UKRI have updated their 2022 open access policy with guidance on open access requirements for long-form publications. The requirements apply to monographs, book chapters or edited collections published on or after 1 January 2024, that acknowledge funding from UKRI.
A summary of the requirements are:
The final Version of Record or Author’s Accepted Manuscript must be free to view and download via an online publication platform, publisher’s website, or institutional or subject repository within a maximum of 12 months of publication.
Images, illustrations, tables and other supporting content should be included in the open access version, where possible
The open access version of the publication must have a Creative Commons licence, with a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence preferred. An Open Government Licence is also permitted. (This requirement does not apply to third party materials included in the publication).
UKRI expect publications acknowledging their funding are made open access. However they are allowing exceptions in the following circumstances:
A contract was signed with a publisher before 1 January 2024, which doesn’t enable open access in compliance with UKRI’s policy
The only appropriate publisher is unable to offer an open access option that complies with UKRI’s policy
The monograph, book chapter or edited collection is the outcome of a UKRI training grant (open access is encouraged but not required)
Reuse permissions for third-party materials cannot be obtained and there is no suitable alternative to enable open access publication (practical guidance will be issued in August 2023)
UKRI will be making funds available to support the costs associated with open access publishing if the Green, free, route to open access is not an eligible option for authors. Further guidance will be issued in autumn 2023 and the Open Access web pages will be updated. If you have any questions about how the policy could apply to you contact email@example.com.
The agreement meets the majority of the sector’s original requirements – it has reduced costs and delivered open access using a reduced baseline of subscription spend. The deal is the first major agreement to formally acknowledge the retention of intellectual property rights by institutions and authors via rights retention policies by providing a bespoke licence to publish.
Whilst the agreement has reduced spend and will open up access to UK research, concerns remain on the high costs of open access publishing in Nature Research journals outside the agreement as well as Springer Nature’s strong resistance to rights retention and OA publishing via the deposit route. Their insistence on a high APC, high growth gold only approach is likely to prevent authors from institutions and countries with less research funding to publish openly.
Over the last 18 months the sector has gained a greater understanding of different publisher’s strategies and approaches to open access. By challenging publishers directly, institutions have seen how publishers manage questions about transparency, the conversion of their subscription titles to full open access and global engagement. This has led to increased skepticism about some publishers’ commitment to a full and sustainable global transition to open access and highlighted the need for the sector to set its requirements for an open research future.
The sector needs to look forward and agree how we want to address these issues, how we want scholarly communications to develop and how we will work with commercial publishers in the future.
We will continue to cover these developments in scholarly communications in future Opening Research blog posts.
Jisc and Springer Nature are working on implemention of the agreement – expected by 7th June and after which we will update our guidance for authors. Any questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The N8 Research Partnership has released an important statement which outlines its stance on the importance of researchers being able to retain their original rights when their work is published in a journal. Newcastle University is an N8 member and has been involved with the planning and coordination of this initiative which seeks to support all N8 academics if they find themselves caught between funder and publisher policies.
Newcastle University introduced a new Research Publications and Copyright policy in August 2022 and in tandem with the other N8 universities the policy is designed to ensure that Newcastle authors are in a position to follow good open research practice and comply with changing funder requirements around open access to research outputs. It does this by recommending that authors make their work open access via use of a Rights Retention Statement (RRS) and self-archiving into the institutional repository. More detailed guidance on complying with the new policy can be accessed on the Library Research Services web pages.
As part of this initiative, the University’s Legal Services department has sent a Notice of Grant of Licence by post and email to over 150 publishers to which the majority of University staff submit their work. This letter serves as formal notice to publishers of the new policy and is designed to ensure that Newcastle academic staff are fully supported with regard to retaining the rights to their work. Over the coming weeks and months the Library will be delivering a programme of resources and training events to support colleagues in transitioning to the new policy. If you have any questions or concerns then please consult the FAQs or contact the open access team.
The “read and publish” agreement between academic publisher Springer Nature and UK Universities was due for renewal by the end of 2022. Discussions were ongoing throughout the year but a new agreement was not reached by 31st December 2022. We are now in a grace period of access into February 2023 while negotiations continue.
What is being negotiated and why is it important?
