Westminster Higher Education Forum

We are continuing to organise full-scale virtual conferences which retain all the features of physical seminars, including full programmes, presentations with slides, panel discussions and live delegate questions and comments sessions, person-to-person and group networking, and a permanent record provided to all delegates afterwards. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time, so there are plenty of opportunities to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are.
For booking-related queries or information on speaking please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk, or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.

If you’re already booked on, joining instructions can be accessed from five working days before your conference via the booking dashboard. Need help? Contact us at delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

Next steps for Open Access


Price: £95 PLUS VAT

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***
This conference will be an opportunity to discuss open access in the context of relevant policy developments, such as the Plan S strategy for open access, which came into effect from January this year, and the anticipated UKRI Open Access Policy, as well as COVID-19 and the impact it has had on research and remote learning, with the knock-on effect for OA.

Areas for discussion include:

  • UKRI’s Open Access Policy
  • developing OA post-pandemic
  • OA in an international context

The agenda

  • UKRI’s Open Access Policy - the vision for the future
  • The way forward post-pandemic - demand for open research, research culture, and ensuring financially sustainable options for researchers, funders and HEIs
  • ‘Streamlining communication and the neutral exchange of OA-related publication level information - collaborative infrastructure to make the ecosystem work better for everyone’
  • The transition to open access - read-and-publish deals, licensing open access books, and the future of digital and remote scholarship
  • Prestige indicators and OA - researcher valuation, research impact, value for money and ensuring an equitable system
  • Regional imbalances in access to open access and the impact of UK policy
  • The way forward for open science
  • Harnessing open science to address global issues

Key areas for discussion:
the UKRI Open Access policy
- examining the final version following its expected publication, with UKRI currently in the final stages of its Review:

  • prospects - what is needed for the Review to meet its intended aim for a single Open Access Policy to apply across UKRI with:
    • clear and consistent policies that are easy to follow
    • the outputs of research funded by UKRI being made more accessible
    • the provision of sustainable support for OA, and better value for money from public investment in research
  • the REF-after-REF 2021 - priorities for OA policy continuity, with further consultation due to be announced in 2021

OA post-pandemic:

  • culture shift - assessing the impact of COVID-19 in the area of open research, with the response to the disease having catalysed an increase in international research collaboration:
    • recent experiences of increased use of OA practices, such as preprints and data-sharing, and implications for future scholarship and research collaboration
    • the possible impact on research culture and the way research is incentivised
  • financial support and sustainability - the impact and effectiveness of UK and other national support policies, as well as initiatives on the capacity for researchers, HEIs and funders to invest in OA, including:
    • ways to incentivise the adoption of OA without overly burdening researchers and institutions
    • the impact of the pandemic:
      • on funding - policy priorities and strategies for ensuring sustainable funding models for open access that take into account the financial landscape of the post-pandemic economy
      • on affordability - ensuring institutions and researchers hit hardest by the pandemic are not hindered in making the transition to OA, and considerations on value for money
  • supporting post-pandemic recovery - how OA practices can help to streamline the UK R&D system and support economic recovery

the OA ecosystem, publishing agreements, and digital scholarship - looking at the wider transition to OA in the context of the pandemic, including:

  • different routes for the OA transition - looking at the current state of play, with options such as read-and-publish deals, and reducing barriers to OA publication
  • streamlining communications and improving cost efficiency - improving connections between different stakeholders, and looking at the role of shared infrastructure and transparent data sharing in developing OA
  • remote learning - the implications of its increase, as well as the greater use of e-books, and looking at challenges surrounding regulating licensing prices, and the possible impact on open access book publishing

prestige indicators and OA publishing:

  • disparities in APC pricing between journals - the role of impact evaluations, and the implications for academic inequality and knowledge transfer
  • possible solutions - such as introducing caps on amounts funders will pay for OA publication in a journal
  • academic inequality and regional imbalances in access to OA:
    • options for policy emerging from the FDCO study relating to the affordability of publication for LMIC-based researchers, and the development of publishing platforms that optimally fit regional needs
    • speaking contribution: Jonathan Harle, Director of Programmes, INASP, co-author of the FDCO-commissioned report on:
      • OA and tackling academic inequality and regional imbalances
      • how this can be taken into account in UK approaches to OA policy

open science:

  • research outputs - improving their availability while reducing barriers to access
  • tackling issues at a global level - how open science can be harnessed, and emerging best practice in enhancing impact
  • future key focus areas - along with policy and funding priorities required to support and develop open science on a global level

development of OA internationally following the Plan S agreement:

  • the UK’s role - how the UK can best contribute, now and into the future, and the opportunities for supporting UK positioning in the international research community going forward
  • opportunities for OA as an avenue for linking the UK R&D system - with cooperation in research on global issues, and international research partnerships in areas such as climate change, COVID-19, and social recovery following the pandemic

A scan of relevant developments:

  • UKRI’s new Open Access policy - expected to be confirmed in the second quarter of 2021 and currently being reviewed following consultation, including as core elements:
    • in-scope research articles accepted for publication on or after 1st January 2022 to be made accessible upon publication immediately and free of charge, without an embargo and under licence
    • monographs, book chapters and edited collections published on or after 1st January 2024 with UKRI funding be made OA 
  • the UK Research and Development Roadmap - outlining the Government’s plans for R&D moving forward, and encouraging open research practices
    • R&D Roadmap survey - with responses highlighting the importance of regional, national, and international collaboration, as well as sustainable funding, open access policies, and improved data sharing
  • Plan S - with the strategy on open access having come into effect from January 2021, and published results from research funded by public or private grants provided by national, regional and international research councils and funding bodies becoming open access
  • Open Research Europe - the recently launched EU open access platform that will publish articles resulting from Horizon 2020 funded research, irrespective of subject area or impact, under a CC-BY license allowing for copying, distribution and commercial use of the original material
  • Global Approach to Research and Innovation - the recently adopted European commission communication on global research, confirming a commitment to an open by default research environment based on the principles of reciprocity and international cooperation, as well as warning against foreign interference in EU research
  • Joint call for Open Access -  the jointly issued statement from CESAER, EUA, and Science Europe, calling for publishers to allow researchers to share their findings in Open Access formats without restriction, replace models that rely on barriers, and move towards fairer, open, and transparent practices, in line with cOAlition S
  • the Open Access Switchboard - a recently-launched international independent body aiming to work with funders, institutions and publishers to simplify and streamline the transition towards OA
  • Reducing bureaucratic burden in research, innovation and higher education - the Government’s policy initiative, citing embracing the potential of open research practices as crucial
  • Government to protect UK research jobs with major support package - announcing funding to help sustain research and R&D activities through financial pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Open Access: challenges and opportunities for Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) and the potential impact of UK policy - commissioned by the FCDO alongside NIHR and UKRI
  • the UK International Research and Innovation Strategy - which supports the development of open science and reaching an international consensus
  • Open Access Economic Impact Assessment - the recent report, commissioned by the Publishers Association, finding that the proposed UKRI open access policy would cost UK-based journals £292m a year, with UK research as a whole possibly becoming less impactful, and the proposed changes primarily benefiting foreign entities, both financially and in terms of global position and reputation
  • Opening the record of science: making scholarly publishing work for science in the digital era - the recent ISC report on open access research:
    • finding that the main barriers to open access include bibliometric and impact assessment, the practice of copyrighting publicly-funded research, and excessive prices charged by journals
    • recommending changes in market structures, so as to break down monopolies and encourage publishers to compete for authors, empowering researchers and challenging the idea of the journal
  • Publish and Read Pilot - the recently announced BMJ-Jisc 12 month collaboration, where Jisc members will be granted full access to the BMJ’s collection, and researchers will be allowed to publish articles on an open access basis
  • Taylor & Francis Group and Jisc agree transformational deal for UK research - the parties’ announcement of an agreement providing Jisc members with open access reading allowances and an open access publishing platform at no cost to authors

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Commons Library and officials from BEIS; British Embassy Hanoi; the Cabinet Office; DAERA, NI; Defra; the Department of Health and Social Care; the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office; the Government Office for Science; HM Treasury; the Intellectual Property Office; The Scottish Government and the Welsh Government.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, as well as from DfE and other Government departments and agencies, together with senior representatives from universities and industry; academics and other higher education professionals; businesses and their advisors; research bodies, councils and funders; publishers; local authorities; think tanks and research institutes; learned societies; interest groups and the voluntary sector, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Shortly after every Westminster Higher Education Forum seminar, a briefing document is produced. This is distributed to all delegates on the day as well as to our policymaker contacts in government, and to stakeholders more widely.

A seminar publication provides a timely record of proceedings, and acts as a guide to the latest thinking on current policy issues for those unable to be at the event.

This publication includes


Contributions from keynotes and panellists, including accompanying slides*
*Subject to approval

Delegate Pack

Information from the day, including delegate list, biographies and agenda


Transcript of questions and comments posed to speakers from attending delegates


Supplementary articles from speakers
and delegates