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‘Research-intensive’ universities to share £10m open access fund

Thirty research-intensive universities have been chosen by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to share a £10 million fund to help universities publish publicly-funded research under open access models.

The funding, announced on 7 September, will be divided between the 30 universities that receive most funding through the research councils and UK higher education funding councils. Other universities will be able to apply for a second block open access grant that will be announced later in the autumn.

The 30 successful universities include 23 out of 24 Russell Group members. The London School of Economics is the only Russell Group member that will not be eligible. The seven non Russell Group members eligible for the funding are the universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Leicester, Loughborough, Reading, St Andrews and Strathclyde.

A BIS spokeswoman confirmed to Research Fortnight Today that the money has come from “efficiency savings” made by research councils and higher education funding councils.

The £10m fund represents a slice of the £50m to £60m per year that the Finch review said universities would need to support the transition to open access publishing.

Science minister David Willetts said in a statement that the money “will usher in a new era of academic discovery and keep the UK at the forefront of research to drive innovation and growth”.

The announcement has also been welcomed by supporters of Gold open access models, including RCUK, the Wellcome Trust and Nature Publishing Group.

But Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group, said, “If the government funds open access by raiding existing science funds, then research will suffer.” Research Libraries UK could not be reached for comment.