Open access is the free and unrestricted access to peer-reviewed scholarly content, predominantly journal articles, but increasingly other content, including monographs, book chapters and theses.
Policy on open access to journal articles
Along with the other Research Councils and Research Councils UK, the AHRC believes that free and open access to publicly-funded research offers significant social and economic benefits. As major bodies charged with investing public money in research, the Research Councils take very seriously their responsibilities in making the outputs from this research publicly available – not just to other researchers, but also to potential users in business, charitable and public sectors, and to the general public.
In June 2012 the report from the National Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings (the ‘Finch Group’) - 'Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: how to expand access to research publications' was published. The report sets out an encouraging and challenging road map to improve open access to scholarly literature and the Research Councils have used the findings of the group to further develop the policies that they have had in place since 2005.
For further information Research Councils UK Policy on Access to Research Outputs (PDF).
The Government has responded to the recommendations of the Finch Report and that response includes further clarification on the treatment of embargo periods in those cases (which will not apply to any Research Council funded research), where publicly funded research does not have access to Article Processing Charge (APC) Funds for OA publication purposes.
Open access to monographs
OAPEN-UK is a JISC Collections project focusing on open access scholarly monographs in the humanities and social sciences (HSS). The AHRC is supporting JISC Collections through funding and support specifically in relation to humanities monographs.
The aim of OAPEN-UK is to explore the role, feasibility and impacts of open access scholarly monograph publishing in the UK humanities and social science scholarly environment.
(Please note that the AHRC does not currently require scholarly monographs funded by the AHRC to be made available through open access.)