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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


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Survey on open access policies

combined logos of funders - hefce jisc rcuk wellcome

HEFCE, Jisc, the Wellcome Trust and Research Councils UK (RCUK) are working in partnership to enhance their understanding of how the higher education sector is meeting funders' open access policies.

To inform this understanding, an appropriate individual at the majority of UK higher education institutions (HEIs) have been sent a link to an online survey (16 August 2017).

The analysis of this survey will be published by Research England in spring 2018.

Survey aims

Specifically, the survey will seek to understand:

  • to what extent HEIs are meeting the funder requirements 
  • tools used by the sector
  • repository use
  • staff costs associated with open access
  • repository metadata and licences.

The survey is intended to complement, and not duplicate or replace, existing open access reporting processes. Institutions in receipt of Charity Open Access Fund or RCUK block grants will still be required to submit their annual returns.

Survey development

We commissioned Research Consulting to develop an appropriate and realistic survey.

Research Consulting worked with the project sponsors (HEFCE, Jisc, RCUK and Wellcome) to develop a pilot survey which was sent to 18 institutions. The feedback from this work informed the final survey.

What will the data be used for?

Data will be reported on the aggregate and not institutional level, ensuring anonymity of individual responses. It will not inform funding allocations by any of the partners.

The report will provide an overview of how the sector is managing the delivery of open access in relation to funder policies. This will include data pertaining to the REF open access policy.

The data will be used by each individual partner to consider policy implementation and systems development.

Data collected via this survey will not be used in the REF 2021 assessment.

An analysis of the survey will be published by Research England in spring 2018.


The following document was prepared to help institutions fill out the survey. 

Guidance for the UK-wide survey on the delivery of funders' open access policies:

Download the Guidance_document_UK-wide_survey_OA_policies as PDF (310 KB)



Page last updated 16 March 2018

For further information