Is your research funded by a UK Research Council?

RCUK  have revised their policy on access to research outputs.  This affects researchers who are wholly or partially funded by a Research Council in the UK.

Yes, I’m RCUK-funded, what does this mean for me? 

If you have RCUK funding, then this will affect publications that arise from your research.  Any peer-reviewed research articles and conference proceedings must be made available openly accessible online.

What is Open Access?

RCUK defines Open Access to mean unrestricted on-line access to peer-reviewed and published scholarly research papers, free of any access charge and with the maximum opportunities for re-use.

The full definition and requirement is available from the guidance notes on the policy from the RCUK website.

RCUK have supported Open Access to publicly funded research since 2005.  There are two routes to making your work openly accessible:

  1. The Green route is free, and simply involves placing a copy (usually the authors accepted manuscript) into Opus, the University research repository. There may be an embargo period from the publisher.
  2. The Gold route is the option to pay for the article to be immediately available from the publisher website.  This costs between £100 – £2000 plus VAT (set by the publisher).

When does this change start?

This applies to research papers accepted for publication after 1st April 2013.  The publication must have been funded by RCUK.  It’s widely acknowledged that the first year will require some flexibility in terms of meeting the requirements set out by RCUK, but there will be a review in 2014 to evaluate progress.

What do I do?

  1.  Once your article has been accepted, decide whether you wish to use the Green or Gold routes to open access.  The Sherpa Romeo website is useful for checking publisher policies on open access.
  2. The University has been allocated a block grant to cover Gold Open Access costs.  To access this grant, please contact the Library’s Opus Office: opus-support@bath.ac.uk and attach your invoice for payment within your email.  The Library will then process the invoice and monitor the publication process.
  3. The Open Access fund from from RCUK will be allocated on a first come, first served basis for Principal Investigators (PI) on RCUK projects.  It’s worth talking this over with your co-authors in case there are additional funding streams you can draw upon (e.g. Wellcome Trust).  We expect there will be a steep learning curve as we encounter split payments, deal with tax and other charges, arrange discounts and pre-payments with publishers, etc., but our aim is to help reduce the administrative burden on researchers.

Are there any other requirements?

Yes.  You must acknowledge the funder in your article. For example, ‘This work was supported by the Medical Research Council [grant number xxxx] to [author initials]’.  You should also add a statement on access to the underlying research data if available.

RCUK also have requirements on embargo periods for Green Open Access and for licencing on all publications. These vary depending on discipline and on which route to Open Access you have chosen.  For help with these: please contact the Library’s Opus Office.

This policy will be reviewed in 2014 by RCUK.  They expect compliance with the policy over a transitional period of five years.  The Opus team in the Library will be collecting data during the first year as evidence to inform future actions.

This change has been discussed with Heads of Departments and at the University Research Committee.  If you are a researcher affected by this change, please contact the Opus Office.  We will be administering the RCUK Open Access fund, and we will be collecting data during the first year to help inform future funding decisions.

About Kara

Head of Library Research Services at the University of Bath Library
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