UK funding council’s stance on open access to be supported with an extra £10 million investment from government

UK Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willetts, has today announced an additional investment of £10 million to help universities take up open access options. The funding, which will be shared between 30 research intensive universities, will be allocated through the various funding councils in addition to the funding that Research Councils UK (RCUK) will be providing to help support this change.

‘Removing paywalls surrounding publicly-funded research findings is a key commitment for this government and will have real economic and social benefit,’ said Willetts. ‘This extra £10 million investment will help some of our universities move across to the open access model. This will usher in a new era of academic discovery and keep the UK at the forefront of research to drive innovation and growth.’

Earlier in the year, following the Finch report, RCUK announced that research it funds will need to be published in open access journals from 1 April 2013. However, the size of the grants to facilitate this change have yet to be announced and the details of how open access publishing should be developed by the research community are being worked on by funders in consultation with universities, research institutions, authors and publishers.

RCUK champion for research and information management and chief executive of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Douglas Kell, welcomed the announcement, saying in a statement: ‘We are delighted that BIS [Department for Business, Innovation and Skills] are providing additional funding to a number of universities to assist in their transition to full open access, helping them to set up and manage their funds for research publications. This underpins the work of RCUK and other research funders in providing full access to groundbreaking research that can contribute to both the economic growth and the social wellbeing of the UK and beyond.’