UKRI Open Access Policy from 1 April 2022
UKRI’s new open access policy will apply to in-scope journal articles and conference papers that acknowledge UKRI funding and are submitted for publication from 1 April 2022. UKRI requires immediate open access to any of its funded outputs, regardless of whether that is achieved through deposit in a repository or published in a journal/conference proceedings. This applies to all researchers who are in receipt of UKRI funding prior to and from 1 April 2022, including any past grant holders where relevant outputs are still being submitted for publication.
The policy will also apply to monographs, book chapters and edited collections published from 1 January 2024. We will make more detail available when implementation guidance has been issued.
There are two routes by which articles can meet the requirements of the policy:
Route one: publish in an open access journal or publishing platform, with a CC BY licence. This includes publishing in a journal covered by a UKRI-compliant transitional agreement. You can consult a list of agreements the Library has paid for, and use the cOAlition S Journal Checker Tool.
Agreements generally include open access publishing available to all corresponding authors at an institution. If the corresponding author for an article where you are co-author is in the UK, their institution is likely to be signatory to the same agreements as at Imperial.
Route two: publish in a subscription journal and deposit the accepted manuscript in a subject or institutional repository with a CC BY licence and with no embargo from the date of first online publication. To publish using route two, submitted manuscripts must include the following licensing text:
"‘For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a ‘Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising’"
- The licensing text asserts author copyright to any arising accepted manuscript (following peer review and relevant editorial processes), including the application of a CC BY licence to that accepted manuscript when deposited in a repository.
- Where an output includes third party copyright content, researchers do not need to seek permission for this content to be made available under a CC BY licence – UKRI specifies third party copyright content is not subject to its OA requirements.
There are a number of associated requirements that apply to all relevant outputs, regardless of the route chosen.
- In-scope articles must include a Data access statement. The data referred to in a Data Access Statement does not have to be openly available (but this is encouraged), and if there is no associated data, this must be stated in the data access statement.
- There are minimum technical standards that journals and publishing platforms, and repositories must meet for compliance with both routes. We will ensure Spiral, the College’s repository, meets these standards. Transitional agreements for publishing in journals will require the standards to be applied.
Future REF open access policy
UKRI has stated (pdf) that any UKRI-funded output that is compliant with the new OA policy will meet any ‘future national research assessment open access policy without additional action from the author and/or its institution’. They also state that the OA policy for future national research assessments will not require UKRI-funded outputs to meet different open access requirements. We await further announcement on the OA policy for the post-2021 REF.
1. Will I still be able to publish in my journal of choice?
Yes. If the journal is not part of a transitional agreement, the accepted manuscript can be deposited in Spiral and meet the requirements of the UKRI OA policy. You will need to include the statement asserting your right to deposit the accepted manuscript on the submitted manuscript.
If your publisher agreement states that you cannot deposit the accepted manuscript, please get in touch with the Open Access team.
2. How do I find out if a journal is in a transitional agreement?
You can use the cOAlition S Journal Checker Tool, and the publisher agreements and discounts spreadsheet at the Scholarly Communication website. A Jisc agreement checker tool, specific to the UK, should be released soon.
3. My journal publisher has said they will not accept the statement asserting my right to deposit the accepted version. What shall I do?
We are waiting for guidance from UKRI on publisher non-compliance to advise authors in this situation. However, we would advise that from 1 April 2022, if your publisher agreement states that you cannot deposit the accepted manuscript, please get in touch with the Open Access team as soon as possible.
4. I am not the corresponding author but hold UKRI research funding. How do I meet the OA policy requirements?
If the corresponding author is at another UK HEI, and the journal you are publishing in is part of a transitional agreement, it is likely the work will meet the route one requirements. This is because many UK institutions have signed and paid for the same agreements as at Imperial.
We would advise any UKRI-funded authors to discuss the OA policy requirement with co-authors to ensure the copyright assertion text is included in the submitted manuscript. This will allow for deposit using route two when a journal is not included in a transitional agreement.
If you are publishing in a full OA journal which charges APCs, the UKRI open access block grant held by the College can pay the APC. You can apply for the APC to be paid via Symplectic.
5. The journal I want to publish in is not part of a transitional agreement. How do I meet the requirements?
We would advise using route two: on the submitted manuscript always include the statement asserting your (and your co-authors) copyright to the accepted version. If your article is accepted and your publisher agreement states that you cannot deposit the accepted manuscript, please get in touch with the Open Access team.
6. I am the author of a conference paper. Does it have to meet the requirements?
UKRI’s guidance (pdf) specifies that the requirements ‘apply to peer-reviewed conference papers that are accepted for final publication in a journal, conference proceeding with an ISSN number, or a publishing platform’ (page 6). Conference abstracts are out of scope.
