RCUK Plans to Extend Open Access Policy

Research Councils UK (RCUK) have produced a draft policy paper which sees an amendment to open access policies whereby it will be mandatory for all RCUK-funded papers be made freely available six months after publication. The draft policy paper was published on the EnablingOpenScholarship website on 12 March.

The UK’s Research Councils have proposed a revised policy on Open Access which further clarifies RCUK’s definition of Open Access and strengthens some of the criteria that must be satisfied. In particular, the policy commits to libre Open Access as the agreed RCUK definition, and permits an embargo of not longer than 6 months except for research  funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council.

Some other areas where the existing policy , implemented in 2006, is strengthened are:

– the defining of specific conditions for OA journals to be recognised by the Research Councils as ‘Open Access Policy Compliant’

– the stipulation that the version of an article to be deposited in OA repositories is the final author version that is ‘accepted for publication’ (i.e. with all corrections and changes made as a result of peer review)

– the Research Councils will no longer accept embargo periods imposed by publishers, but instead stipulate an embargo period of no more than 6 months except in the case of humanities and social sciences

– a requirement for a statement from authors on how the ‘underlying materials’ (i.e. data, samples or models) for an article may be accessed (N.B. the materials need not necessarily be Open Access themselves)

The move would extend rules already in place at the Medical Research Council, although initially the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economics and Social Research Council would have lengthier, 12 month, periods.