Supporting UKRI-funded researchers, universities and research organisations to navigate available open access publishing options
Open access (OA) allows the findings of publicly funded research to be accessed, shared and reused.
Following extensive consultation, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) published its new open access policy for research publications in August 2021. It is based on one simple principle, that findings from publicly-funded research should be accessible to all.
The updated policy requires immediate OA for peer-reviewed research articles submitted for publication from 1 April 2022, and monographs, book chapters and edited collections published from 1 January 2024.
We are helping universities and research organisations to effectively implement the new UKRI OA policy by building on our existing activities and tools, and working with a range of stakeholders (researchers, research offices, libraries and publishers). This includes the provision of tools for authors and research organisations to navigate available OA options, improve workflows and automate reporting.
What information is needed?
While the UKRI policy itself is simple, the complexity of the evolving scholarly publication system means that some of the detail is challenging to navigate.
It is clear that researchers, universities and research organisations need to be able to access simple answers to their questions around compliance to the UKRI open access policy and eligibility for UKRI OA funding, in order to inform where they publish their research. For the publication of OA journal articles, a number of checks need to be made.
For authors, universities and research organisations to quickly, accurately and confidently identify publishing options that identify compliance with the UKRI OA policy and are eligible for UKRI OA funding they need to know:
- Is there a Transitional Agreement (TA) in place and does the university/research organisation/author have access to this?
- Is it a Jisc-approved Transformative Journal (TJ)ie is it a hybrid journal that has committed to transitioning to OA (and fulfils the criteria set by Jisc on behalf of UK universities and research organisations)?
- Is it a fully OA journal?
- Is self-archiving of author-accepted manuscript allowed by the journal?
In preparation for the launch of the policy, we have been working with universities, colleges and research organisations to understand their pain points, enhancing our information about Jisc-negotiated transitional agreements and preparing a Jisc directory of transformative journals. We have also been collaborating with cOAlition S to further develop the Journal Checker Tool to meet UKRI-funded author needs with respect to journal articles.
What information will be available to support the launch of the UKRI OA policy?
By 1 April, in time for the launch of the UKRI OA policy:
Researchers will be able to check if a journal offers a route to compliance via the Journal Checker Tool. The tool will be customised in line with UKRI policy and will utilise up-to-date information from Jisc.
More detailed information regarding transitional agreements (with a look-up functionality) and the list of Jisc-approved transformative journals (downloadable list) will be available from 01 April via the Sherpa services. This data will serve as the data source for JCT informing their search results.
In all cases, researchers will be encouraged to follow appropriate channels within their institutions to check eligibility for funds to cover the costs of publishing OA journal articles.
What if I want to make a change or report an error in the information presented?
You can either provide specific comments via the Journal Checker Tool or Sherpa through the online feedback forms, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking beyond this initial phase of work, we are focused on the following areas of development.
We are beginning work to bring existing Sherpa services (Romeo, Juliet, Fact) together into a unified interface, to provide a consolidated and easier to access interface for all of our policy and compliance information. This will also incorporate enhanced search functionality (elastic search). Consolidated and enhanced APIs will also be available via the same user interface, to provide easy access to data sets for our users.
Providing accurate, authoritative information for the sector:
In parallel, we are continually improving our collection management and data curation workflows, to ensure accuracy and reliability of the information we provide, as well as making sure we are collating the data that is most useful for our users. Beyond journals, we intend to create and add datasets surrounding OA books and monographs, subject to further consultation with institutions around their needs.
Connecting with other infrastructure:
We are delighted to be collaborating with the Journal Checker Tool to meet UKRI author needs with respect to journal articles. Building on this collaboration, we will be exploring how we can further automate data flows and streamline processes, as well as provide information to institutions at the point of need, as part of their own workflows, so that researchers have a more seamless experience (e.g. via widgets and other Jisc services used by institutions).
Help us to shape our roadmap
If you’re a researcher, or have a role supporting OA publication at your institution, we want to hear from you! You can join our Sherpa user group or get in touch directly with our Product Manager Karen Jackson.
About the author
I am responsible for the strategic development and delivery of a diverse range of services relating to policy implementation, monitoring and underpinning infrastructure for open research.
A key part of my role is to take a more a holistic approach to open research by developing our services to support openness throughout the research life cycle. This includes the process, management and outputs of research. As the scholarly ecosystem and policy landscape continue to evolve at pace around the world, I am committed to helping the sector embrace the full potential of open research.