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Research councils announce £17m for open access block grants

Universities in the UK will receive £17 million in 2013-14 to fund the costs of publishing research under the gold open access model.

On 8 November, Research Councils UK set out its plans for providing block grants to institutions to allow them to pay article processing charges up front to journal publishers. This will enable research to be made immediately available for free in journals.

The funding is expected to allow 45 per cent of research council funded research to go gold in the first year of the block grant plan. In the second year, the funding will be increased to £20m, enabling 53 per cent of research to be open access.

RCUK says it will continue increasing the budget and aims to have 75 per cent of research council-funded work available open access within five years. The councils, however, do not say how much will go into the scheme after the first two years. RCUK estimates that it could need “in excess of £100m” over the five-year period to achieve the 75 per cent goal. There will also be a review in 2014 to decide how much should be invested after the next spending review.

Separate arrangements are being made to fund article processing costs of research council institutes.

Only universities eligible for an APC grant of £10,000 or more in the fifth year will be eligible for funding. Individual allocations will be decided according to the amounts they received for direct labour costs awarded on grants between April 2009 to March 2012.

RCUK announced in July that it wants all the work it funds to be open access in the future, with a preference for the gold model, rather than the green model, under which research findings are made available for free in repositories after an embargo period.