In June 2012 the report from the National Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings (the ‘Finch Group’) - Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: how to expand access to research publications was published. The report sets out an encouraging and challenging road map to improve open access to scholarly literature and the Research Councils have used the findings of the group to further develop the policies that they have had in place since 2005.
In order to help the implementation of the policy, the Research Councils introduced (from April 2013) a new funding mechanism - a block grant to universities and eligible research organisations to cover the cost of article processing charges (APCs). Further information about the block grant can be found in the announcement and in the spreadsheet which shows the distribution of block grants by research organisation 2015/16 financial year. Block grant amounts by institutions for the 2013/14 and 2014/15 financial years can be found in this spreadsheet .
The Government responded to the recommendations of the Finch Report; that response includes further clarification on the treatment of embargo periods in those case where publicly funded research does not have access to Article Processing Charge (APC) Funds for OA publication purposes. The way this impacts on the Research Councils’ position is still under discussion.