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AbstractThis article surveys the debates over UK public policy for open access (OA) since 2012 from the perspective of scholars in the humanities. It isolates points in Research Council and REF policy that have come under criticism from the humanities community for their basis in science practice, and assesses the progress that has been made in addressing these concerns. Issues considered include ‘gold’ and ‘green’ models of OA, the role of university managers in determining where and what academics can publish, embargo periods and licensing. The author is President of the Royal Historical Society.