


Octopus. Built for Scientists.

“Scientific knowledge should not be locked behind paywalls, or only available to those who can read and write in English.

Scientific ideas and findings should be shared as quickly as possible.

Scientific work should be judged on its merits, and not on how good a “story” it tells: and so should scientific researchers.

These principles underlie the design of Octopus: a new way to share scientific work that recognises and rewards good practice, and serves the needs of both scientists and science itself….

In Octopus you publish work in units smaller than a “paper”.

You can write and share one of 8 kinds of publication (though we support custom types for different fields and research types):

Problem – a neatly defined scientific problem
Hypothesis/Theoretical Rationale – an original hypothesis relating to an existing published Problem or the rationale for how you think the Problem could be addressed
Method/Protocol – a practical method of testing an existing published Hypothesis
Data/Results – raw data or summarised results collected according to an existing published Method (can be linked to a data repository)
Analysis – a statistical or thematic analysis of existing published Data or Results
Interpretation – a discussion around an existing published Analysis
Translation/Application – “real world” applications arising from an existing published Interpretation
Review – a considered, detailed review of any of the above kinds of publication …”

UKRI announces new Open Access Policy | UKRI

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.

Science Minister announces UKRI’s open access policy – GOV.UK

“Many journals took the necessary step to make all their papers relating to COVID-19 freely available.

By sharing research as openly and quickly as possible, and learning quickly from negative results and any unsupportable conclusions, we delivered the vaccines and treatments that are our surest way to stopping this deadly pandemic in its tracks.

This should be an example to all of us of what’s possible when research culture changes, and when behaviour changes. And what can be done when open research practices are widely adopted, with no excuses. But this isn’t a new imperative. Open research is an agenda where the UK has long been in the global lead. When it comes to the UK’s position on this agenda – I’m a believer!

And we should recognise that we have made good progress. Significant amounts of publicly funded research have been made free to read and reuse.

Studies show that at least 28% of articles are now free to read – increasing to perhaps half of all articles by some measures. And a recent study of 1,207 universities found that some made as much as 80 to 90% of their research free to read in 2017 – with 40 of the best-performing 50 in Europe being UK universities….

And I am thrilled that we were able to get a strong G7 commitment to open science this summer as part of the UK G7 Presidency, with agreement to incentivise open science practices; and promote the efficient and secure processing and sharing of research data across borders that is as open as possible, and as secure as necessary. Publishers, on the whole, have been responding to the incentives – and should be praised for showing leadership and not shying from the challenge we have set. Read-and-publish deals have been struck with Springer Nature, Wiley and the Microbiology Society. The pioneering open access publisher PLOS is piloting a new pricing scheme to eliminate author charges. And the ground-breaking Open Library of Humanities is now supported by over 300 institutions, making research across its 28 titles openly fully available to a wider audience….

Of course, there will be hurdles to overcome as everyone adapts. But the prize of open research is more valuable than any one stakeholder or business model.

The truth is that we must all go further.

There are still far too many articles that end up locked away behind paywalls – being cut off from an unimaginable range of useful applications in industry, in healthcare, or in wider society.

And when articles do become openly available, this is too often after a year or two has passed, when the embargo has finally been lifted and when in all likelihood the boat has sailed, the opportunity has passed, and the research field has moved on….

What I’m talking about here is work which is paid for by us all, in taxes. Work that we make a choice to invest in for our collective benefit.

And it’s work which is quality-assured by researchers themselves, through the network of volunteer peer reviewers.

Arguably, it is the ultimate public good….”

cOAlition S welcomes the Plan S-aligned Open Access policy from UKRI | Plan S

“cOAlition S – an international consortium of research funding and performing organisations committed to implementing Plan S – warmly welcomes the publication of the updated UKRI Open Access (OA) policy and its explicit commitment to full and immediate Open Access.

Key aspects of the updated UKRI policy includes:

Zero embargoes. All UKRI funded research articles must be made OA at the time of publication;
Open licences. All UKRI funded research must be licensed CC BY (with some minor exceptions);
No funding of APCs in hybrid journals, outside of transformative arrangements;
Multiple routes to support compliance, including depositing the Author’s Accepted Manuscript (or Version of Record, where the publisher permits) in an institutional or subject repository at the time of final publication….”

New UKRI policy is a ‘significant driver’ towards open access research | Jisc

Released today, the UKRI open access policy is to be welcomed as a significant driver in the delivery of open access (OA) research in the UK, which will, in turn, benefit the wider community.


RLUK welcomes publication of UKRI’s new Open Access Policy | Research Libraries UK

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.

UKRI’s new open access policy will help to unlock the benefits of research for society | UKRI

by Professor Sir Duncan Wingham

Open access plays a key role in ensuring that the benefits of research can be felt across the research and development ecosystem, society and the economy.

Elsevier lobbying UKRI last minute over funder’s OA policy – Research Professional News

“Head of research libraries consortium “concerned” over move “undermining” consultations on open access

The publishing company Elsevier has made an eleventh-hour push to see its agenda better reflected in the forthcoming strategy on open access, to be published by the UK’s research funding agency, UK Research and Innovation….”

Being transparent & privacy aware: ditching third-party trackers in Strathprints | Open Access @ Strathclyde


George Macgregor
Scholarly Publications & Research Data, University of Strathclyde

Over the years, and like a lot of websites, Strathprints has historically made use of third-party integrations. Some of these integrations have provided us, and Strathprints users, with useful functionality over the years. But because these integrations involve the implementation of tracking code within Strathprints, they have also entailed third-party cookies being attached to our users. This is most notable in our use of Google Analytics and AddThis, the former providing analytics on web traffic and the latter providing convenient social sharing buttons and web analytics. In fact, the Google Analytics Tracking Code (GATC) also entails the DoubleClick cookie used to enable remarketing for products like Google Ads, while AddThis engages in browser fingerprinting.

Given the tracking that is increasing occurring within the scholarly publishing industry generally, and the sometimes-nefarious purposes to which the collected data are being put, we feel it is inappropriate for an open repository like Strathprints to continue to use additional and unnecessary forms of tracking. We have therefore recently removed Google Analytics from Strathprints altogether and have implemented alternative social sharing options to replace AddThis. An additional benefit of removing these tools is that Strathprints is serving less Javascript, which helps to promote quicker page loading – so the benefits go beyond superior privacy to include a better user experience!


Scholarly Communications Officer – Jobs at University of Worcester

“We are looking for a proactive and dedicated individual with an eye for detail and excellent communication skills whose primary role will be to help improve understanding and engagement with Open Access and the institutional repository (WRaP) amongst academic / research staff, particularly in light of the requirements for the next REF.  The post holder will report to the Research Librarian and liaise closely with library colleagues as well as Research Office staff and researchers themselves. …”