7. I am the author of a review article. Does it have to meet the requirements?
Yes. UKRI’s guidance (pdf) says that in-scope review articles will include ‘evidence syntheses, systematic reviews, systematic-literature reviews, analyses, meta-analyses and metasyntheses. The policy does not apply to book reviews or narrative reviews, although open access is encouraged. The policy applies to in-scope reviews that are commissioned or invited.’ (page 8)
8. Do I still have to upload my accepted manuscript to Symplectic?
Yes, authors should continue to upload accepted manuscripts to Symplectic (whether UKRI funded or not). If you do not have the accepted manuscript, but have got a URL to the manuscript deposited in another repository, please provide that in Symplectic instead. Please also make sure you use Symplectic to link your publications to the relevant grant.
9. My paper acknowledges both Wellcome and UKRI funding: should I use the Wellcome or UKRI rights assertion statement?
You can use either as they both have the same purpose, which is to tell your publisher that you are asserting your right (and your co-authors right, where relevant) to make the accepted manuscript available on open access without embargo.
10. My article will be published on open access as part of a transformative agreement. Do I need to request open access funding via Symplectic?
No. If your publisher tells you (or the corresponding author) that your article will be published as part of a transformative agreement, you do not need to request an APC to be paid. We do still need you to link grant funding to that article in Symplectic.
11. I am publishing in a full open access journal. Can I still ask for the APC to be paid?
Yes. When an open access journal requires an APC to be paid, the UKRI block grant (and other funds the Library Services manage) will cover that cost. Please apply for APC funding via Symplectic.
Some open access journals operate on a ‘diamond’ open access model, where individual APCs are not charged. The Library Services has also paid for some open access agreements that include full open access journals, so when your publisher says your article is included in one of those, you will not need to request an APC to be paid.
12. I am submitting my manuscript to a journal which has a transformative agreement. Do I need to include the rights assertion statement?
We recommend that you include the rights assertion statement on your submitted manuscripts, whether a journal is included in a transformative agreement or not. If the article cannot be included in the agreement or is not published in the journal you submitted to, the statement means you should be able to use route two (deposit in a repository) regardless of where you end up being published.
13. How and when do I have to include a data access statement?
UKRI requires that all outputs acknowledging UKRI funding include a data access statement, even if there are no underlying data. You can find guidance at the Research Data Management pages on how to write a data access statement.
14. My grant started before 1 April 2022. Do I still have to comply with the policy?
Yes. The policy applies to outputs acknowledging UKRI funding, regardless of when that funding was received. If your grant period has ended and you are submitting outputs of that grant for publication from 1 April 2022, they will need to meet the requirements of the OA policy.
15. I am a PhD student with UKRI funding. Do I have to comply with the policy?
Yes, if you submit any outputs for publication from 1 April 2022, those need to meet the requirements of the policy.
Your thesis needs to meet the open access requirements of the College’s regulations and is not subject to the UKRI OA policy.
16. I want to submit a manuscript to a Nature title. How do I meet the OA policy requirements?
If you are submitting a manuscript to a Nature Research or Palgrave Macmillan hybrid journal title, we would strongly advise that you include the rights assertion statement on your submitted manuscript. SpringerNature have said they will guarantee UKRI funded authors can publish their work to be compliant with the UKRI Open Access policy, and you can request that guarantee by following their UKRI guidance under the question ‘How can UKRI authors submitting from 1st April 2022 remain compliant?’. The publication route provided by Springer Nature that we advise you follow is:
‘Publish via the subscription route, and self-archive the accepted manuscript (AM): Upon editorial acceptance, request a UKRI exceptional publishing agreement from the journal, enabling you to permanently deposit the AM in your funder or institutional repositories, for immediate release under a CC BY licence upon publication of the version of record.’
The UKRI block grant can be used to pay for an APC in these titles if necessary, and please contact the Open Access team if you would like to know more.
17. I have funding from MRC and/or BBSRC. Does my work have to be deposited in EuropePMC or Spiral?
MRC require that the author accepted manuscript, or publisher version, where permitted, of any output acknowledging their funding should be deposited in EuropePMC with no embargo to access from the time of publication. Many full open access publishers and publisher open access agreements will include deposit to EuropePMC where required, and where you know the publisher will make the deposit, you do not need to take any further action. If you are using UKRI route 2 – deposit of the accepted manuscript in a repository - you should deposit in EuropePMC. You can deposit in Spiral as well if you wish to.
BBSRC encourage outputs to be deposited in EuropePMC. As above, if the publisher provides deposit to EuropePMC, that will be done automatically, as long as an open access agreement applies. If you are using UKRI route 2, BBSRC would like authors to use EuropePMC as the repository to make their accepted manuscripts available.
For both funders, to use route 2, you must include the rights assertion statement on your submitted manuscript.