UKRI’s open access policy is aligned with the principles of Plan S. It applies to all journal articles that report original, peer-reviewed research, and acknowledge funding from UKRI: Research Councils - AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, Innovate UK, MRC, NERC, STFC. It also applies to peer-reviewed conference papers (published in a journal, or proceedings with an ISSN number) and review articles acknowledging UKRI funding.
Check before you submit! UKRI funded authors should establish if their chosen journal is compliant before submission and before applying for funding. Please use our journal compliance form to enquire about specific journals and whether they offer a UKRI-compliant route.
- step-by-step flowchart
- downloadable quick guide to the UKRI Open Access policy - April 2022.
The new UKRI open access policy commenced on 1 April 2022. The policy applies to:
All peer reviewed research articles including reviews and conference papers published in proceedings with an ISSN, which acknowledge funding from: one of the UK Research Councils (UKRI): AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, STFC, or Innovate UK or Research England must be made open access by the official date of online publication, and be published with the CC-BY licence unless the authors have obtained agreement from UKRI as an exception to allow publication under CC-BY-ND.
You can be compliant with the policy by publishing in:
The text that you have included in your funding acknowledgements section will allow you to deposit your accepted manuscript into a repository and make it immediately open access with no embargo and with an appropriate licence. However, it is important that you do not then sign a contract with the publisher that conflicts with these terms (eg agreeing to an embargo, or a more restrictive license), as you may then be in breach of publisher terms and conditions when you deposit. If you receive such a contract from a publisher, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org for advice.
Biomedical research articles that acknowledge MRC or BBSRC funding must also be made available in Europe PubMed Central. Authors who upload their accepted manuscripts to Pure should also upload them to Europe PubMed Central, using Europe PMC Plus.
Open access funding:
Please see our 'Paying for open access' page for details of our UKRI open access block grant and how to apply for funding.
Please note that gold open access in subscription journals (hybrid open access) cannot not be funded from the block grant unless the journal is included in one of our open access transformative agreements or is recognised by JISC as a 'transformative journal'.
The policy requires all UKRI funded research outputs to be open access with a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence. However, there is a case-by-case exception for research articles where a Creative Commons No Derivatives (CC BY-ND) licence may be allowed.
Authors or research organisations must apply to UKRI for an exception prior to submission, using the form provided (see link below), including your reasons for applying for the exception.
The decision on whether to grant an exception will be dependent on the reasons articulated to UKRI within the context of research and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Further details of the process are available.
Data access statement:
All in-scope articles must include a Data Access Statement, even when there are no data associated with the article or the data are inaccessible; see Annex 1 of UKRI policy.
Preprints are not within scope of the new UKRI open access policy; however UKRI encourages the use of preprints across all research disciplines that they support and may ensure the use of preprints in the context of emergencies. Also see the MRC policy on preprints and the BBSRC policy on preprints.
This policy applies to in-scope outputs as defined in Annex 1 of UKRI policy that are required to acknowledge funding from UKRI or its constituent councils and are published on or after 1st January 2024.
Open access requirements:
The Version of Record (publisher version) or Author's Accepted Manuscript must be free to view and download from an online publication platform, publishers website or institutional or subject repository within 12 months of publication.
Maximum embargo: 12 months.
Open access licence:
Open access versions must be published with a Creative Commons (CC) licence. CC BY is preferred but other Creative Commons licences are permitted. An Open Government Licence (OGL) can be used when a research article is subject to Crown Copyright.
UKRI’s licensing requirements do not apply to any materials included within a long-form output that are provided by third-party copyright holders. Academic books published under a CC licence may include third-party materials that are subject to a more restrictive licence, UKRI considers this approach compliant with its policy. An exception will be available if re-use permissions for third-party materials cannot be obtained and there is no suitable alternative option to enable open access publication. UKRI will publish more details on their website in due course.
Open access funding:
Funding will be available from a centralised fund held by UKRI that organisations will apply for. Stage 1 applications to this fund will be possible from the end of November. The full terms and conditions for funding of monographs will be made available later in 2024. From 1 November 2023, publication costs for monographs, book chapters and edited collections can no longer be included in research grant applications
Exemptions from the policy requirements:
Exemptions may apply where a) you have signed a contract with a publisher before 1 January 2024, which doesn’t enable open access in compliance with UKRI’s policy, b) the only appropriate publisher, after liaison and consideration, is unable to offer an open access option that complies with UKRI’s policy and c) where a monograph, book chapter or edited collection is the outcome of a UKRI Training Grant. UKRI will publish more details about exemptions on their website in due course.
