News story

Government invests £10 million to help universities move to open access

The investment will enable a number of research-intensive UK institutions to kick-start the process of developing policies and setting up funds…

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


The investment will enable a number of research-intensive UK institutions to kick-start the process of developing policies and setting up funds to meet the costs of article processing charges (APCs). This is in line with the recommendations of the Finch report on open access, published in June.

Speaking at the British Science Festival in Aberdeen, David Willetts said:

“Removing paywalls surrounding publicly-funded research findings is a key commitment for this Government and will have real economic and social benefits.

“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.”

The investment will be made to 30 institutions receiving funding through Research Councils and UK higher education funding councils. It is in addition to the contribution RCUK will be making to institutions to support payment of APCs associated with open access through block funding grants from 1 April 2013 onwards. More details of this will be announced in the autumn.

The UK Funding Councils will launch a consultation this autumn on implementing a requirement that research outputs submitted to any future Research Excellence Framework (REF) should be as widely accessible as possible.

Professor Douglas Kell, RCUK Champion for Research and Information Management, welcomed the announcement, commenting:

“We are delighted that BIS is 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 ground-breaking research that can contribute to both the economic growth and the social wellbeing of the UK and beyond.”

David Sweeney, Director (Research, Innovation and Skills) at the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), said:

“We welcome this allocation, which will help establish funds to support freely accessible research publications, and which underlines the principle of open access publication upon which our forthcoming consultation is based. We are delighted to be working with the Research Councils and other funders in this work to support research findings being more widely disseminated.”

The Government has already formally responded to the Finch report on open access and accepted the main recommendations. The details of how the measures detailed in the report should be developed are being worked on by funders in consultation with universities, research institutions, authors and publishers.

**Notes to editors:


  1. The Report of the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings, chaired by Dame Janet Finch can be found here:

  2. The Government response to the Finch report can be found here:

  3. Research Councils UK announced its new open access policy on 16 July 2012. Further information is available at:

  4. RCUK’s full open access policy can be found at:

  5. The UK Funding Councils refers to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland (DEL).

  6. HEFCE’s statement on open access can be found at:

  7. A list of institutions that will receive the additional funding is available from Research Councils UK at

  8. The Government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries.’ It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’ (PDF 1.7MB), published at Budget 2011: * To create the most competitive tax system in the G20 * To make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business * To encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy * To create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.

Work is underway across Government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the Government wants the economy to travel.

  1. BIS’s online newsroom contains the latest press notices and speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See for more information.

Notes to Editors

Contact Information

Name BIS Press Office Job Title

Division Department for Business, Innovation & Skills Phone




Name Sally Catmull Job Title

Division Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Phone 020 7215 6577 Fax



Published 7 September 2012