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Hybrid Open Access statement

Gold Open Access funding is no longer available for subscription-based journals outside of transformative agreements

The University no longer supports Open Access (OA) payments for articles in subscription journals (known as ‘hybrid OA’) which have not demonstrated a plan for moving to a fully OA model.

The change applies to ‘hybrid’ journals only. It will not affect researchers' ability to submit to their chosen journal because: 

  • Currently, almost all subscription-based publishers allow compliance with funder policies through deposit of the peer-reviewed article to Pure following an embargo period of between 6-24 months (known as Green OA). The Library's Open Access Gateway service makes this process simple for authors. 
  • The Library’s Open Access Gateway processes involve checking journal embargoes. If an unacceptably long embargo period is identified during the current UKRI block grant year, the team will liaise with the author to arrange Gold (immediate) OA as an exception, ensuring compliance with the funder’s OA policy. 
  • Payments related to publication in fully OA (Pure Gold) journals are unaffected and will continue to be paid from the UKRI block grant.

Why has this change been introduced? 

This change is needed to ease demand on this year's UKRI and Institutional OA budgets, ensuring funds are available to pay for publications in fully OA journals. It will also enable the University to continue to support more innovative OA business models. 

This change is consistent with a sector-wide shift away from the subscription journal business model as funders and universities put pressure on publishers to stop restricting access to articles by placing them behind expensive paywalls. It is also consistent with Plan S, a coalition of funders launched in 2018 with the aim of accelerating the transition to OA. As a Plan S signatory, UKRI has confirmed that from April 2022 they will no longer fund publication charges in hybrid journals unless covered by a transitional agreement agreed with Jisc. The Library will provide more information on changes to UKRI’s OA policy over the coming months. 

In response the Library is signing transitional deals with publishers that are designed to shift spending from subscriptions to OA. These deals allow full read access whilst allowing Manchester authors to publish OA at no extra cost. More information on the current deals is available on the following webpage: 

There is also a need to drive down costs to sustainable levels. The costs associated with enabling University staff and students to read subscription journals remain fixed. At the same time our OA publishing costs are increasing as Plan S continues to rapidly expand the University's OA publishing output.

All large research-intensive universities are seeing increasing OA publishing costs and many, including Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial and UCL, have already taken the step to end support for hybrid OA costs from their UKRI block grant where a compliant Green OA option is available. 

Therefore the University's Research Strategy Group, on the recommendation of the Open Research Strategy Group, decided to stop financially supporting OA in subscription journals that are not moving to a fully OA model.

Further support 

Please contact us if you have questions or comments: