An introduction to UKRI’s fund for longform outputs

How UKRI funded researchers can use UKRI’s open access fund to make their research immediately available open access.


In August 2021, UKRI announced a new open access policy including a new requirement for monographs, book chapters and edited collections. From 1 January 2024, any in scope long-form research output acknowledging funding from UKRI or any of its councils, must be made open access within 12 months of publication. For more detail of the changes to UKRI’s open access policy and explanation to how decisions were made, see UKRI open access policy: explanation of policy changes.

UKRI has set up a dedicated central fund of £3.5 million per annum to support open access publication costs for in-scope long-form outputs. For more detail see UKRI open access funding and reporting. This guide explains how the fund works, how research performing institutions apply for funding, and what the fund can (and can’t) be used for. We have included case studies to give examples of how the fund works in practice and the different ways in which it can be used to support a variety of publishing models.

Using the open access fund

UKRI’s fund can be used to support costs to make the Version of Record immediately open access with a Creative Commons licence. For more information, see UKRI open access policy guidance.

The fund supports a variety of open access publishing models. UKRI guidance explains the different types of diamond and non-book processing charge (BPC) models, and how the fund can be used to support open access publication via these models.

I have checked UKRI’s list of exemptions (Annex 3 of the policy document) and will apply one to my research output. Do I need to notify UKRI?

Open access is a requirement for monographs, edited collections and book chapters that acknowledge UKRI funding. Therefore you should seek to publish open access wherever possible, prior to using an exemption.

If you do choose to apply an exemption to a research output, while there is no requirement to seek UKRI’s approval, UKRI asks authors (or their research organisations) to notify them when an exemption is applied. This will help UKRI in the monitoring and evaluation of its policy so exempt publications are not counted as non-compliant.

My preferred publisher offers a delayed BPC model of six months. Can I apply to the fund?

No. Funding is not available for delayed open access of the Version of Record or self-archiving of the Author’s Accepted Manuscript, but you can still comply with the open access policy via these routes if the publication is made open access within 12 months of publication.

Funding limits

The maximum funding limits are outlined below. It is important to note that these limits do not apply to the type of publisher eg born open access, commercial, or institutional. Instead, they apply to the type of business model that the publisher is using for the output. Most publishers will use a range of business models for their book publishing activities.

  • £10,000 including VAT for single monographs and edited collections via a Book Processing Charge (BPC)
  • £1,000 including VAT for an individual chapter in an edited collection via a Chapter Processing Charge (CPC)
  • £6,000* for innovative non-BPC models (such as Subscribe to Open or community funding, where a collection of books is made open access on publication) where one eligible UKRI funded output is published and their institution supports/subscribes to that initiative in the year of publication. In this instance the institution can claim back their supporter / subscription fee up to £6,000**

*an additional £3,000 is available where two or more UKRI funded monographs/edited collections from the same institution are published under the same model in the same collection.

**This funding can be claimed if the institution already supports/subscribes to that initiative in the year of publication or as a new subscription in the year of publication.

A researcher wants to publish with X and pay a BPC of £15k. How do we pay the difference?

The remaining amount must be paid from another fund, whether this is an institutional open access fund or another source of money, such as QR funding. Please note, you cannot use the UKRI’s open access block grant to pay for this as this funding is to support compliance with the policy for research articles only. UKRI grant funding may also not be used unless it was awarded prior to 2024. You could also have a conversation with the publisher to see if they will revise the price to fit the budget.

A UKRI funded researcher wants to publish with their institutional publisher who have agreed to waive open access costs. Can the University Press still claim from the UKRI fund?

Yes. If the University Press agrees to waive the researcher's open access costs, the research organisation, on behalf of its university press, can claim up to £6,000 from UKRI towards their institutional investment in open access for their staff. If the press are not waiving costs (so, for all external authors) the author’s research organisation can claim up to £10,000 when the press are charging a BPC.

Applying to the fund

Unlike the open access block grant, the fund for monographs, book chapters and edited collections is held centrally by UKRI. Applications are only accepted from staff responsible for open access funding in UK-based research performing organisations.

There are two parts to the application process. Both stages are open for submissions all year round and UKRI will make payments to research performing organisations in June and December of each year. However, in order to administer these payments (which are made in the form of grants via UKRI’s Funding Service), there are cut-off points for submissions twice a year.

For further information on payment timescales, see UKRI open access funding and reporting.

Stage 1

Stage 1 of the application is when the author’s research performing organisation supplies details to UKRI of the in-scope long-form publication (monograph, edited collection or book chapter), the author and the UKRI funding that the publication is an output of.

