Frequently asked questions on Open Access and funder policy
- What is Open Access?
- How does Open Access affect me?
- What types of research outputs are affected?
- What are the main points of the new RCUK policy?
- What if I’m funded by Wellcome?
- What about other funders?
- How do I make research papers Open Access?
- I have to make my paper Open Access within six months but my preferred journal doesn't offer a pay-to-publish option route. What do I do?
- How will the pay to publish Open Access route be funded?
- Why is the Government pushing the pay-to-publish route to Open Access?
- How will the RCUK block grant be allocated? What funding will I be eligible for to help meet the cost of 'pay-to-publish'?
- What about my research data? Does that have to be made Open Access too?
- What support and guidance will be available to me?
- How will I hear about new developments?
- Does Open Access policy apply to my current publications?
- How does the RCUK policy affect my REF submission?
- Does the new policy apply to all Research Councils equally?
- I'm not currently funded by RCUK. Does this apply to me?
- What are the benefits of Open Access to research papers?
- Contacts and further information.
Open Access is free and unrestricted online access to the outputs of publicly-funded research. In general a user must be able to do the following free of any publisher-imposed access charge:
- Read the published research paper in an electronic format.
- Search for and re-use the content of published papers provided re-use is subject to proper attribution.
The UK Government has accepted the findings of a recent report (the Finch Report) which recommended that the UK move towards Open Access publishing for research outputs. The aim, over time, is for all Government-funded research outputs to be available on Open Access. In response, RCUK has issued new policy.
RCUK has issued a new policy with effect from 1 April 2013 which will require research papers arising from all RCUK-funded research to be made Open Access. Major funders such as the Wellcome Trust already operate such policies and other funders, including all UK Government funding streams, are expected to follow suit. The University is developing an overarching institutional Open Access policy to bring all the requirements together. Therefore all researchers, including postgraduates researchers (PGRs) and early career researchers, are affected by Open Access developments.
The RCUK policy applies to 'research papers' which are defined as articles published in peer-reviewed academic journals or published conference proceedings. Wellcome Trust policy refers only to journal articles. Neither policy currently applies to books, monographs or other forms of research outputs such as research data. Research papers funded by RCUK must include a statement on how the underlying research materials can be accessed. There is anticipation that by REF 2020, all research outputs will be required to be Open Access compliant.
- The policy applies to all research papers whose work was fully or partially funded by RCUK (past, current and future grants) being submitted for publication from 1 April 2013, until further notice.
- All publications must be available on Open Access within six months of the publication date with the exception of AHRC and ESRC funded papers which initially have a 12 month period in which to be made available.
- Open Access can be through the pay-to-publish (often called the ‘Gold’ route) or through researcher deposit in an appropriate subject or institutional repository (known as the ‘Green’ route).
- The selected publisher must support the Creative Commons CC-BY licence which allows unrestricted use of manual and automated text and data mining tools, as well as unrestricted re-use of content with proper attribution. This is to maximise exposure to the research findings.
- All published journal articles arising from research funded by the Wellcome Trust must be made available on Open Access as soon as possible following publication and within six months of publication at the latest.
- All such articles must be made available in PubMed Central and/or UK PubMed Central within six months of publication. It is the author’s responsibility to ensure this deposit takes place.
- From 1 April 2013 the Trust will require that a CC-BY licence is used wherever Trust funds are used to pay an Open Access fee. See the CC-BY FAQ for more information.
Many other funders are moving towards a default Open Access policy. Arthritis Research Campaign, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Department of Health/National Institute for Health Research, National Institutes of Health and the European Research Council all require research funded by them to be placed on Open Access. Make sure you check the terms of your grant.
There are two ways to be Open Access-compliant both supported by RCUK, Wellcome and other funders:
- Gold pay-to-publish route involves the researcher paying the journal publisher a fee (commonly known as an Article Processing Charge). On payment of the APC, the publisher then provides free online access to the article.
- Alternatively, where possible, or if a journal does not operate a pay-to-publish scheme, via the Green route a researcher can deposit a version of his/her paper in Exeter’s institutional repository or a relevant subject repository within the time deadlines set out in the funder policy.
- The RCUK preference is for the Gold route to enable immediate Open Access on publication. The final choice rests with the author and institution, based on impact factors, budget availability and the rules of individual publishers.
- We encourage researchers to upload their paper to the repository from Symplectic. This is a quick and easy method of deposit. Help is available on how to use Symplectic or you can ask the Open Access Team or your Subject Librarian.
8. I have to make my paper Open Access within six months but my preferred journal doesn't offer a pay-to-publish option route. What do I do?
You will need to deposit your funded research paper in Exeter's institutional repository or a relevant subject repository within the deadlines set by your funder. RCUK stipulates that the version for deposit must be the author’s accepted manuscript including all changes resulting from peer review. Few publishers will allow the published version, including journal formatting, layout and logos, to be deposited in a repository. Therefore, make sure you retain your own ‘post print’ version of your paper. Find out more about versions of a paper and what you are allowed to deposit in a repository.
If your preferred journal does not allow either paid Open Access or deposit in an appropriate repository within the stipulated deadline you will need to reconsider where to publish or try to negotiate more lenient licence terms with the publisher (this does sometimes work). RCUK is using the new policy to put pressure on publishers to adopt more Open Access-friendly policies.
SHERPA/RoMEO hosts information about publishers’ Open Access policies and funder requirements. Use this web site to check the position of your chosen journal.
From 1 April 2013, RCUK will issue research organisations with a block grant to help meet the cost of Open Access via the Gold pay-to-publish route. From this date it will no longer be possible for individual grant applications to RCUK to request funding for pay-to-publish Article Processing Fees (APCs). Details of the block grant are to be announced later in autumn 2012. RCUK expects research organisations to set up and co-fund institutional publication funds through which the block grant will managed.
The UK Government has also announced plans to invest an additional £10m across 30 HEIs, including Exeter, to help incentivise Open Access research dissemination.
Exeter is in receipt of a block grant from the Wellcome Trust to cover the costs of publishing Wellcome-funded research on Open Access. All researchers funded by Wellcome can apply for funds from this grant. Contact email@example.com for further details. You can no longer factor the costs of Open Access publishing into funding bids to the Wellcome but will be expected to use this institutional grant instead.
Exeter has a prepay subscription to BioMed Central. All Exeter researchers are entitled to use this facility to publish in BMC journals at no cost to them providing funds remain. Submit directly from BMC or ask the Open Access Team: firstname.lastname@example.org .
In addition we have a small pot of money to help with other OA requests. Again, anyone can apply to this fund unless they have received specific funding for OA publishing from their funder. Contact email@example.com.
The pay-to-publish route to Open Access enables free, immediate access to the most current peer-reviewed research findings in journals which, the argument goes, are easy for the public to find and come with the academic quality ‘kite mark’ of the publisher. The Government/Finch belief is that this is a route to higher impact than depositing in an institutional or subject repository. However, there is a very strong international support base for the repository method and a body of evidence that depositing research on Open Access in institutional repositories leads to significantly more citations.
11. How will the RCUK block grant be allocated? What funding will I be eligible for to help meet the cost of pay-to-publish?
The first priority will be to meet the cost of open access for any final research papers being submitted to the REF. The University is currently looking at opportunities for additional institutional funding for Open Access and will be able to provide a fuller answer once we know the size of the RCUK block grant and funds allocated from the Government.
There is a growing movement for making the underlying materials behind research open for sharing and re-use. The new RCUK policy on Open Access requires research papers to include a statement on how the underlying research materials can be accessed. Individual research councils have specific policies governing the preservation, sharing and re-use of research data and Exeter’s institutional policies will stipulate that selected research data should be made available to the public when this is possible. The JISC-funded Open Exeter project is developing guidance and advice for researchers on research data management issues.
The decision about where to publish is an academic one and Academic Leads, Principal Investigators and Directors of Research will continue to advise individuals and research teams over appropriate research publication strategies. The Library will also be working closely with Colleges and the Research & Knowledge Transfer Office to develop information, advice and guidance to help academic decision-making. This guidance will develop as we learn more from RCUK and from sharing approaches with others in the Russell Group and Research Libraries UK.
This is a fast evolving landscape and we aim to keep colleagues updated with advice and information as Exeter's implementation plans develop. A good starting point for individual advice now is the Library Open Access Team or your Subject Librarian, who can help to liaise on your behalf with other specialists in the University and beyond.
The RCUK policy takes effect on 1 April 2013 and applies to all research papers funded by RCUK submitted for publication from that date forward. It does not apply to research papers that have been submitted for publication before 1 April 2013. However, these papers may be affected by current Open Access requirements. Wellcome and other existing funder policies relate to current research.
Only those RCUK-funded research papers submitted for publication from 1 April 2013 onwards are subject to the new policy. The deadline for submission of items for the REF is December 2013. In some cases, academics may need funds to fast-track final research papers outputs being submitted to the REF. Once we know the funding available, this will be a priority. The expectation is that all REF 2 submissions will need to be available Open Access (a Government consultation has been announced).
Yes, with the exception of the longer deadline applicable to AHRC and ESRC funded papers for deposit in a repository and with the understanding that individual Research Councils may also have additional specific requirements governing Open Access. For instance, the MRC and ESRC require deposit in specific subject repositories, such as UKPMC and the ESRC Research Catalogue. The Wellcome Trust mandates deposit in UKPMC within six months of publication.
The UK Government has accepted the findings of the Finch Report on Open Access and over time all Government-funded research outputs will be required to go Open Access. Other research funders already have policies on Open Access in place. For these reasons, we need to move towards a research-wide approach to Open Access. To help ensure compliance across different funding bodies, Exeter is developing local policies to help guide all researchers and to incentivise a wider shift towards Open Access principles.
There is strong evidence from Swan and Piwowar, among others, that making your research available on Open Access increases the number of citations for your paper, and enhances the visibility of your research as well as your research profile. Open Access to research papers means that the public has access to publicly-funded research outputs and that researchers who work in universities in developing countries who cannot afford a journal subscription can access, share and advance research.