Open access to be a requirement for UK research funding

Jisc today welcomed the announcement by Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Scottish Funding Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Department for Employment and Learning that from 2016 they will expect all articles submitted to the Research Excellence Framework (REF), a system for assessing the quality of research, to be available by open access.

This framework will be used by the HEFCE, the Scottish Funding Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland to inform the selective allocation of their research funding to higher education institutions. This means that any university which applies for research funding will have to show how they support open access.

This is potentially great news for universities and researchers keen to raise their profile and their impact.  However, as with any benefit, it will require some investment on the part of the sector.

Jisc, the Association for Research Managers and Administrators (ARMA) , Research Libraries UK (RLUK) and Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL)  have come together to help universities reduce the investment needed so that good practice and lessons can be shared between those responsible for putting the REF policy into practice.

Lorraine Estelle, executive director of digital content and resource discovery and CEO Jisc Collections, said:

“There are few things to which universities pay more attention than the REF, so I’m delighted that Jisc is working so closely with our partners to help universities prepare for it, and gain the maximum benefit from doing so.“

Jisc works with the Open Access Implementation Group to offer a range of support and guidance which can help your university choose a model of open access which is right for your institution. We are supporting the open access implementation community with a number of Jisc-funded pathfinder projects, along with events, workshops and briefings over the next two years until the policy comes into force.  And we are working with HEFCE, the Research Councils and the Wellcome Trust to provide the Sherpa FACT service, advising authors on complying with open access policies.

Simon Kerridge (ARMA), Stella Butler (RLUK), Sara Marsh (SCONUL) and Neil Jacobs (Jisc) agree that

“working together in this way, our organisations can reduce the burden on universities as they adopt open access in ways that best suit their missions in a diverse higher education sector”

The future of research is open access. Jisc is proud to be ensuring that institutions are involved in shaping that future and equipped to get the best out of it.