On 1 April, UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) introduced a revised Policy which places tighter conditions on how its ‘block grant’ for open access publishing allocated to the College can be used. This reflects the funding body’s aim of ensuring findings from publicly funded research can be accessed readily and freely. Alongside this, JISC is negotiating on behalf of the sector to ensure its big deals with major publishers shift spending away from paywalled models towards financially sustainable and transparent ‘read and publish’ agreements which comply with funder policies. For example, JISC’s recent Elsevier negotiations ensured the publisher is compliant with UKRI’s policy and it successfully delivered savings of almost £80k to the College.
Following the introduction of the new UKRI Policy, the College has had to consider whether it will directly fund UKRI-funded authors’ article processing charges (APCs) in those situations where the conditions for using the block grant are not met by the publisher. Using College funds in this way would risk undermining the ongoing efforts by JISC to negotiate agreements which are compatible with the new UKRI policy and perpetuate publishing practices which run counter to the College’s own stated support for Open Research. The recent national agreement with Elsevier is an example of what can be achieved when the sector takes a united position in negotiations with publishers.
After taking input from School Directors of Research, I have taken Chair’s action for the Research and Knowledge Exchange committee, and with immediate effect that College will not fund the APCs of UKRI-funded authors who have submitted a manuscript for publication after 1 August 2022. A route 2 option may be available as an alternative. In a minority of instances, authors may be required to submit to an alternative, UKRI-compliant journal.
UKRI-funded authors are advised to contact the Research Support Team in Library Services for advice before submitting their manuscript to a publisher. Find out more about the UKRI Policy change and get advice here: Open Access and Research Council funded research - Royal Holloway Staff Intranet
The College’s existing provision for supporting the REF open access policy is unaffected by this decision.