Open access: addressing your concerns

Open access (OA) is the practice of allowing academic outputs to be available to all, free of charge. Generally this applies to journal articles, but some effort is being made to apply OA to monographs and other outputs.

Although OA can be traced back to the 1940s, the modern movement began in the 1990s, and emerged first in the sciences. The earliest free online archive was arXiv, established in 1991. PubMed, an online repository for medical research, was created in 1997, and the ePrints software was developed in 2000.

The movement gained momentum in the early 21st Century, and has now become mainstream, with many funders mandating its use for publications arising out of the research they’ve funded.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which brings together the UK’s research councils, launched their new OA policy in April 2022. This followed policy changes by Wellcome and the National Institute for Health Research. These new policies are under an international initiative called Plan S,  and the next OA requirements for the REF are likely to follow suit.

With this significant step, the Eastern Arc OA and Scholarly Communications Group has prepared a series answers to common OA concerns that academics and researchers across the Arc may have.

Please follow institution-specific advice at UEA,  Essex or Kent for detailed step by step guidance about meeting specific funder requirements at your home university.