Newcastle University’s 2022 subscription to Springer Nature content enabled University members to read Springer Nature (SN) journals online and also publish open access articles with costs covered in more than 2,000 Springer hybrid journals. A new agreement must seek to encompass the whole Springer Nature Portfolio – Springer Compact, Nature journals, Palgrave journals, and their fully open access journals – enabling continued read access to SN online and allowing UK authors to publish open access in SN journals at no extra cost to themselves.
The HE sector has noted that subscription and Article Processing Charge (APC) expenditure with SN accounts for an increasing proportion of library subscription and publishing costs. Total expenditure by UK universities now exceeds £30 million. These costs are unsustainable.
Newcastle University supports Jisc’s criteria for negotiations. A new agreement must:
Reduce and constrain costs
Provide full and immediate open access publishing
Aid compliance with funder open access requirements
Be transparent, fair, and reasonable
Deliver improvements in service, workflows, and discovery
What happens if an agreement cannot be reached?
We are hopeful that an acceptable agreement can be reached but if either side walks away from the negotiations we have plans in place to allow continued access to SN content online and open access publishing.
Read Access: We have substantial online backfiles to which we would retain access. These would continue to be accessible via LibrarySearch for you to discover and read. We would not have access to new content from SN, and in these instances where we do not have a subscription we will help you get the article through an inter-library loan or other routes. The exact process will depend on ongoing work, so look out for further communications about the details.
Publishing: We encourage open access publishing to allow wider discovery, access and re-use of research. It is also a requirement of many funders that outputs are published open access if acknowledging their grants. UKRI and Wellcome Trust have provided grants to institutions to cover the costs of APCs but they are no longer willing to pay for open access in hybrid journals, which charge for subscriptions and APCs, unless there is a read and publish (transformative) agreement in place or the journal is a transformative journal.
It is therefore the case that to continue publishing in SN journals and publish open access you should apply the University’s Research Publications and Copyright Policy. By including the rights retention statement in your article you can publish the author-accepted manuscript in the institutional repository ePrints and repository staff will make it available upon publication in the journal. This means you can continue publishing open access and comply with your funder if required, at no cost. During the grace period we would strongly recommend that authors include the rights retention statement in any submissions to SN journals (including Nature titles). If you have any questions about applying the Research Publications and Copyright Policy please contact the Open Access team.
What should authors do?
We are in a grace period until the end of February 2023. During this time we continue to have access to SN online content and our authors are able to publish open access via our 2022 agreement. As mentioned previously we recommend authors include a rights retention statement regardless of the grace conditions as this secures your right to publish open access if a deal is not agreed. We will continue to keep you informed of developments via this blog. You can also read about the negotiations from Jisc https://www.jisc.ac.uk/springer-nature-negotiations.
If you have any questions or concerns please contact us.
Newcastle University has introduced a new Research Publications and Copyright policy which came into effect on 1st August 2022. The policy is designed to ensure that Newcastle authors are in a position to follow good open research practice and comply with changing funder requirements around open access to research outputs. It does this by recommending that authors make their work open access via use of a Rights Retention Statement (RRS) and self-archiving into the institutional repository. Authors retain their own copyright throughout this process.
The University is working with our colleagues in the N8 Research Partnership to align our approach and all eight institutions will be formally launching their new policies from 1st January 2023. Many other Higher Education Institutions beyond the N8 are launching, or have launched, similar policies.
Funders such as UKRI and Wellcome have new open access policies which aim to ensure that the results of publicly funded research are immediately available and not subject to paywalls or embargo periods. These policies have the potential to bring authors into conflict with publishers, some of whom currently prefer to retain more restrictive publication options. Rights Retention policies developed because they offered a way of resolving the growing tension between research funder policies and publisher models.
Traditional publication models require authors to grant publishers an exclusive right to publish their work, or to transfer copyright to the publishers. Reuse of the published work is subsequently controlled by the publishers while authors retain limited rights about when, where, how and with whom their output can be shared. Access to published research output is in effect paywalled, with access controlled by the publisher.
For some time, major research funders have been unhappy about these restrictions on access to publicly funded research and have adopted increasingly robust open access policies to challenge this position.
