Released today, the UKRI open access policy is to be welcomed as a significant driver in the delivery of open access (OA) research in the UK, which will, in turn, benefit the wider community.
A significant step forward, this policy means that all published outputs from UKRI-funded research will be open access – freely available to all, and without any barriers to access.
Of course, it will allow maximum access and reuse of outputs that will benefit research, but its implications for increased collaboration and innovation will have a positive impact on wider society and the economy, too.
As a long-standing proponent of open access, Jisc is committed to helping its members effectively implement the new policy. The provision of dedicated funding from UKRI to Jisc will enable us to build upon our existing activities and help the sector maintain momentum in pursuit of a sustainable transition to full and immediate open access for all research.
Supporting negotiations with publishers, we are aiming firstly to provide all researchers and institutions with ubiquitous access to a compliant and sustainable route to OA publication.
Secondly, we want to provide publishers, regardless of size or discipline, with guidance and support, including sector-wide agreements.
Open access has the potential to enable the entire research ecosystem to operate more efficiently and Jisc has a role to play here, too.
We have already made a commitment to enhance our infrastructure services to enable all researchers and stakeholders to easily navigate compliant options for OA publishing. We will also provide mechanisms for reporting and monitoring OA uptake and outcomes.
To further reduce bureaucracy and increase organisational efficiency, we will continue to work with institutions and stakeholders to build capacity, adoption and implementation of persistent identifiers in OA publication workflows.
The policy is not without its challenges, however. While we applaud the inclusion of OA monographs, edited collections and book chapters within the policy, we know there are questions around how to manage the transition to OA for monographs, compared to journal articles.
Work is underway to address these challenges. Jisc is collaborating with publishers to agree OA monograph models, support new university and library-led publishing ventures, and create support for researchers.
Consulting widely with stakeholders is important if we are to collectively address the issues and, where we can, build support for researchers and institutions in moving towards an open monograph model.
With clear and consistent funder policies now in place, the sector is in a strong position to accelerate the delivery and monitoring of the journey to open access.
We look forward to working with members, UKRI and the research community towards a more open, diverse and sustainable scholarly ecosystem, where we can look beyond open access to embrace the full benefits of open research.