The new UKRI Open Access Policy is coming up fast. By the 1st April 2022, you will need to be aware of its requirements for your UKRI funded research articles and conference papers. If you have any questions get in touch with the IS Research and Scholarly Communications Support team. Meanwhile, here are some answers to questions we have been asked.
Where can I find out about the UKRI policy?
How can compliance be achieved?
Follow our Check before you choose – how to comply with the UKRI Open Access policy for articles workflow which takes you through the options, decisions and actions.
How do I know if this applies to my article?
The UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) Open Access requirements apply to articles and published conference papers submitted on or after 1st April 2022 . If you submitted your article before this date the previous requirements apply.
What does UKRI mean by “Open Access from the date of publication”? What is the definition of “upon publication”?
This means that your articles and conference papers submitted for publication after 1st April 2022 and derived for UKRI funded research must be freely available to read, use and reuse immediately upon the point of publication. This is the date that the Version of Record is first made publicly available. The Version of Record is the final peer-reviewed, typeset and edited version. This means that the ‘early online’ date or ‘online first’ date should be taken as the date of publication, rather than the print publication date or any other later date.
What do you mean by the statement “the UKRI Open Access block grant that the University receives can’t be used to pay for APCs to make individual articles Open Access in hybrid journals” and why is this?
One aim of the UKRI Open Access policy is to reduce the amount of money paid to publishers. To understand this make sure that you are clear about the difference between “hybrid journals” and “open journals”:
- Open journals do not charge a subscription fee; anyone anywhere can read and use articles in open journals without needing to go past a paywall or subscription barrier. But authors do normally need to pay an APC to publish in an open journal. Open journals therefore only take money from us once.
- Hybrid journals charge a subscription fee; readers need to go past a paywall or subscription barrier to access articles and libraries pay large subscription fees to academic publishers so staff and students can read articles. At the same time, authors can choose to pay an APC to make an individual article open availably in a hybrid journal. Hybrid journals, therefore, take money from us twice, once for subscriptions and again for individual APCs. This has been termed “double-dipping”.
Research England and UKRI are working with JISC to prevent this double-dipping and negotiate Read and Publish agreements with publishers where the costs of publishing and subscription are bundled together into one transparent and monitored charge. Consequently, from April 2022 use of the block grant, we receive from UKRI will be restricted to funding only those articles from journals:
- that are not included in any of the Read and Publish agreements we have at Kent (these are already paid for)
- that are recognised by JISC as a “transformative journal” . Your journal must appear in this JISC Sherpa list for you to be eligible to use the UKRI block grant. (The “TJ status” should state that the journal is Plan S approved.)
- that are recognised by JISC as part of a national Read and Publish agreement even if it is not one that Kent has decided not to enter into. You can check which agreements exist using this JISC tool https://agreements.sherpa.ac.uk/ (select “no institution”)
- that are defined as open journals. Open journals should state that they are Open Access on their journal home page and should be listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals https://doaj.org/
This answer provides context and background. You do not need to remember it all because our Check before you choose – how to comply with the UKRI Open Access policy for articles workflow takes you through it.
What do I need to do upon acceptance for publication?
You need to have acted earlier upon submission. The new UKRI Open Access policy moves the need for action to the decision-making process involved in selecting a journal title and to submission. Follow our workflow. Upon acceptance continue to deposit your Author Accepted Manuscript in KAR. You can use our REF Assisted Deposit service to do so.
How do I continue to meet Open Access requirements for the REF?
As of March 2022 the Open Access requirements used for the REF 2021 still apply. Follow our current guidance and continue to add your AAM to KAR upon acceptance. We have been informed that new Open Access REF requirements will be published at some stage. If you follow the new UKRI requirements and our suggested workflow your work will be eligible under both UKRI and REF requirements. Research England have indicated that their new REF Open Access policy will mirror and complement UKRI’s.
Does open access without any embargoes also apply for postgraduate research students submitting their thesis to KAR?
