New UKRI Open Access policy - what researchers can do

UKRI has published a new Open Access policy. This post provides some very early advice about what you could start doing now as a researcher to help you comply . See also New UKRI Open Access Policy- what we are doing to help


On 6th August 2021 UKRI published its new Open Access policy. This is the latest development for Open Access in the UK, which began with the Finch report in 2012. OA policies for RCUK and the REF followed, and more recently JISC’s Read and Publish agreements now seek to support more ‘frictionless’ publishing for the sector. At the beginning of 2021 Wellcome published their new Open Access policy that provided an indication how the UKRI policy might evolve. These latest moves and this new UKRI policy are all aligned with Plan S supported by the international consortium cOAlition S. There is a strong indication that a new Open Access policy for the REF, due to be published in November, will mirror this new UKRI policy and will similarly align with Plan S.

Summary of changes

UKRI’s Open Access policy applies to:

  • journal articles submitted for publication on or after 1 April 2022
  • monographs, book chapters and edited collections published on or after 1 January 2024


Must be Open Access immediately upon publication.

  • Embargoes in KAR will no longer be permitted
  • APCs to make individual articles OA in hybrid journals will not be funded
  • CC BY licence is essential (with some permitted exceptions for use of CC BY ND)
  • A Data Access Statement is mandatory, even where there are no data associated with the article or the data are inaccessible
  • MRC and BBSRC biomedical research articles that acknowledge this funding to be archived in Europe PubMed Central

Books and book chapters

Must be Open Access within 12 months of publication

  • Either published as an OA item or by deposit of Author Accepted Manuscript in KAR
  • Exceptions will be permitted e.g. for problems related to obtaining permission for re-use of third party material. Exceptions guidance is not detailed yet
  • CC BY licence required
  • Books may include third-party materials (such as images, photographs, diagrams or maps) which are subject to a more restrictive licence

Ways to ensure your article complies

  1. Publish in a journal covered by one of our Read and Publish agreements. Your article will be Open Access automatically provided you are the corresponding author and use your Kent email address from submission onwards
  2. Publish in a fully Open Access journal and apply for an APC
  3. Insert the text below into your submission and deposit your Author Accepted Manuscript into KAR where the manuscript will be made openly available upon publication

Action researchers can take now

Insert text into article submission

If your journal will be covered under a Read and Publish agreement, or you are sure that you are will receive funding for an APC in a fully Open journal, then you will meet the requirements.
As a safety net you are advised to insert the following information into your submission. This will ensure that, whatever happens, you will be able to deposit your Author Accepted Manuscript into KAR and make it openly available upon publication.
Submissions must include the following text in the funding acknowledgement section of the manuscript and any cover letter/note accompanying the submission:
‘For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence (where permitted by UKRI, ‘Open Government Licence’ or ‘CC BY-ND public
copyright licence’ may be stated instead) to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising

Take Open Access into consideration when deciding where to publish

When selecting journal titles for submission, make sure you are aware of the Open Access situation.

  • Do you understand the difference between a  fully Open Access journal and a hybrid journal?
  • What does the journal title provide? Is it a quality Open Access journal listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals?
  • Is it covered by one of our existing Read and Publish agreements?
  • If not, is APC funding available and are you eligible? You will not be funded for APCs in hybrid journals not covered by our Read and Publish agreements
  • Who is going to be corresponding author? You cannot benefit from our Read and Publish agreements at Kent or apply for an APC at Kent if you are not corresponding author. Is the corresponding author role being taken up by a student who may no longer be at Kent by the acceptance stage?  Can you benefit from a Read and Publish agreement in place at a co-authors university if they take on the corresponding author role?
  • Try using the Plan S Journal checker Tool

Write a dissemination plan

Compiling a dissemination plan will help you consider where and how to share your research, reach agreement with collaborators and prevent last minute issues connected with author roles and availability of funds for open access.

Do a data management plan

All articles will require a Data Access statement that tells the reader where the research data associated with a paper are available, and under what conditions the data can be accessed. It should also link (where applicable) to the data set. These statements are required even if you think that there are no data associated with the article or the data are inaccessible. Understanding the definition of research data and how to manage it; writing a data management plan and considering use of our Kent Data Repository, will equip you to write these Data Access statements.

For book and book chapter authors

Have a look at our Make your book or chapter Open Access guide

Refer to this community knowledge base of publisher Open Access policies for books and chapters

Use the OAPEN Open Access Books Toolkit to understand the process of publishing an Open Access book


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