May 20, 2022

UK Government Receives Independent Advice on Open Access to Research Publications and Data in New Report

Open Access to Research Publications: Independent Advice was published today by the UK Government.

The report was written by:

Professor Adam Tickell
Provost and Vice Principal, University of Birmingham
Chair of the Universities UK Open Access Coordination Group

The research/report/advice was requested by the Minister for Universities and Science Jo Johnson in July 2015.

The report also includes a section on research data.

From the Executive Summary:

Since the Finch Report was published in 2012, the UK has made substantial progress towards the objective of ensuring that publicly funded research is made available through an Open Access route. By April 2017, almost all journal articles published by UK university academics will be available under Open Access routes. Of these, approaching 20% will be available on the date of publication and without any further restriction. These figures are higher than anywhere else in the world.

Such progress has been stimulated by:

• Clear mandates and, in some cases, financial support from RCUK, the Funding Councils, and major charitable funders
• The development of a dense network of institutional repositories at universities, complemented by subject repositories
• The development of new routes to Open Access by publishers and Learned Societies
• The development of an underpinning infrastructure

There are competing financial interests between the parties involved in the funding and publication of scientific and scholarly work. In this context, it is particularly notable that the transition to Open Access in the UK is being achieved with relatively little public discord.

UK universities currently spend an estimated £33m on Open Access charges and, without mitigation, this is estimated to rise to between £40m and £83m by 2020. The total cost of publication to universities is estimated at £168m (or over 11% of the value of QR awarded across the United Kingdom). Non-academic institutions spend a further £127m.

A significant proportion of the cost of Open Access has been incurred in ‘hybrid journals’, where individual articles are made immediately available in journals that are otherwise behind a subscription paywall.

In order to continue to make progress in the transition to Open Access, and to maintain the UK’s leadership, no major changes to the UK’s approach are recommended.

Direct to Full Text Report (39 pages; PDF)

Direct to Response Letter by Minister for Universities and Science Jo Johnson, MP.

Two Charts From the Report



Direct to Full Text Report (39 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.