Exemptions to the UKRI long-form publications policy

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) recognises there may be rare instances where meeting open access requirements for long-form outputs may not be possible. You may be eligible for one of these exemptions if:

As open access is a requirement for monographs, edited collections and book chapters that acknowledge UKRI funding, you are required to explore all options to publish open access, prior to using an exemption.

Guidance for authors on using policy exemptions

For an exemption to be valid, UKRI require that authors discuss the case for the exemption and any potential alternatives with their Library/Research Office. Therefore, before publishing under an exemption authors must apply for a review by completing a UKRI monographs exemption request form. Library Services will use the information on the form to support authors in exploring alternatives and will make recommendations to the University OA Monograph Oversight Group. The group will make a final decision regarding use of the exemption.

Applying for an exemption where the only appropriate publisher for the publication, after liaison and consideration, is unable to offer open access option

You should take into account UKRI’s open access requirement when identifying potential publishers.

Before publishing under this exemption, UKRI funded authors must apply for a review by completing UKRI monographs exemption request form

You should only consider applying for this exemption if both of the following apply:

  • Your preferred publisher has no open access programme or capability. This includes no self-archiving policy for monographs, book chapters, or edited collections, and self-archiving of either the Version of Record or the Author’s Accepted Manuscript is not possible.
  • You have determined there is no appropriate alternative publisher, after considering your publishing options and consulting with Library Services..

In rare cases a publisher may be the only appropriate publisher for an output. This may be where a publisher is the only one:

  • With the editorial expertise, appropriate peer review and disciplinary expertise in your field.
  • With the distribution channels to reach the target academic audience for the output. This consideration should be balanced by the fact that if the digital version of your publication is open access it will be available globally.
  • Who is the publishing partner, sponsor, or host of a conference and the output is a planned outcome of that conference.
  • Able to publish your output where it is written in a language other than English, and no appropriate publisher with an open access programme is available.

Where there is no alternative, and the above scenarios apply, authors should liaise with the publisher to seek an open access option before relying on the exemption. You should discuss whether they will offer by exception, the option to make your publication open access in line with UKRI’s requirements. This could include allowing you to deposit the final Version of Record, or an agreed version of your accepted manuscript in an institutional or subject repository within 12 months of publication.

Whether applying this exemption or not, you should make your publisher aware of UKRI’s open access requirement at the earliest opportunity. We recommend you do this when you submit your proposal to the publisher, and prior to entering into any contractual agreement.

If contributing a book chapter, we recommend you inform the editor of the collection and the publisher at the start of the collaboration discussions and before entering into any contractual agreement for the publication.

Library Services can also offer guidance and advice on making your publication open access.

Applying for an exemption where reuse permissions for third-party materials cannot be obtained and there is no suitable alternative option available to enable open access publication

Wherever possible authors should publish open access. This includes where some third-party material is not available in the open access version. There are mechanisms that allow the inclusion of third-party material in open access publications.

The exemption must only be used where exclusion of third-party material severely compromises the presentation of the arguments or discussions in your publication.

Before publishing under this exemption, UKRI funded authors must apply for a review by completing UKRI monographs exemption request form.

In considering whether you need to apply an exemption, you should also refer to the UKRI guidance on good practice including third-party materials in your publication.

As noted in the UKRI open access policy, third-party material is not required to be included under a Creative Commons, or other open licence. It should be included within your publication subject to the licence or terms under which its use was permitted by the rightsholder, for example on an ‘all rights reserved’ basis.

You need to manage third-party copyright regardless of whether you are publishing open access, however the digital format and open availability can, in some cases, introduce a wider set of considerations.

The exemption is available where, after due consideration, the exclusion of third-party material in the body of your publication means that the remaining content would not make sense to the reader. This may be because:

  • A large amount of material needs to be redacted and this impacts significantly on the meaning of the publication.
  • One or a small number of third-party materials that are crucial to the arguments or discussions in your publication need to be redacted.
  • The author(s) of one book chapter in an edited collection cannot obtain reuse permissions for third-party material, where such permission is required, and exclusion of that chapter in the open access version impacts significantly on the meaning of the publication whole collection.
  • You cannot obtain rights to include third-party material in the Author’s Accepted Manuscript of your publication and this is the only version you can make open access and exclusion of the third-party material in the open access version impacts significantly on the meaning of the publication.

You should only use this exemption after due consideration has been given to the below:

  • You have considered legal mechanisms that can enable inclusion of that third-party material in your publication and have concluded that none are available. These mechanisms include:
    • Obtaining permission from the copyright owner of the material. Your publication may be exempt from UKRI’s open access requirement if the rightsholder has granted permission subject to terms that are incompatible with a digital open access version, for example limits on the number of permitted downloads or extra technical protections that the publisher cannot provide. You should consider alternative options outlined under the final main bullet below before relying on an exemption.
    • Including a proportion of the material that is not a substantial part of the source work. UKRI will provide additional guidance on this later in 2023.
    • Where material has been made available under an open licence, acting within the terms of that open licence.
    • Relying on a copyright exception, such as quotation, criticism and review, which may require fair dealing. See exceptions to copyright (GOV.UK). Permissions are not needed for materials that are in the public domain where copyright has expired. See further UKRI information on managing third-party materials and copyright.
  • You have completed a risk assessment, as appropriate, that concludes that the third-party materials cannot be included. Whether a risk assessment is needed depends on the third-party materials you include in your publication. You should work with your publisher to understand their approach to risk management and copyright management for the inclusion of third-party material in your publication. You should consult your research office, library or equivalent during your risk assessment as your organisation may have advice or guidance. This could include liaising with legal departments, as appropriate.
    • If you are including third-party material based on the conclusion of a risk assessment, the risk assessment will not affect your liability for infringement action by a rightsholder, should they choose to take action.
  • You have considered alternative options for publishing your output open access and none of these are suitable, because exclusion of the third-party material in the body of your publication impacts significantly on the meaning of the publication as the remaining content would not make sense to the reader. Alternative options include:
    • Replacing the third-party material with other suitable material that does not present copyright issues.
    • Removing the third-party material altogether from your publication.
    • Providing a link to an online copy of the third-party material. Linking may sometimes require permission.
    • Tombstoning the third-party material for the open access version and providing a citation for the material, as appropriate. The content can be included in the version for which the rightsholder has granted permission, for example the print version. Where appropriate, you can signpost to the version of your publication for which the rightsholder has granted permission in the open access version.

The Library Services Copyright and Licensing team can provide advice on the inclusion of 3rd party copyright material.

Further information

Library Services copyright guidance and contacts

UKRI open access policy for long-form publications


Professional Services