Since 2018, many major research funders, including UKRI and the Wellcome Trust, have signed up to CoAlition S whose stated ambition is to ensure that publications resulting from public grants must be published in compliant Open Access journals or platforms. The strapline for Plan S, (the CoAlition’s action plan) is clear and unambiguous: “making full and immediate open access a reality.”
Wellcome implemented a new open access policy in January 2021, and as of 1st April 2022 UKRI has followed suit. Both funders now require immediate open access to journal articles and conference proceedings resulting from research which they have funded. The policy for the next REF is also expected to be aligned with these requirements.
What does this mean in practice?
The new UKRI policy has extended the existing requirement for immediately-upon-publication open access to include author accepted manuscripts whereas previously an embargo period between first online publication and AAM availability was permitted. Funders will no longer pay fees for Gold Open Access to hybrid journals that lack a transitional agreement.
A further change in the new UKRI policy is that AAMs made available through repositories must be licenced with a creative commons attribution licence, preferably CC-BY: a licence that permits a broad range of usage.
Therefore, the challenge for authors and institutions is when the funder’s requirement for open access publication (immediately, without fees) conflicts with that of the publisher (after embargo, with fees) – whose policy do we comply with? And how do we manage the risks associated with non-compliance?
Rights Retention Policies at UK HEIs
In an attempt to resolve this conflict between funder and publisher policies, several research-intensive universities have started implementing their own rights retention policies, thereby ensuring their researchers are funder-compliant and the associated research outputs are disseminated as widely as possible, whilst retaining the freedom to publish in the journal of choice. The University of Edinburgh have pioneered this with their Research Publications & Copyright Policy 2021.
As mentioned earlier, Newcastle University’s policy came into effect on 1st August 2022, but along with the other N8 institutions will formally launch its new policy on 1st January 2023.
What will this mean for authors?
In practical terms, to comply with the proposed policy on Research Publications and Copyright authors will need to add a Rights Retention Statement (RRS) to the acknowledgements of submitted manuscripts, inform their co-authors about this policy at the earliest opportunity, and upload their Author’s Accepted Manuscript (AAM) into MyImpact. Providing the RRS is included in the AAM this will be made open access upon publication under a CC BY licence.
The Research Services team in the University Library is developing and delivering a programme of resources and training events to support colleagues in transitioning to the new policy between now and the formal launch in January. More detailed guidance on complying with the policy, including FAQs can be accessed on the Library Research Services web pages, and there will be more blog posts reporting on the uptake of the new policy over the coming months.
Photo credit: Chris Bishop via the Newcastle University Photo Library.
Friday 1st April sees the start of UKRI’s new Open Access policy. From this date, eligible UKRI-funded research papers must be made open access without embargo, under a CC BY licence (or, CC BY-ND by exception) and include a data access statement. A major change to the policy is that Gold open access in subscription/hybrid journals will be restricted to titles included in Newcastle University’s Transformative Agreements or journal titles that have committed to transition to open access (aka Transformative Journals).
Why has the open access policy changed?
UKRI is committed to championing open research as part of its strategy of advancing research culture change and to support the ambition set out in the government’s R&D People and Culture Strategy.
Open research improves research efficiency, quality and integrity through collaborative, transparent and reproducible research practices. UKRI’s priorities include open access to research publications and making research data as open as possible but as secure as necessary. UKRI is building on the UK’s longstanding global leadership in open research with our new open access policy, which was developed through extensive consultation with the sector. The policy delivers on the ambition in the government’s R&D Roadmap, for publicly funded research to be accessible to all, and will boost the global impact of UK research by increasing opportunities for findings to be shared and used across all disciplines and sectors.
UKRI (2022) UKRI Strategy 2022–2027: Transforming tomorrow together. Available at: https://www.ukri.org/about-us/what-we-do/our-strategy-2022-to-2027/ (Accessed: 29 March 2022).
Transformative Journals. Subscription/hybrid journals that commit to transitioning to a fully open access journals (funds are available, apply here).
Subscription journals and proceedings that allow you to make your final accepted manuscript open access immediately on publication under a CC BY licence (e.g. Science).
If your journal does not meet any of the criteria above you may want to consider submitting elsewhere. Alternatively include a ‘rights retention statement’ in your submitted manuscript that allows you to make the author accepted manuscript open access in our repository. Contact the Open Access Team if you would like to know more about this alternative route to compliance.
