RCUK published today an independent study commissioned by the Research Councils
into open access to research outputs. The purpose of the study was to identify the
effects and impacts of open access on publishing models and institutional repositories
in light of national and international trends. This included the impact of open
access on the quality and efficiency of scholarly outputs, specifically journal
articles. The report presents options for the Research Councils to consider, such
as maintaining the current variation in Research Councils’ mandates, or moving towards
increased open access, eventually leading to Gold Standard.
Welcoming the study, Professor Ian Diamond, Chair of the RCUK Executive Group
said: "This excellent study sets out a way forward for the UK Research Councils
in relation to open access, building on the extensive activities already supported
through repositories such as UK PubMed Central and ESRC Society Today. The Research
Councils look forward to working with their partners across the research community
to consider the options."
In response to the study, the Chief Executives of the Research Councils have
agreed that over time the UK Research Councils will support increased open access,
- building on their mandates on grant-holders to deposit research papers in
suitable repositories within an agreed time period, and;
- extending their support for publishing in open access journals, including
through the pay-to-publish model.
RCUK is now beginning this implementation process through a number of cross-Research
Council working groups. We recognise that there are many issues to consider and
will liaise fully with all interested parties, including the academic community,
publishers, and organisations such as JISC and the Research Information Network.
- ends -
Download the final report
Download the annexes
The study, conducted by SQW Consulting and LISU, Loughborough University, was
commissioned and managed by a subgroup of the RCUK Research Outputs Group (ROG).
In addition, an independent Expert Panel was set up to advise the consultants, consisting
of representatives from the commercial and learned society publishing sectors and
university libraries, and chaired by Michael Jubb from the Research Information
The specific terms of reference were to:
- Review the current state of play of open access to establish national and
- Assess the transition from subscription to pay-to-publish models across
- Determine the impact of repositories for self-archiving research outputs
- Assess the effect(s) of open access on the quality, efficiency and impact
of research outputs.
Links to current Research Council and RCUK policy on Open Access
About Research Councils UK
The seven Research Councils are independent non-departmental public bodies, funded
by the Science and Research Budget through the Department of Innovation, Universities
and Skills (DIUS). They are incorporated by Royal Charter and together manage a
research budget of around £3 billion a year.
Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the partnership between the UK's seven Research
Councils. Through RCUK, the Research Councils work together to champion the research,
training and innovation they support.
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).
RCUK Press Officer
Tel: 01793 444592