Open Access to research is a public benefit which enhances transparency, scientific integrity and rigour, stimulates innovation, promotes public engagement, and improves efficiency in research. The UK is widely recognised as being the leading nation in the Open Access and Open Data movements. This is both underpinned by, and underpins, the UK’s position as second only to the USA as a leading research power.
There are competing financial interests between the parties involved in the funding and publication of scientific and scholarly work. In this context, it is particularly notable that the transition to Open Access in the UK is being achieved with relatively little public discord.
In order to continue to make progress in the transition to Open Access, and to maintain the UK’s leadership, no major changes to the UK’s approach are recommended. However, some minor changes will be helpful. These are summarised in section 2.
Open Access to research data has developed more slowly than for research publications. The Concordat on Open Research Data will be finalised in early 2016, and while there are major scientific and public good advantages in pursuing open research data, the cost implications are not yet fully understood. In pursuing open research data, the interests of commercial firms who co-fund research in UK universities and the need for the UK to exploit intellectual property funded by the taxpayer needs to be appreciated.