Requirements for PhD students have not changed. Students who are funded by a Training Grant from any of the UK’s Research Councils are required to make their theses available within a certain time period. The UKRI Training Grant rules state “In the case of PhD theses funded by Research Councils, metadata describing the thesis should be lodged in the institution’s repository as soon as possible after award and a full-text version should be available within a maximum of 12 months following award”
Because of the possible combination of circumstances around a thesis, such as the inclusion of third party copyright, intent to patent, intent to publish, commercially restricted information, we have embargo choices in place to ensure the access level of the thesis is appropriate and lawful. The embargo for theses funded by UKRI should not exceed 12 months.
Are the new rules only for papers based on UKRI-funded research?
Yes, but the general principle reflects the direction of travel. As UKRI includes Research England and is responsible for most public research support it is likely that REF Open Access policy will reflect the UKRI research funding one, and institutional policies and policies of other funders will follow these general guidelines.
How does this link with funders? Are they going to change what they allow us to include in grants?
OA charges for article and conferences cannot be included in grant applications because we have an existing block grant from UKRI that covers these. However, OA charges for books, book chapters monographs etc can be included in grants until 1st January 2024. After this time, a centrally held UKRI fund can be applied for. This is complex as it applied to books published after 01/01/2024 but all should become clearer as we near the date. Until then the advice is that OA costs for long-form publications being planned now should be included in grant applications.
For other funders, a close eye will need to be kept on their policies and we will be around to help where you need us.
Could you please say how decisions about APC (Article Processing Charge) allocation are going to be made?
APCs from the UKRI block grant and institutional fund are awarded on a first come, first served basis but are subject to a quality assessment by your divisional Director of Research and Innovation. The criteria and application form are on the APC webpage
Our Open Access Publishing Sharepoint site provides information about the current balance of these funds and is updated monthly.
Although the amount of money we receive as our Open Access block grant from UKRI is linked to our current awarded UKRI projects, the block grant is not allocated to, or reserved for, specific projects.
Does this impact Royalties, or ALCS? Or are those separate issues?
We are not aware of the UKRI Open Access policy mentioning or covering these issues.
What happens if the author at Kent is 2nd author or part of a larger research team not at Kent. Will it still have OA? Also is this divisive, in the sense that will some universities with less money not have a read and publish agreement?
If the Kent author is not the corresponding author for an article, then it will not be covered by a Kent Read and Publishing agreement and you will not be able to apply to use Kent APC funds either. This is because of the mechanisms that the publishers use, and the eligibility decided upon as part of the Read and Publish agreements. Some publishers, such as Wiley, are now implementing even stricter rules and insisting that a “responsible corresponding author” is allocated upon submission. They will not permit this to be altered later in the process. Larger research teams will need to have an awareness of the Read and Publish agreements available at their institutions at an early stage. This JISC agreement lookup and this Plan S tool allow you to see which institutions have which agreements.
Yes, it is divisive to a degree as some universities will have fewer Read and Publish agreements. However, it could be argued that, overall, they will benefit as an increased number of articles will be available to them Open Access. In turn, this reduces subscription charges and makes a wider collection of journals available to their readers, while the universities that publish in high volume are paying more of the publishing costs.
For some Read and Publish agreements the “publish” element of the agreement is dependent upon publishing activity at an institution, allowing universities to participate even if they publish infrequently.
There has been a degree of divisiveness since RCUK first introduced Open Access requirements because not all universities receive a UKRI Open Access block grant to pay for APCs.
Could you please clarify if by submission you mean the first time we submit it for consideration by the journal (i.e. prior to peer review) and where should we include the statement (the manuscript itself)?
The manuscript itself should include the set statement and this should be when you first submit for consideration by the journal.
What advice should supervisors give PhD Students about publication?
We’ve produced a video covering some advice and help for supervisors and there is some web page guidance for students planning to publish while doing a thesis.
PhD students are eligible under our Read and Publish agreements provided they are corresponding authors, identify as affiliated with Kent and use a Kent email address from the submission stage onwards.
The UKRI Open Access policy applies to articles and conference proceedings produced by students who are funded by a Training Grant from any of the UKRI research councils, but monographs,, book chapters and edited collections are exempt .
