RCUK's Open Access Policy

Research Councils UK Policy on Open Access FAQs

The Research Councils UK (RCUK) policy on open access comes into effect from the 1st April 2013. The policy states that all peer-reviewed published research articles and conference proceedings funded by RCUK must be open access.

What is open access?

Open access means that there are no barriers to the research, no paywalls: all research content is made freely and openly available, to anyone around the world. Rather than charging a subscription for people to read the research, researchers pay an Article Processing Charge (APC) at the point of publication.

What is the difference between gold and green open access?

Gold allows for full, open access to research, immediately on publication. Green achieves open access by depositing articles in a repository, typically, but not always, after an embargo period.

What is an Article Processing Charge (APC)?

An APC is a fee that pays for the processing and publication of the article. This includes the editorial and production process as well as ensuring safe and efficient hosting and distribution, ensuring research is widely read and cited.

What are the Research Councils expectations from UK institutions and researchers with this new open access policy?

Researchers are expected to publish any peer-reviewed research that acknowledges Research Council funding in journals that are compliant with the RCUK Policy on Open Access. RCUK will support a mixed approach via green and gold open access routes, however they strongly endorse the gold option.

The policy aims to make it simpler for UK institutions and researchers to publish in open access journals using the gold model, including paying for Article Processing Charges (APCs) through block grants to UK Higher Education institutions, approved independent research organizations, and Research Council Institutes.

Where a journal does not offer a gold option, RCUK will accept the green route, the policy requires a minimum embargo period of 6 months, and up to a maximum of 12 in certain disciplines. Allowances on embargo times may be allowed if funds are not available to cover APC’s.

If RCUK is funding the research it must be unrestricted, which means using a CC-BY license.

What is CC-BY?

CC-BY is a creative commons license, that allows full use, and reuse rights to everyone, as long as the work is attributed to the original authors. See: http://oaspa.org/why-cc-by/

How does BioMed Central/SpringerOpen support UK institutions and researchers?

BioMed Central and SpringerOpen have over 380 open access journals, many with high impact factors at the top of their fields. All articles are published CC-BY and fully compliant with the RCUKs open access policy.

BioMed Central/SpringerOpen operates a number of Membership schemes to help institutions support open access publishing, and helps ensure the most widespread dissemination of the research. It covers full APCs or a reduced fee in all BioMed Central, SpringerOpen and Chemistry Central journals. For more information see: www.biomedcentral.com/libraries/membership

Authors benefit from automated deposit in PubMed Central and optional automated deposit service for institutional repositories. For more information see: http://www.biomedcentral.com/libraries/aad

For further information please contact press@biomedcentral.com

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