OA in the UK

The National Research Environment

There are over 170 education institutions within the UK. These vary from research-led universities like Oxford, or Edinburgh, through to far smaller specialist organisations which may have more of the teaching focus. The Universities are divided into different groupings: those of the research led universities are the Russell Group and the 1994 Group. These two groups hold the top 40 research led institutions. At the time of writing every Russell Group University has an institutional repository, as is the case for all but two of the 19 universities of the 1994 Group.

Major research funders / Funder mandates

Most government funding for research in UK universities is directed through the seven research councils, which collectively are known as RCUK. Most of the individual councils have now adopted mandates for open access dissemination of the research outputs that they fund. Another significant Funder in the UK (although they work internationally) is the Wellcome Trust. The Wellcome Trust has a mandate which requires grant recipients to make their information available through open access -- in this case through the repository UKPMC. Major charity funders include, Cancer Research UK and British Heart Foundation, both of whom have open access policies. Further information on funding requirements in the UK and internationally is available through the JULIET service.

EC research funding

In 2008, €739,576,247 (Approx. £649,823,968) was spent by the EU on research within the UK (Source: http://ec.europa.eu). Compared to £354m from Cancer Research UK alone in the same year (Source: Cancer Research UK Annual Report & Accounts 2008-09)

According to Peter Walters, within the first two years (2007-2009) there was €1.9b spent in FP7 ICT theme research projects with UK participants (Source: EU Funded Collaborative Research, Peter Walters, ICT NCP, Digital Libraries and Digital Preservation Information Day, 27th October 2009).


Open Access and Repositories

According to a Key Perspectives 2008 report, researchers are not fully aware of open access, however this awareness is growing.  (Source: Key Concerns within the Scholarly Communications Process (2008). Key Perspectives. Commissioned by JISC.)

Since 2008, awareness of open access has increased, particularly in the subject areas covered by funding agency mandates. The majority of UK based researchers are now covered by either a funders’ mandate (16) and/or institutional mandate (24), and have access to an institutional or subject repository (168). However, this awareness is not yet translating into depositions. (Source: OpenDOAR, JULIET and ROARMAP).

Open Access Projects

The vast majority of open access projects and initiatives have been funded by the JISC. The JISC is responsible for the disbursement of funding for the development of IT in higher education. The organisation has been responsible for much of the initiative and strategy in the development of the UK's open access environment. A full list of all of the open access projects that have been funded by the JISC would be impractical to list here. The JISC website has links to these projects through the different funded programmes through which they are managed. Some significant projects are as follows:

  • Repository Support Project (RSP)
  • Digital preservation & records management programme
  • Start-up and Enhancement Projects Training (SUETr)
  • ERIS (Enhancing Repository Infrastructure in Scotland)
  • EThOS
  • DART-Europe
  • Welsh Repository Network
  • Open Access Repository Junction
  • Copyright Licensing Applications using SWORD for Moodle

JISC has also funded various OAJ overlay projects such as:

  • Repository Interface for Overlaid Journal Archives (RIOJA)
  • Overlay journal infrastructure for Meteorological Sciences (OJIMS)

Open Access Repositories

There are currently 192 repositories containing full-text content within the UK (Source: OpenDOAR, Jan 2012). This figure includes institutional and disciplinary repositories.

Open Access Publishing

There are currently 529 journals published within the UK. (Source: DOAJ Jan 2012).  In addition, the United Kingdom is home to several OAJ publishers including Open Access Central Publishers – BioMed Central, Chemistry Central and Physics Central; Academic Conferences International and Dove Medical Press.

Many UK based traditional publishers provide Paid Open Access options, such as BMJ Publishing, Cambridge University Press, Maney and the Royal Society.

Open Access organisations and groups

SHERPA Partnership - the SHERPA partnership grew out of the original SHERPA project (2002 -- 2006). It currently holds over 30 institutional members, and an Affiliate Partnership programme is available.

UKCoRR - is a professional body for repository managers within the UK. As such, it concentrates on the practicalities of running institutional repositories rather than advocacy of open access itself. More information can be gained from its website.

ERIS - (Enhancing Repositry Infrastructure in Scotland) is an initiative funded by the JISC for the development of user-led solutions that will motivate researchers to deposit their work in repositories, and facilitate the integration of repositories into research and institutional processes.

ePrints.org - eprints software was the original institutional repository software, developed at the University of Southampton. This software now powers a significant fraction of the world's open access repositories and is under continuous development.

Welsh Repository Network - is an ongoing project that has been funded by JISC to create a network of twelve repositories across Wales. Welsh Repository Network Enhancement Project will build on the earlier work through investigating the potential of a collaborative, centrally managed model to accelerate the development and uptake of repository services by Welsh HEIs.


Useful links and resources


Email lists






Contributors Contact Details

Bill Hubbard:

National OA Desk:

  • Last updated on .
flag black white lowOpenAIRE-Advance receives
funding from the European 
Union's Horizon 2020 Research and
Innovation programme under Grant
Agreement No. 777541.


  Unless otherwise indicated, all materials created by OpenAIRE are licenced under CC ATTRIBUTION 4.0 INTERNATIONAL LICENSE.
OpenAIRE uses cookies in order to function properly. By using the OpenAIRE portal you accept our use of cookies.