Ideally, a research paper should become Open Access as soon as it is published online.
However, RCUK recognises that, in the Green model of open access, embargo periods are currently used by some journals with business models that depend on generating revenue through journal subscriptions. Therefore, where a journal does not offer an immediate Open Access option, RCUK will accept a delay between online publication and a paper becoming Open Access of no more than six months, in STEM disciplines.
The choice of route to Open Access remains with the researchers and their research organisations and, where funding for APCs is unavailable during the transition period, longer embargo periods will be allowable. In such a case we would expect the paper to be published in a journal with maximum embargos of 12 months, for STEM disciplines. This is consistent with the Government’s response to the Finch report.