16 July 2012

UK Research Councils strengthen open access policy

RCUK has announced a new policy on open access to research outputs, significantly strengthening the existing requirements for grant holders to ensure their peer-reviewed articles are freely available to all.

The new policy will apply to peer-reviewed research articles and conference proceedings submitted for publication from 1 April 2013. Researchers will still be able to choose whether to publish in an open access journal (which may require payment of an Article Processing Charge (APC)), or to deposit an accepted manuscript in an institutional or subject repository. Where an APC is paid, the resulting article must allow unrestricted reuse including downloading and text mining under a Creative Commons licence. If papers are made open access through the repository route, there will be a maximum delay (embargo) allowed of 6 months (12 months for AHRC and ESRC).

As well as publishing outputs in journals which comply with the policy, researchers will be expected to include details of the funding that supported the research, and a statement on how the underlying research materials – such as data, samples or models – can be accessed.

Institutions will now need to put in place mechanisms for managing APCs, which will be funded by block grants from RCUK.

The RCUK policy took account of the recently published Finch Report (report of the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings), however it has a notably stronger view on embargoes compared to the UK Government's response to the Finch recommendations (p5).

Library Open Access Support
St Andrews researchers can contact the Library with queries about open access and funder requirements - contact Jackie Proven or Janet Aucock, email open-access-support or see details of current open access policies on our Library web pages.


Links
RCUK Policy on Access to Research Outputs and guidance

UK Government response to the Finch report

Related articles:
Times Higher Education article 
Guardian article
Nature news blog
HEFCE statement on implenting open access in the REF
Response from SPARC Europe

Open Access is changing fast so there are bound to be many more articles appearing in the coming days...

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