The UK’s Research Councils (RCUK), who spend about 3 billion Euro per year for research funding, have proposed a revised policy on Open Access which further clarifies their definition of Open Access and strengthens some of the criteria that must be satisfied.
In particular, the policy permits an embargo of not longer than 12 months in Arts and Humanities or Social Sciences (incl. Economics) and 6 months in all other disciplines, until peer reviewed research papers must be made freely available. This means for example, that researchers in Economics, who are funded by the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council), are required to publish their research results in an Open Access version no longer than 1 year after the original publication.
The new policy of the RCUK also mentions author fees for publishing directly in Open Access Journals:
Where publishing costs are incurred during the lifetime of the grant, Directly Incurred
costs may be used to fund this expenditure. Researchers are recommended, where
applicable, to request funding to cover such costs in their grant applications.
Where publishing costs are incurred after the lifetime of the grant, Indirect Costs may
be used to fund this expenditure. Research Organisations should ensure that these
publishing costs are fully incorporated into their costing models.
Where Research Council funds are used to pay Open Access fees for a paper, the
paper must be made Open Access immediately at the time of on-line publication,
notwithstanding that this may take place before the date of publication of the same
paper in a print/hard copy edition.