UK Research Funders Announce Grants For Open-Access Publishing

Richard Van Noorden | Nature | November 8, 2012

The United Kingdom’s research-funding agencies will together spend more than £100 million (US$159 million) over the next five years to help pay for taxpayer-funded research papers to be free to read, they announced today.

Details of the grants, which come from Britain’s science budget, have been keenly awaited since Research Councils UK (RCUK), the umbrella body for the United Kingdom’s seven research-funding agencies, updated its open-access policy in July. Under that policy, from April next year all RCUK-funded research (about 26,000 papers a year, or between one-quarter and one-fifth of the country’s total output) must be free to read within six months of publication.

RCUK says that it will send block grants to universities so that they can pay publishers to make research instantly free upon publication, an approach known as ‘gold’ open access. The average up-front cost of each paper is estimated to be more than £2,000, the RCUK said today. Universities, which have already expressed fears that they will not have sufficient funds to publish their research via the gold route, would have to contribute 20% to each paper’s costs, and will have to manage their publishing pot by themselves...