Where can I get further advice and guidance?
Newcastle University’s Open Access team
You can find up to date information on our Open Access webpages
Open Access colleagues have presented policy briefings at a various meetings and events across the university and to all faculties. If you would like to request a briefing for your school or research group then please contact the Open Access team to request this.
The contract between academic publisher Elsevier and UK Universities is due for renewal in December 2021.
Newcastle University subscribes to Elsevier’s ScienceDirect at a cost of £1.1 million for the current subscription deal which enables University members to access Elsevier journals online.
The UK Universities sector – on behalf of its researchers and students – entered negotiations with Elsevier with two core objectives: to reduce costs to levels UK universities can sustain, and to provide full and immediate open access to UK research.
Open access to research allows for greater impact, expanding access worldwide and the potential for collaborative work to benefit the national and international research community.
Elsevier is now the only major publisher that does not have a transformative open access agreement in place. Subscription costs to Elsevier’s journals are high and continuing to increase but do not include an open access agreement. Transformative agreements are also supported by cOAlition S research funders and, from April 2022, UKRI’s new policy is similarly supportive.
Therefore, a key practical aim of the negotiations is to secure a transformative agreement with Elsevier, which will support the core objective of immediate open access publishing.
UK Universities began negotiations in March 2021. Representatives from the sector will sit on the official negotiation team and Jisc facilitates the overall negotiations.
Jisc has produced the following video which highlights the key issues involved and has also produced some background information about the negotiations.
The Library will provide more detailed information about the aims of the negotiations and news of any progress over the coming months via this blog and on the Research Services website.
After its long awaited review UKRI announced its new open access policy on the 6th August. The policy will apply to publications acknowledging UKRI funding and aims to make UKRI-funded research freely available to the public. It aligns with Plan S and the Wellcome Trust open access policy, and there is a strong indication that the policy will align with the open access requirements for the next REF (due to be published in November 2021). UKRI have pledged continued and increased funding to support the implementation of the new policy.
The policy will apply to:
Peer-review research articles submitted for publication on or after 1 April 2022
Monographs, book chapters and edited collections published on or after 1 January 2024.
Summary of changes
Articles (from 1 April 2022)
Must be open access immediately upon publication
CC BY licence must apply (with some permitted CC BY-ND exceptions)
APCs for OA in hybrid journals no longer permitted
A data access statement is required (even if there is no data)
Biomedical research articles that acknowledge MRC or BBSRC funding are required to be archived in Europe PubMed Central
Books, book chapters and edited collections (from 1 January 2024)
Must be open access within 12 months of publication
CC BY licence required
Open access can be either published open access or by deposit of the Author’s Accepted Manuscript in an institutional repository
Images, illustrations, tables and other supporting content should be included in the open access content however more restrictive licences can apply for third-party content.
The University will be providing training and guidance before April 2022 to support implementation of the policy.
In this guest post Jan Deckers, senior lecturer in bioethics at Newcastle University, explains his vision of how a ‘Wide in Opening Access’ approach can allow all quality research to be published.
It is probably safe to assume that most authors like their work to be read.
The traditional model of publishing operates by means of the ‘reader pays principle’. In this model, readers must generally pay either to purchase a book or to subscribe to a journal. They might do neither. However, where readers do not pay themselves, others have to do so for them. Frequently, these others are libraries. However, most libraries that lend books and provide access to journals limit access, frequently requiring the reader to be a member of an institution and/or to pay a subscription to the library.
In the age of the internet, access to published work is much greater than what it used to be. Some books are available electronically, and many journals are. In spite of this rapid change, some things stay the same: publishers must still make their money. In order to provide open access to readers, many now demand that authors pay book or article processing charges. This disadvantages authors who seek to publish books and who cannot pay such charges, unless book publishers can rely on third party funds that cover publication costs for authors who cannot pay themselves. Where such funds are not available, other options are available. Authors can still find plenty of publishers who will offer contracts, free of any charge, to those who are able to produce good work. This option exists as many book publishers stand by the traditional model, at least in part because many readers still prefer the experience of reading a tangible book to that of reading a virtual one. Another option is self-publication, where authors can publish books at relatively low cost, essentially by taking on the publishing cost themselves. In sum, whilst open access book publication presents an ethical dilemma where it supports the ‘writer pays principle’, its benefits for readers and the availability of reasonable alternatives for authors who are excluded from publishing in the open access mode makes open access book publication, in my view, a relatively sound moral option.
