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RCUK announces Chair of Open Access Review

Research Councils UK (RCUK) has today, 9 May 2014, announced that Professor Sir Bob Burgess will Chair the 2014 review of the implementation of the RCUK policy on Open Access. Amongst other issues, the review will examine the impact of the policy since its introduction in April 2013, the process of implementation and its effects across the disciplines.

Professor Rick Rylance, Chair of Research Councils UK, commented: “I am delighted that Sir Bob has agreed to accept this key role. We are determined that this review will give us an independent perspective on the challenges and opportunities that have emerged since the introduction of our policy last year. For this we need a strong, independent chair. With his long experience in various fora, Bob is ideally placed to bring the judicious, impartial perspective we need. We look forward to receiving his findings.”

Professor Sir Bob Burgess commented: “Open access policies have been at the heart of a key debate in the higher education sector for some time. Establishing an independent review group will therefore give us an opportunity to examine the implementation of the RCUK Policy on Open Access and any further resources required to develop it. Working with a range of members drawn from the academic and publishing communities and taking evidence from a range of interested parties will help us make recommendations for the future.”

The review panel that Professor Sir Bob Burgess will chair will include representatives from across the academic and publishing sectors. There will also be international representation. It is expected that the panel will report their interim findings to RCUK Executive Group by the end of 2014 with a full report expected in the first part of 2015.

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Further information

Nicholas Turner
Press and Communications Manager
Tel: 01793 444592 or email: Nicholas Turner

Notes to editors

  1. For further details on the RCUK Policy on Open Access please visit

  2. The draft terms of reference for the review can be found here

  3. Professor Sir Bob Burgess Biography: Robert Burgess is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester (a post he has held for fifteen years) and Chair of the Higher Education Academy, the UUK/Guild HE Teacher Education Advisory Group and NatCen Social Research. He is a member of the UCEA Board and an Academician of the Academy of the Social Sciences and chairs the HEA Implementation Groups on the Higher Education Achievement Report and introducing a Grade Point Average in the UK. He was awarded a Knighthood in 2010 for services to Higher Education locally and nationally and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Midlands Business Awards in February 2012.

    He has held national roles in a range of major organisations including: President of the British Sociological Association, President of the Association for the Teaching of the Social Sciences and Founding Chair of the UK Council for Graduate Education. He has been a member of the Council of the Economic and Social Research Council and a member of the British Library Board. He has been Chair of the Postgraduate Training Board of the Economic and Social Research Council and Chair of the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and the Research Information Network. He has also been Chair of the East Midlands Universities Association and Honorary Secretary of the Society for Research in Higher Education (now its President).

  4. Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK's seven Research Councils who annually invest around £3 billion in research. We support excellent research, as judged by peer review, that has an impact on the growth, prosperity and wellbeing of the UK. To maintain the UK’s global research position we offer a diverse range of funding opportunities, foster international collaborations and provide access to the best facilities and infrastructure around the world. We also support the training and career development of researchers and work with them to inspire young people and engage the wider public with research. To maximise the impact of research on economic growth and societal wellbeing we work in partnership with other research funders including the Technology Strategy Board, the UK Higher Education funding bodies, business, government, and charitable organisations.

    The seven UK Research Councils are:

    • Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC);
    • Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC);
    • Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC);
    • Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC);
    • Medical Research Council (MRC);
    • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC);
    • Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

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