Monitoring sector progress towards compliance with funder open access policies

June 2018

During August 2017, the former HEFCE, RCUK, Jisc and Wellcome surveyed Higher Education Institutions about their compliance with, and experience of funder open access policies. The aim of the work was to investigate progress towards our shared goal of increasing the extent to which the outputs of publicly-funded research are freely and openly available. This report details the findings from the survey responses, and represents a snap-shot of the progress towards open access. The report should be read in the context of other work that examines the extent to which scholarly content is openly available in the UK and beyond, especially the report commissioned by the Universities UK Open Access Co-ordination Group.

The publication of this report coincides with the open access reviews of major UK funding bodies. Both Wellcome and the newly-established UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) are conducting an internal review of their open access policies. The evidence put forward in this report will be considered as part of both reviews.

The survey and its findings focus on policy and implementation issues. Specifically, the report examines:

  • The open access policy for the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF), which has applied to journal articles and conference proceedings made first publicly available since 1 April 2016
  • The RCUK open access policy, which applies to outputs resulting from funding from the Research Councils, and has applied in its current form since 1 April 2013, and
  • The Wellcome/Charity's Open Access Fund (COAF) open access policy, which applies to outputs resulting from research charity funding, and has applied in its current form since 1 October 2014.

It is therefore important to read the findings in the context of the maturity of the policy environment, which differs between the policies.