UCL News


Research Council UK's policy on Open Access

14 February 2013

The Office of the Vice-Provost (Research) has been working with UCL Library Services and other members of the UCL Publications Board to create an Implementation Plan to accommodate the

rcuk.ac.uk/research/Pages/outputs.aspx/" target="_self">new Research Council UK (RCUK) policy on the publication of RCUK-funded research outputs. 

UCL will create an Institutional Publication Fund, which will allow researchers to apply for monies to pay Article Processing Charges (APCs) for Gold Open Access publication.

The Open Access Team in UCL Library Services will oversee the implementation of these new arrangements. Fuller guidance on what academic colleagues will need to do to comply with the new RCUK policy will be issued early in March. The Open Access Team will be available to support academic colleagues and departments as UCL, along with all other UK HEIs, makes the transition to the new arrangements.

It is our hope that we will be able to minimize the work and irritation to authors that this latest RCUK directive will cause.

We are still in active negotiations with the RCUK in an attempt to moderate their current position, and hence this communication is not yet definitive. Below, however, are details of RCUK's position for your information.

More details about the RCUK policy

As many colleagues will know, RCUK has issued a new policy on the publication of research outputs arising from research funded by RCUK. The position taken by RCUK is to implement the recommendations of the Finch Report, which appeared earlier in the summer. The thrust of the Finch Report is that the future for the dissemination of research outputs funded by public funds in the UK is for them to appear as outputs in Open Access Journals or as Open Access monographs, funded where necessary by APCs. The new policy comes fully into effect in April 2013.

From 1 April 2013, it will no longer be possible to bid for monies to cover APCs in individual research proposals from RCUK. Where no suitable Gold Open Access journal or outlet, meeting RCUK requirements, exists then academics can publish their research outputs in commercial journals but deposit a copy in the Green UCL repository, UCL Discovery.

Henceforth, peer-reviewed research papers which result from research that is wholly or partially funded by the Research Councils:

  • Must be published in journals which are compliant with Research Council policy on Open Access.
  • Must 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. 

The Research Councils will recognise a journal as being compliant with their policy on Open Access if: 

  1. The journal provides, via its own website, immediate and unrestricted access to the publisher's final version of the paper (the Version of Record), and allows immediate deposit of the Version of Record in other repositories without restriction on re-use. This may involve payment of an 'Article Processing Charge' to the publisher. The CC-BY license should be used in this case. 

  2. Or, where a publisher does not offer Option 1 above, the journal must allow deposit of Accepted Manuscripts that include all changes resulting from peer review (but not necessarily incorporating the publisher's formatting) in other repositories, without restrictions on non-commercial re-use and within a defined period. In this option no Article Processing Charge will be payable to the publisher. Research Councils will accept a delay of no more than six months between online publication and a research paper becoming Open Access, except in the case of research papers arising from research funded by the AHRC and the ESRC where the maximum embargo period is 12 months.

Some Research Councils, such as MRC and ESRC, have a requirement that research papers must be deposited in specific repositories, such as Europe PubMed Central (formerly UKPMC) and ESRC Research Catalogue. This is detailed in the policies of individual Research Councils.

Further guidance on the new arrangements in UCL will be issued early in March, once RCUK has finalised its guidelines, from my Office via the Open Access Team.  Comments and queries are welcome in the meantime - please contact open-access-funding@ucl.ac.uk.

Professor David Price
, UCL Vice-Provost (Research)