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August 26, 2021, by Emma

Seven things you need to know about the new UKRI open access policy

As part of advancing culture change around publication, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has announced a new open access policy following consultation with various stakeholders, including research organisations, publishers, learned societies, librarians and individual researchers.

Most publications that are required to acknowledge UKRI funding are in scope of the new policy. Tony Simmonds, Senior Research Librarian, shares seven key points from the new policy to help you get up to speed. 

New UKRI Open Access policy

1. The new policy applies to articles (including conference papers) submitted for publication from 1 April 2022.

2. It will apply to long-form outputs (including monographs) published from 1 January 2024.

3. There are two routes to compliance for articles: 

  • Route 1: Publish in a journal or platform which makes the Version of Record immediately open access via its website, with CC BY licence (CC BY-ND by exception).
  • Route 2: Publish in a subscription journal and deposit the Accepted Manuscript (or Version of Record, if publisher permits) in a repository at the time of final publication, zero embargo, with CC BY licence (CC BY-ND by exception).

 4. Under route 2, authors must retain copyright sufficient to enable archiving in a repository, with a CC BY licence (CC BY-ND by exception) and zero embargo; requirement to notify publisher of this prior licence using set text at the point of submission.

 5. Preprints are out of scope of the policy, but UKRI encourages use in projects they fund.

 6. In-scope articles must include a Data Access Statement, even where no data are associated, or the data are inaccessible.

 7. Block grants continue to be provided to HEIs to meet costs of open access publishing but are no longer permitted to be used to pay fees associated with hybrid journals (a type of subscription journal where some articles are available open access) unless the institution has signed up to the relevant transformative agreement.

A transformative agreement between a publisher and an institution provides read access to paywalled content as well as open access publishing. Visit the Research Support website for agreements signed by the University of Nottingham.

Relevance to REF

A further exercise to consult the sector about reform of open access requirements for REF is anticipated. UKRI has confirmed that outputs that satisfy the policy outlined above will also satisfy any future REF policy. 

Do you have questions about UKRI open access requirements? Visit the New UKRI Open Access Policy webpage or get in touch at

Posted in AcademicsResearch Support