Details for Stage 1 may be submitted at any point, although UKRI recommends that discussions should have taken place between the author and the publisher before a Stage 1 submission is made.

Each application at Stage 1 can include up to ten outputs; there are no limits to the number of applications from a research performing organisation.

UKRI will confirm if a title is eligible for Stage 2. However, at this stage this is not a guarantee of funding as there may not be a contract with the publisher and researcher in place, and there is no guarantee of publication at this stage.

My chosen publisher exceeds the £10,000 funding maximum. Is there any way that I can publish with them and remain compliant?

Authors are still expected to comply with the UKRI open access policy. In the first instance authors should speak to their research organisations, as other sources of funding or open access options may be available. Research organisations have discretion about how to financially support open access publication, and it is also permissible to use other public funding such as quality-related research funding.

Some publishers permit the Author Accepted Manuscript or the Version of Record of a book or chapter to be made available via a repository. If this is within 12 months of publication, it is compliant. Jisc is encouraging publishers to offer this route to compliance and to note it on their webpages. Details of publisher’s green open access policies will be recorded in Jisc’s open access for books tool.

A UKRI funded researcher from my institution wants to publish with X. We have already committed to a three-year diamond agreement with X. Can we still apply to the fund and be reimbursed for costs already committed?

Yes, the output should be submitted at Stage 1 as usual. Once published, you should complete a Stage 2 application for funds, where instead of a BPC invoice, you can submit your Diamond supporter invoice or comparable proof of purchase for the year the title was published.

Stage 2

Stage 2 of the application process should take place as soon as the title has been published open access and the research performing organisation is in receipt of the relevant documentation to confirm the costs or charges to UKRI. This will usually be an invoice (either a BPC/CPC or non-BPC agreement, ie for the collection, which contains the title).

If the publication is available immediately open access with a Creative Commons licence then UKRI will release funds.

In-scope outputs published seven or more years after the formal end of a UKRI-funded project will not be eligible for UKRI open access funding. UKRI will not expect such outputs to be made open access, although open access is encouraged. UKRI will make exceptions for extenuating circumstances. For more information see UKRI open access funding and reporting.

If the cause of delay is not linked to EDI reasons, for example you might be writing a book series and the final instalment will be published more than seven years after the UKRI-funded project ended, you should contact UKRI to discuss further.

My research has been published open access and my institution has received an invoice from the publisher. The publisher is requesting immediate payment but the next UKRI pay-run is several months away. What steps could be taken?

Where a BPC/CPC has been invoiced, the research performing organisation may wish to inform publishers that UKRI will cover costs up to its funding limit. This could allay publisher concerns about a return on their investment. If no institutional funds are available you may wish to ask for the deadline for payment to be extended until UKRI releases open access funds to the research performing organisation.

A researcher's former research performing organisation was awarded a UKRI grant, the grant has ended and the researcher has moved to a new institution. Can their new institution apply to the fund?

Yes. The research performing organisation making the Stage 2 submission does not need to be the organisation where the research funding being acknowledged was originally held, or the organisation that made the Stage 1 submission. Instead, the submission should be made by the research performing organisation that is author's current employer and/or the research performing organisation supporting the author(s) to publish their output.

In exceptional circumstances, such as where an author is no longer attached to a UK-based research performing organisation that can receive UKRI funds, UKRI may accept an application to the fund from an author. Authors in this situation should contact for further advice.

I was on long term leave, and that delayed my writing process so the monograph will be published more than seven years after the end of my project. Can my institution still claim open access publication costs from the fund?

Yes. UKRI will allow flexibility for extenuating circumstances and the research performing organisation should contact UKRI via to discuss this further.

Looking ahead

As it is the research performing organisation who applies to the fund for each in-scope publication, researchers who are planning to publish a publication that is in-scope of UKRI’s open access policy and expect to pay for open access, should contact the team responsible for open access in their organisation as early as possible.

Research performing organisations may also have an open access publishing arrangement with some publishers which may impact where researchers choose to publish.

Compliance of research performing organisations with the policy will form part of UKRI’s monitoring activity. The details of UKRI’s approach to monitoring compliance are being further developed as part of their wider monitoring and evaluation framework. More information on monitoring and compliance can be found in the UKRI open access policy and frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Further information

Staff with responsibility for open access at research performing organisations will find the following resources useful for training purposes and for conversations with funded researchers:

This guide is made available under Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-ND).