This summer, Research Councils UK finalized a policy that requires all government-funded researchers and their collaborators to make research findings open access, and last week, the UK government earmarked £10 million (about USD $16 million) to meet that goal. Those funds will go towards paying the sometimes-pricey author fees of open-access journals and to help 30 UK universities develop open-access policies.
UK Universities and Science Minister David Willets announced the investment last Friday (September 7) at the British Science Festival in Aberdeen, Scotland. "Removing paywalls surrounding publicly funded research findings is a key commitment for this government and will have real economic and social benefits," he said. "This extra £10 million investment will help some of our universities move across to the open-access model. This will usher in a new era of academic discovery and keep the UK at the forefront of research to drive innovation and growth."
Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society, applauded the government's decision to fund its open-access initiative. "The move towards making research results as widely available as possible is the right thing to do but it will take time," he said in a statement. "It will be important that during the transition years funds are not drained from actual research, and this £10 million is a step in the right direction."
But the investment is only likely to cover a fraction of the cost of converting to an open-access model. According to a UK government-sanctioned report released this June, publication charges and other costs could add up to $80 million per year.
(Hat tip to ScienceInsider.)