Be ready for UKRI’s new open access policy

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Anna Hughes advises UKRI-funded researchers on how to prepare their work in 10 simple steps

From 1 January 2024, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)’s new open access policy will apply to monographs, book chapters and edited collections as well as journals. The policy aims to ensure that research findings funded with public money can be accessed by anyone for information or for building upon.

If your long-form research output is in scope, the final Version of Record (VoR) or the Author’s Accepted Manuscript (AAM) must be free to view and download via an online publication platform, publishers’ website, or institutional or subject repository within a maximum of 12 months of publication using an open licence.  

Here are our top 10 things UKRI-funded researchers should be doing to prepare for policy launch.

  1. Remind yourself and colleagues of the policy details and your research project details – is your research output in scope? You make the decision whether to rely on an exemption for your publication; there is no requirement to seek UKRI’s approval. Guidance for authors on using policy exemptions is provided in Annex 3 of UKRI’s OA policy.
  2. Talk to your library, research office, or whoever is responsible for your research organisation’s implementation of the UKRI open access policy, as early as possible. They will be able to advise on how to comply, offer guidance on funding for open access costs and explain any local policies and guidance.
  3. Are you publishing a long-form output as open access for the first time? The OAPEN OA Books Toolkit is a fantastic introduction to open access for books written by libraries, researchers, publishers and other experts in the field.
  4. Permissions for third-party materials must be obtained prior to publication; if this is not possible, you can apply for an exemption. UKRI has just produced a good practice guide for researchers publishing open access monographs and book chapters where you will find more information about managing third-party copyright for research publications.
  5. Where will you publish? You can choose the publisher most appropriate for your research, provided UKRI’s open access policy requirements are met. Don’t forget to inform your preferred publisher that your publication acknowledges UKRI funding and check if they can offer a compliant publishing option.
  6. If you are complying with the policy by publishing your VoR online, there may be a charge for this. UKRI has created a dedicated £3.5 million fund to support open access costs for long-form outputs. Although your research organisation will apply to UKRI for funding on your behalf, it is worth familiarising yourself with the funding application process.
  7. If you plan, with agreement from your publisher, to comply with the policy by depositing a version of your publication in a repository, you can either use your institution’s, if they have one, or an appropriate subject repository. All those available can be found on OpenDOAR.
  8. Sign up for UKRI’s webinar, which will share the latest information about the new open access requirements for monographs, book chapters and edited collections. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions and share experiences. It's aimed at UKRI-funded researchers, and staff that manage open access at UKRI-funded research organisations. It will be recorded and made available online on the UKRI YouTube channel if you can’t take part.
  9. Got a question about the policy? Have a look at the FAQs
  10. Spread the word! We would appreciate it if you used this information to raise awareness of the new long-form policy with your colleagues and networks. If you have any questions, please contact

Further information

The UKRI website provides more detail about making your monograph, book chapter or edited collection open access, and the two-stage open access funding application process. (Applications for stage one will be open later this year, with stage two going live alongside policy launch on 1 January 2024.)

Find out more about the role Jisc plays in open access policy creation, expression and engagement, sector negotiations with publishers, and the different routes to open access, and keep up to date with our project supporting the research community to implement the UKRI open access policy.

Anna Hughes is a scholarly communications and engagement officer at Jisc, leading and co-ordinating the communications, marketing and engagement activity associated with the delivery of the Jisc/UK Research and Innovation’s open access policy programme