It is our well-established policy that outputs from all research supported though HEFCE funding should be as widely and freely accessible as the available channels for dissemination permit. This reflects our view that the prompt and widespread dissemination of research findings is integral to the research process, and will in turn benefit both the efficiency of that process and economic growth driven by publicly funded research, as well as increasing public understanding of research. We recognise the key role that the continuing development of information and communications technology (ICT) is playing in this process, as well as in making possible new and innovative approaches to sharing both research findings and data.
HEFCE therefore welcomes the Secretary of State’s response to the report of the working group on expanding access1, which establishes a clear policy direction for the dissemination of publicly funded research findings. We will continue to press forward with our work in this area within the framework set out in the response.
As a first step, we would like to make clear that institutions can use the funds provided through our research grant to contribute towards the costs of more accessible forms of publication, alongside funding from other sources.
In the coming months, the four UK HE funding bodies will develop proposals for implementing a requirement that research outputs submitted to a REF or similar exercise after 2014 shall be as widely accessible as may be reasonably achievable at the time. We will consult all our partners in research funding, and a wide range of other interested bodies, before finalising our plans.
1. The working group’s report is available on the Research Information Network web-site.