Open Access Policies

There are several stakeholders working together to realise the UK Government's open access aspirations for research publications and for the open access distribution of unpublished research outputs. Major research funders have an interest in achieving maximum impact from funded research; typically the research contract will include a requirement to publish in an open access journal or upload the article on an open access repository within a stated time frame.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) introduced an open access policy for articles and certain conference papers which will govern Research Excellence Framework (REF) submissions from the 1st of April 2016 until the REF 2021 cut-off for publication of research outputs on the 31st December 2020. HEFCE was replaced by Research England in 2018.

Research England confirmed that the next Research Excellence Framework will take place in 2028. REF 2028: Initial decisions and issues for further consultation (REF 2028/23/01) During autumn 2023 Research England will consult stakeholders including HEIs on the open access policy for REF 2028. The policy will introduce open access for long-form publications (book sections, monographs, edited books) published on or after 1st Jan 2024. Although broader in scope, the REF 2028 open access policy is expected to resemble UKRI's Open access policy.

Authors planning to submit journal articles (or conference papers published in conference proceedings with an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)) should verify that any publishers' embargo does not exceed the permitted maximum for the Main REF Panel for their subject discipline. The maximum embargo for Main REF Panels A and B (STEM) is 12 months and for Main REF Panels C and D (Social Sciences and Humanities) the maximum embargo permitted is 24 months. After 1st April 2016, authors who publish in journals with embargoes that exceed the stated Main REF Panel maximum may not be able to include these articles in the REF 2021 submission unless they can claim an exception. REF 2021 Units of Assessment gives the Main REF Panel for each subject.

This is the final guidance on submissions. Details of the open access policy are on pages 26-7 and 54 onwards and exceptions to the open access compliance requirements are on page 58.

This document sets out the funding bodies’ decisions on the submission of staff and outputs in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF), and decisions on further related aspects, as follows: submitting staff, small submissions, submitting outputs, number of impact case studies required, UOA structure and multiple submissions, and eligibility to participate in the REF for providers in England.

Publishers also have open access and self-archiving policies for the specific journals they produce and the majority are supporting open access. Publishers may set embargoes to protect their commercial interests. Sherpa/RoMEO contains details of the policies of 3000 journals, if the journal you published in is not listed the policy may be published on the publisher's website or you can contact the publisher's permissions office or nominated agent.

The University of Gloucestershire Open Access Policy outlines the requirements for University employees and provides guidance to authors and creators to assist in achieving compliance with potentially multiple open access policies.

The UKRI's open access policy applies to publications that are based on UKRI funded research. From Jan 2024 the policy includes long-form publications ie monographs, chapters and edited books published on or after the 1st Jan 2024 (some exceptions are permitted eg existence of a pre 2024 contract to publish). UKRI have provided a fund of £3.5 million per annum for which research organisations can apply for on behalf of authors whose research is funded by UKRI and which is within scope of the long-form open access policy. There are limits on the amount of funding an author can claim per output and per research grant. The maximum amounts per output type include VAT @ 20%. Applications for UKRI open research fund open on 30th Nov 2023 and are made by an author's employing research organisation (includes HEIs). UKRI funded student publications that are based on their PhD are also eligible for funding. UKRI open access publication funds are paid to the HEI retrospectively on confirmation of publication and funds are administered by the research organisation.

The UKRI website provides guidance on the scope of the long-form OA policy, there are a variety of ways to meet the policy requirements, a choice of licenses, and where necessary embargo periods to a maximum of 12 months from the publication date are permitted within the policy. UKRI have provided comprehensive guidance on rights clearance and licensing of 3rd party copyright material included in published works. Research articles are not within scope of the long-form open access policy. University of Gloucestershire UKRI funded researchers and UKRI sponsored students are able to use current read and publish deals subscribed to by the University, carefully check the terms and conditions before submitting your article.

Applications for long-form publication funding can be submitted from 30th Nov 2023. The application is submitted by the nominated institutional contact (to be confirmed). Application is via a 2 stage process and both stages must be completed. Do not enter into a contract with a publisher or incur other expenditure for which you rely on UKRI funding until you have received confirmation from UKRI that the stage 1 submission has been approved. Stage 2 of the submission is confirmation that that open access publication has taken place in a form that conforms with the policy and a publication URL must be provided. UKRI will check compliance with its OA policy. Claims for reimbursement of costs are dealt with by UKRI in either June of Dec each year commencing with June 2024.

The Research Repository is the main reporting tool for Research Excellence Framework (REF).

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University of Gloucestershire, The Park, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 2RH. Telephone +44 (0)844 8010001.