Supporting the shift to open access

Anna Vernon headshot
Anna Vernon

Alongside the UK Government’s commitment to open research , more and more major UK funders stipulate that funded research is available to all, as open access.

Scientist analysing data.

Recent progress

We’ve worked with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and a broad range of publishers to support the implementation of its new open access policy.

As of November, 91% of all UKRI-funded articles (2017-2021), and 88.8% of all journals are now compliant and eligible for UKRI open access funds.  

We want to build on our collective progress and further break down barriers to access and participation in research. For UKRI-funded research, this means extending our open access negotiations with publishers to offer innovative and flexible publication models so that more institutions and authors publish their research open access.  

We continually review data from our agreements to reduce inefficiencies and use these insights in our discussions with publishers and societies to improve processes, author outreach, or to extend arrangements, for example, to include previously excluded journals or publication types.  

We want to build on our collective progress and further break down barriers to access and participation in research

Prior to its launch, Jisc set out its roadmap for data and infrastructure to support the new UKRI policy, and outlined how we would support UKRI-funded researchers, universities and research organisations navigate the available open access publishing options and effectively implement the new policy.  

In collaboration with the international open-access initiative cOAlitionS, Jisc’s Journal Checker Tool has been customised in line with UKRI policy. Using up-to-date information provided by Jisc, researchers can check whether a journal offers a route to compliance. 

To help our members and funders understand the impact and progress of these open access agreements, we are gathering and analysing data to monitor and evaluate the performance of all open- access arrangements. 

Challenges remain, however, and there are still a small number of publishers that do not offer a compliant route. Through Jisc’s negotiation strategy groups, we continue to work with these publishers to offer simple and affordable open access publishing routes and agreements.   

Infrastructure support 

We have redesigned, enhanced and modified our infrastructure services to provide timely and accurate information on open access publishing routes.    

The beta version of our new Sherpa service will be available shortly. We are bringing together all the existing Sherpa services into a unified user-interface and will incorporate other tools and data, including transitional agreements, Jisc-approved transformative journals, compliance checking and our Sherpa application programming interfaces (APIs). 

Existing Sherpa services are:

In parallel, we are developing a new workflow and business intelligence product, Monitor Open, which will enable higher education institutions to track research outputs, manage open access funds, and monitor funder open access policy compliance. 

Engagement and consultation  

We continue to work for, and with, the sector and in alignment with international initiatives. This includes working with UKRI and research stakeholders to address challenges, to develop and share best practice, and deliver support via roundtables, workshops, webinars and regular communications.  

Members can also share their experiences and help make an impact by getting involved with our work via advisory groups, community groups, project groups and mailing lists. 

Looking ahead  

Longform publications become within scope of the policy in 2024, so we are laying the groundwork to support compliance for monographs, edited collections and book chapters. This includes working with the UUK negotiations strategy group to agree the sector’s negotiation priorities for open access book publishing.   

In addition, we are working with publishers to pilot alternative open access monograph models. Twelve diamond open access monographs agreements are currently in place, and we are actively targeting other publishers, with a view to securing further agreements over the coming months.  

By January 2024, we aim to negotiate further open access pilots to foster a diversity of publishing options, while still allowing UKRI-funded authors a compliant route to publication

By January 2024, we aim to negotiate further open access pilots to foster a diversity of publishing options, while still allowing UKRI-funded authors a compliant route to publication. 

We are also supporting new university and library-led publishing ventures and in 2023 aim to establish a community of practice that will act as a collective voice for presses aiming to establish alternative, and cost-effective ways of supporting open access monograph publishing.  

To address questions raised by researchers during consultation for the UKRI open access policy, new tools have been developed which help them better understand open access monograph publishing. 

Collaboration is key

Jisc is one of many organisations that have been working towards open access. Our key role is to work with HEIs and research organisations, representing their requirements and sharing best practice to achieve cost-effective open access and support change by developing infrastructure, practice and influencing policy.

Through open dialogue with our members and publishers, and collaboration with our partners, we will continue to build a more inclusive and open research culture that promotes international collaboration and accelerates innovation.

About the author

Anna Vernon headshot
Anna Vernon
Head of portfolio, content licensing

I am responsible and accountable for the strategic development and delivery of Jisc's licensing portfolio for research.

With my team we license and broker the best solutions with vendors and partners that deliver value and impact across research.