Open access journal publication presents a different challenge. Some journals find themselves in a position where, rather than to adopt the ‘writer pays principle’, they are able to get the money from elsewhere, for example from governments and other institutions that are willing and able to pay. This is the ideal scenario and – in the current world – the exception rather than the norm. This is why open access journal publication raises a massive moral challenge: what does one do, for example, when the leading journal in one’s academic specialty decides to become an open access journal that charges authors, where neither the author nor the institution that they may belong to can pay? To address this challenge, the journal may be able to offer free publication to some authors, effectively by elevating the processing fee for authors who are able to pay so that it can cover the cost for authors who are unable to pay. Some journals do this already by offering either a discount or a fee waiver to some authors. The problem is that such discounts may not be sufficient and that the criteria for discounts and waivers frequently are too indiscriminate. For example, offering waivers indiscriminately to authors who are based in particular countries both fails to recognise that those authors might be relatively rich and that authors who live in relatively rich countries might be relatively poor.
The only way that I can see out of this is to ‘de-individualise’ the article processing charge completely. Journals would then be able to publish any article that survives the scrutiny of the peer-review process, regardless of the author’s willingness or ability to pay. Such de-individualisation would also address another concern that I have with the open access journal publishing movement: how can we prevent publishers from publishing work that falls below the academic standard? One might argue that peer review should be able to separate the wheat from the chaff, but the problem is that the publisher is incentivised strongly to turn a blind eye to peer review reports, which – in the worst case – might be biased themselves by the knowledge that the author is willing to pay.
Journals that are unable to raise enough funds to publish all articles in the open access mode may provide an option for authors who can pay to publish in the open access mode and for other authors to publish in the traditional mode. Many journals now operate in this mode, and are therefore known as hybrid journals. I do not consider this option to be ideal as it sets up a two tier system, where authors who publish in the former mode are likely to enjoy a wider readership. However, it may be preferable to the traditional mode of publication as this model is not free from problems either, providing access only to readers who can pay themselves or benefit from institutions, such as libraries, that pay for them.
The world in which authors, editors, and peer reviewers must navigate is complex. In spite of this complexity, I call upon all to resist any involvement with journals that do not provide authors with the chance to publish good quality work. Whilst I hope that open access journal publishing will become the norm for all articles, I recognise that journals may not be able to publish all articles in the open access mode due to financial constraints. As long as these constraints are there, however, I believe that journals should continue to provide the option of restricted access publication according to the ‘reader pays principle’.
This is why I only publish with and do editorial or peer-reviewing work for journals that adopt what one might call a ‘Wide in Opening Access’ (WOA) approach. It consists in peer-reviewed journals being prepared to publish all articles that survive scientific scrutiny through an appropriate peer-review process, regardless of the author’s ability or willingness to pay. It guarantees that authors who produce good journal articles and who cannot or will not pay are still able to publish. In this sense, it is ‘wide’. It is wide ‘in opening access’ as it fully supports open access publication becoming the norm. Whilst it adopts the view that articles from those who cannot or will not pay should ideally also be published in the open access mode, it recognises that this may not always be possible.
With this blog post I call upon all authors to support the WOA approach in the world of journal publishing. You can do so, for example, by stating your support for it on your website. Without such support, writers who do not have the means either to pay themselves or to mobilise others to pay for them will be left behind in the transition towards greater open access journal publication. Without support for the WOA approach, those without the means to pay to publish will be disadvantaged more than they are already in a world in which the ‘writer pays principle’ is gaining significant traction. To debate the WOA approach as well as other issues in publishing ethics, I created a ‘publishing ethics’ mailing list hosted by Jiscmail. You can (un)subscribe to this list here.
Our transformative agreements allow researchers to publish their articles as open access for free in thousands of journals from publishers including Wiley, Springer, T&F, OUP, CUP, BMJ and the Royal Society.
To help familiarise authors with the publishing workflows of these new agreements we are running an online ‘open publishing week’ where publishers will present details of how the agreements work in practice, explaining what authors should expect at each stage of the publication process.