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New UKRI Open Access Policy 2021 welcomed

Immediate open access for research outputs funded by all UKRI funders is to become the norm.

Leeds University Libraries welcomes UKRI’s commitment to immediate open access for publicly-funded research in their new open access policy.

The policy applies to all the UKRI funding bodies and will come into effect on 1 April 2022 for research articles, and on 1 Jan 2024 for long-form publications (monographs, book chapters and edited collections).

Masud Khokhar, University Librarian, welcomed the policy, saying:

We have seen repeatedly that open access to research reduces inequalities, increases impact, and enables rapid growth and innovation (most recently with Covid-19 vaccine development). The UKRI open access policy is another step forward in strengthening the UK’s global open research position and developing a positive research culture.

The new UKRI policy follows similar initiatives from cOAlition S and the Wellcome Trust to make sure that publicly-funded research is openly available to the public at the point of publication.

A summary of the new policy requirements and the support available through UKRI grants is below.

Policy requirements for peer-reviewed research articles

For peer-reviewed research articles, the key requirements of the new policy include:

  • research articles must be made immediately available as open access, so no embargoes allowed – this applies to articles submitted for publication on or after 1 April 2022
  • articles can be made open access through a gold route in an open access journal or publishing platform, or through a green route by depositing the author accepted manuscript in an institutional or subject repository
  • researchers can only use UKRI funding to publish in a purely gold open access journal or in a subscription “hybrid” journal covered by a transitional agreement agreed with Jisc
  • articles must be made available using a CC BY licence, or CC BY ND by exception – this includes a requirement to notify the publisher of this licensing at the point of submission
  • articles must include a Data Access Statement, even where there are no data associated with the article or the data are inaccessible.


Preprints are not covered by the new open access policy. However, to facilitate open research practices, UKRI encourages the use of preprints across the research disciplines that they support. They will be publishing a statement on preprints at a later date.

Policy requirements for monographs

For monographs, book chapters and edited collections, the key requirements of the policy include:

  • monographs, book chapters and edited collections must be made available as open access within a maximum of 12 months of publication, from 1 January 2024
  • the final version of the publication must be made open access via a publisher’s website, platform or repository, or the accepted manuscript must be deposited in a repository
  • monographs must be made available using a CC BY licence, although NC and ND licences are permitted.

UKRI open access funding

UKRI will be providing up to £46.7 million per year to support the implementation of the policy.

This substantial increase in funding recognises the costs involved to meet the new policy requirements, as well as the inclusion of monographs in the policy.

UKRI will release further information on the block grant and terms and conditions of funding for articles in November/December 2021 and in 2022 for monographs. We will provide more information then and will also schedule events to publicise and support this change.

Further information

Please contact us with any questions.

Read the full UKRI open access policy

Read UKRI’s Shaping our open access policy


Image adapted from image by MikeAMorrison - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,