Research England awards £2.2m to project to improve and increase open access publishing

Research England awards £2.2m to project to improve and increase open access publishing

14 June 2019

A new Research England funded project is set to help universities, researchers, libraries and publishers to make more, and better, use of open access book publishing. It will enable greater access to world-leading research and increase its impact.

Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM) is a partnership led by Coventry University and also consisting of:

  • Birkbeck, University of London, Lancaster University and Trinity College, Cambridge
  • The ScholarLed consortium of established open access presses (Open Book Publishers, punctum books, Open Humanities Press, Mattering Press, and meson press)
  • University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Library and Loughborough University Library
  • Infrastructure providers the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) and Jisc, and international membership organisation The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC)

Research England has awarded £2.2 million to COPIM from the Research England Development (RED) Fund, which supports innovation in research and knowledge exchange in higher education that offers significant public benefits.

COPIM will transform open access book publishing by  moving away from a model of competing commercial operations to a more horizontal and cooperative, knowledge-sharing approach. This will involve:

  • Improving and innovating in the infrastructures (business models, preservation structures, and governance procedures) being used by open access book publishers and by those publishers making a transition to open access books
  • Enabling more productive collaborations between librarians, publishers, researchers and others involved in the open access landscape
  • Expanding opportunities by creating open source toolkits to develop the skills necessary to run open access publishing operations.

It will support and sustain a diversity of publishing initiatives and models, particularly within the Humanities and Social Sciences, in the UK and internationally, offering universities and researchers sustainable publishing models they control, increased publishing options, and cost reductions. 

Research England’s Executive Chair, David Sweeney, said:

“Open access plays an important role in maximising the impact of publicly funded research and innovation by making it more widely available to all who might benefit from it. Open access is a key priority both for Research England, and for UK Research and Innovation as a whole.

So I am delighted that we are able to support this ambitious project in developing new and innovative open access publishing ecosystems. It will help us ensure that all publicly funded research is widely and freely accessible to everyone as soon as possible.”


  1. “Open access publishing” means publishing research outputs such as journal articles, papers and books, without requiring payment to view or use them.
  2. The exact RED Fund award amount for COPIM is £2,202,947. COPIM project members have contributed a further £614,830.
  3. The Research England Development (RED) Fund is worth a total £25 million annually. More info about the fund.
  4. Research England shapes healthy, dynamic research and knowledge exchange in English universities. It distributes over £2.2bn to universities in England every year; works to understand their strategies, capabilities and capacity; and supports and challenges universities to create new knowledge, strengthen the economy, and enrich society. Research England is part of UK Research and Innovation alongside the seven Research Councils and Innovate UK.