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NIHR releases guidance and resources to facilitate open access policy implementation -

The National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) has published a suite of guidance and resources to support stakeholders in the implementation of the revised NIHR open access publication policy, which applies to publications submitted from June 1, 2022.

Following the announcement of the revised open access publication policy last year, the NIHR has worked with stakeholders to develop these lately published resources, which include policy and funding guidance.

Researchers and their organizations expressed concern that open access can be technically complex, and they needed further support and guidance to better understand what the NIHR policy required of them.

To address this, a step by step policy guidance and a short checklist was developed as a quick summary of how to comply with the policy. This guidance also provides information on how the CC BY-ND copyright licence exception will be managed. This guidance will be a living document with an FAQ section which will be updated from time to time based on the experience of supporting authors and their organizations.

NIHR is also working with Jisc to add the revised NIHR open access publication policy to Sherpa FACT, a journal compliance tool. Authors will be able to check which publishing routes different journals offer to comply with the NIHR open access publication policy, rather than needing to check individual journal websites. This will be available to use before the implementation of the revised policy on June 1, 2022.

During the review of the open access policy - through the survey in Autumn 2020 and subsequent engagements and workshops - researchers, research organizations, librarians, and others were requested to share their views on NIHR’s approach to funding open access costs.

Informed by these engagements, NIHR has reviewed its funding processes to support the revised open access publication policy, aiming to ensure equitable access to funds for all NIHR-funded researchers, irrespective of the employer, career stage, or study discipline. The new process will remove the need for researchers to predict open access costs upfront, and will instead allocate a funding envelope that can be drawn from during and after the award. The new process will apply to all eligible research award contracts issued across NIHR Programmes, NIHR Personal Awards, and NIHR Global Health Research Portfolio from June 1, 2022.

For NIHR Infrastructure awards that lie within the scope of the open access policy, open access costs will continue to be budgeted and earmarked by applicants at the application stage.

Where relevant and appropriate, there will also be a formal process available to all current and future NIHR awards to request additional open access funding, which will be managed by the NIHR on a case-by-case basis.

This new funding envelope allocation process will increase standardization and transparency of NIHR open access funding and will see NIHR committing over £5M per year to support the implementation of the revised NIHR open access publication policy.

NIHR is keen to continue its ongoing dialogue with the stakeholders to ensure appropriate support is provided to implement the revised open access publication policy.

Through their engagement as part of the open access policy review, it was revealed that some organizations might find it more appropriate and efficient to manage their open access funds in a centralized manner rather than on an award level. While NIHR is not currently able to pay block grants for publishing in the same way as other funders, it seeks to provide flexibility in how to fund open access costs to allow similar benefits to be realized. In the coming months, the Institute we will be holding engagement events with NIHR-funded research organizations to further explore this issue.

NIHR will also continue to work with its stakeholders and Jisc to explore opportunities for the NIHR-funded research community to access publishing transitional arrangements.

NIHR has published a report describing how public perspectives helped shape the revised policy and continue to influence wider NIHR activities that seek to improve access to research evidence.

Click here to read the original press release.

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