Supervisors and PhD students should discuss the corresponding author role because of the impact it has upon Open Access opportunities. They should explore the Read and Publish options together using the Read and Publish journal search and UKRI funded students should follow the Check before you choose workflow scenarios.
If the student is very close to completing their thesis and it seems highly likely that the student will not be at Kent by the time the article is accepted for publication, it may be easier and simpler to allocate the corresponding author role to an academic staff member.
See also the answer to Does open access without any embargoes also apply for postgraduate research students submitting their thesis to KAR? And, For journals we have an agreement with, what do you do if the PhD student has left and therefore don’t have a Kent email address?
For journals we have an agreement with, what do you do if the PhD student has left and therefore don’t have a Kent email address?
We suggest that PhD students that take on the role of corresponding author use a Kent email address and identify as affiliated to Kent from the submission stage onwards. They should also provide their long-term private email address as an alternative contact address. The association with Kent and use of a Kent email address from the beginning of the process should be sufficient to ensure that the article is identified in the publisher’s systems and platforms as eligible under an agreement with Kent. This will mean that upon acceptance for publication approval of the article Open Access payment will come through to the library on our publisher dashboards where we will be happy to approve. The provision of an alternative email address will allow still allow the PhD student to correspond with the publisher.
Should the supervisor and student consider that the gap between starting and completing an article may be lengthy and extend considerably beyond the span of the PhD thesis, then it may be better to allocate the corresponding author role to an academic staff member rather than the student.
Processes and systems differ from publisher to publisher and the arrangements for Read and Publish agreements are still evolving. This is the best advice we can provide with the information we have available at this time.
What about independent researchers? What does this mean for academics who collaborate with practitioners who are not affiliated with UKHEIs?
Any University of Kent staff member or PhD student affiliating with Kent and using a Kent email address as a corresponding author can benefit from our Read and Publish agreements. Researchers do not need to be in receipt of a grant to use our Read and Publish agreements or apply for institutional APC funding. UKRI block grant APC funding is however restricted to researchers working on UKRI funded projects. It would be a good idea to discuss the Open Access opportunities with your collaborators when you are discussing dissemination plans and deciding upon target journal titles. You can use our Read and Publish journal search to see what is covered by our agreements at Kent.
You can also identify quality Open Access journal titles that provide immediate Open Access upon publication for no charge by searching the Directory of Open Access journals and filtering using the “Journals without APCs” option.
Does this present barriers to Early Career Researchers on short term contracts?
ECRs that take on the role of corresponding author, use a Kent email address and identify as affiliated to Kent from the submission stage onwards should be able to benefit from our Read and Publish agreements. They should also provide their long-term private email address as an alternative contact address. The association with Kent and use of a Kent email address from the beginning of the process should be sufficient to ensure that the article is identified in the publisher’s systems and platforms as eligible under an agreement with Kent. This will mean that upon acceptance for publication, approval of the article Open Access payment will come through to the library on our publisher dashboards where we will be happy to approve. The provision of an alternative email address will still allow continued correspondence with the publisher.
Further, Read and Publish agreements are national agreements that many universities now have in place. The university that you move to will have agreements that you can use.
What is changing for research that is not UKRI-funded?
While funders are at different stages, the direction of travel is the same. They are likely to follow the same approach as UKRI.
Open Access requirements for the REF have not yet changed. They are currently under review and there have been many indications that they will mirror those of UKRI. Research England advise that outputs that meet the new UKRI Open Access requirements will also meet the new UKRI Open Access requirements.
Sherpa Juliet provides details of the current Open Access policies for funders.
Wellcome’s Open Access policy has already changed and virtually mirrors that of UKRI. Horizon Europe and any EU funding similarly requires immediate Open Access publication.
NIHR require immediate open access for articles submitted after 1st June 2022 either through payment of an APC or use of a Read and Publish agreement, or deposit of Author Accepted Manuscript in PubMed with no embargo. Information about NIHR’s Open Access funding is available here.
Leverhulme encourages but does not yet insist upon Open Access publication and permits Open Access costs to be included in grant applications.
Last updated 29/03/2022