Open Access

Woman working in a library with a laptop and surrounded by books on various subjects
The British Academy’s work on open access aims to present the perspective from the SHAPE disciplines in policy and other developments in this area; both in the UK and internationally.
Policy, Publishing
Programme status

In the last decade, open access has become an increasingly important feature of academic dissemination, its evolution associated with developments both technical and in terms of funder policy.

The British Academy supports the principle of open access, recognising the valuable role it can play in broadening the readership of academic publications – so long as the delivery of open access is sustainable for the long term and does not jeopardise the academic dissemination ecosystem.

In respect of open access, the British Academy has roles as a funder of research, as a publisher, and as a policy voice for the SHAPE disciplines across higher education and research.

The British Academy as funder

The British Academy has a range of schemes for supporting research in the SHAPE disciplines.

As a funder, the Academy does not currently stipulate that the outputs of the research that we fund be disseminated as open access. Across our funding schemes, open access fees – such as Article Processing Charges (APCs) and Book Processing Charges (BPCs) – cannot currently be included in the funding application as an eligible expense.

The British Academy as publisher

The British Academy publishes the following as immediate open access, funded through the Academy’s own resources (ie Diamond Open Access):

The Proceedings of the British Academy series adopts a Green open access model, with authors allowed to make available the ‘author accepted manuscript’ version of their chapters after a 12 months embargo. The version of record of whole volumes/individual chapters can be made available OA immediately if volume editors/authors are able to source open access fees.

The British Academy is also committed to enabling various parts of its older published content to be made freely available.

The British Academy as policy voice

The British Academy continues to contribute to debates on open access on behalf of the disciplines it represents. It is regularly consulted by funding and policy-making bodies, but also plays a convening role to promote dialogue on the issues across sectors and stakeholders.

Outputs include responses to consultations on developments in open access policy both in the UK and internationally, as well as articles and explainers reflecting on the challenges of open access publication for the humanities and social sciences.

The British Academy responds to the Research Excellence Framework 2029 Open Access Consultation

The British Academy has responded to the Research Excellence Framework 2029 Open Access Consultation. The response is accompanied by a letter from the Academy's President to the four higher education funding bodies.


Open Access and Book Chapters

This report defines what is meant by ‘book chapter’, examines the book chapter’s role within the research and publication profiles of different academic disciplines, and includes a quantitative analysis drawing on data about projects funded by UKRI Research Councils and on returns to REF 2014.

A commentary by the British Academy on cOAlition S’s final version of Plan S

At the end of May 2019, cOAlition S issued a second, final version of Plan S. We earlier commented on the first version of Plan S; here we assess its successor, finding that many of our initial criticisms remain.

Science Europe’s Plan S: making it work for all researchers

This document comments on some of the principles of Plan S, and identifies some ambiguities and other problems. With these resolved, the paper says, Plan S will have a greater chance of working satisfactorily.

Open access and monographs: Where are we now?

The issues which the Academy believes need to be considered regarding monographs – particularly those concerning money, exceptions, timing, and transparency – are laid out in the following paper.

Open Access Journals in Humanities and Social Science

The British Academy presents a report investigating some of the issues involved in open access publishing, which seeks to examine various practical issues and difficulties that may arise, using the example of twelve disciplines across the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS).

Debating Open Access

A collection of eight articles by leading academics and publishers reflecting on the challenges of open access publication for the humanities and social sciences.

Open Access Advisory Group

The Open Access Advisory Group provides advice and strategic oversight of the Academy’s policies, procedures and positions on the issue of open access. It ensures that the overall position of the Academy is outward facing and coordinated across policy, publishing and funder issues, and championing ways to make open access work for the SHAPE disciplines by providing sector leadership. The group is chaired by the Vice-President (Publishing and Conferences), Professor Lindsay Farmer FBA and includes both Fellows and external stakeholders amongst its members.

The secretary for this group is Dr Joanna Thornborough, Senior Policy Advisor (HE & Research Policy), at the British Academy.


Professor Lindsay Farmer FBA (Chair), Vice-President, Publishing and Conferences

Professor Margot Finn FBA, University College London

Richard Fisher, Former Managing Director, Cambridge University Press and VP of the Royal Historical Society

Professor Simon Green, Aston University

Professor Jane Ohlmeyer FBA, Trinity College Dublin

Dr Catherine Souch, Head of Research and Higher Education, Royal Geographical Society

Professor Chris Wickham FBA, University of Oxford

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