For more details: UKRI open access policy
Researchers are required to openly publish any peer-reviewed research papers which acknowledge Research Council funding. The Research Councils' open access policy supports both the paid and self-archiving routes to open access.
Papers submitted prior to 1 April 2022 and funded wholly by Innovate UK do not fall under the Research Councils' open access policy.
If you are funded by Wellcome Trust, the British Heart Foundation, Bloodwise, Versus Arthritis, Cancer Research UK, or Parkinson's UK you will need to arrange for any published research which acknowledges their support to be made openly available.
The Wellcome Trust's open access policy is aligned with Plan S. It requires the final peer reviewed version (accepted manuscript or version of record) of original research articles to be made available immediately on publication through Europe PubMed Central with a CC-BY licence (unless Wellcome have agreed, as an exception, to allow publication under a CC BY-ND licence).
Wellcome's open access policy changed on 1 January 2021 to fully align with Plan S. The Trust produced a set of FAQs to help clarify the changes.
The ERC supports open access and promotes the basic principle of open access to research data.
Please visit their open access page for an overview of the requirements that apply to ERC grants. Depending on the type of grant and under what work programme it was awarded, different rules relating to open access and research data apply.
The European Commission requires that grant-holders for Horizon Europe projects must ensure open access to peer-reviewed scientific publications relating to their results.
In particular, they must ensure that:
- at the latest at the time of publication, a machine-readable electronic copy of the published version or the final peer-reviewed manuscript accepted for publication, is deposited in a trusted repository for scientific publications - such as Pure
- immediate open access is provided to the deposited publication via the repository, under the latest available version of the Creative Commons Attribution International Public Licence (CC BY) or a licence with equivalent rights; for monographs and other long-text formats, the licence may exclude commercial uses and derivative works (eg CC BY-NC, CC BY-ND)
- information is given via the repository about any research output or any other tools and instruments needed to validate the conclusions of the scientific publication.
- beneficiaries (or authors) must retain sufficient intellectual property rights to comply with the open access requirements.
Only publication fees in fully open access venues for peer-reviewed scientific publications are eligible for reimbursement.
Horizon 2020 grant holders are expected to make all peer-reviewed publications relating to their funding openly available:
If you were awarded a FP7 grant then it is expected that you should upload the AAM to an online repository like Pure. Authors are expected to make their best effort to ensure open access to these articles within 6 months (for health, energy, environment, information and communication technologies, research infrastructures papers) or 12 months (for science in society, socioeconomic sciences and humanities papers) after publication.
Paying to make your paper open is acceptable. Funding for these costs was available via the FP7 post-grant open access pilot until February 2018.
Researchers funded by NIH are required to submit their author accepted manuscript (AAM) to the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS) immediately upon acceptance for publication. If your publisher does not automatically deposit the final published version in PubMed Central, then you must ensure this happens no later than 12 months after the official date of publication.
Please see our funding pages for more information about paying open access charges if you are funded by the NIH.
CRUK's open access policy applies to all CRUK-funded researchers, host Institutions and funded collaborators in relation to original, primary research publications that are accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. This applies to publications that have been supported, in whole or in part, by CRUK.
The policy does not apply to book chapters, monographs, editorials, reviews or conference proceedings.
CRUK requires immediate open access upon publication for CRUK-funded articles accepted for final publication on or after 1 January 2022. Immediate open access can be achieved either by publishing gold open access in fully open access, hybrid, or transformative journals (those that have committed to transition to fully open access) or green open access (self-deposit of the article in EuropePMC). Researchers must ensure their articles are available in EuropePMC immediately on publication. Details:
An electronic copy of the final paper must be made freely available in Europe PubMed Central(link is external) at the time of final publication.
The open access version of your research paper must be published with a CC-BY 4.0 licence.
You must acknowledge Cancer Research UK funding in the funding acknowledgement section of the paper, using your grant reference number.
CRUK-funded researchers are strongly encouraged to:
Researchers must make sure that the article, after peer review, complies with our Policy as outlined here.
Funding for Open Access publishing
CRUK will continue to provide funding to cover fair and reasonable open access publishing costs, including in hybrid journals where the article is made immediately available on publication. They will also continue to provide funds for and encourage institutional transformative deals with publishers. Researchers can meet the costs for Article Processing Charges (APCs) in the following ways:
Researchers based at CRUK Institutes, including the Francis Crick Institute - funds for APCs for researchers based at CRUK Institutes, including the Francis Crick Institute, should be charged to the Institute's core award.
CRUK researchers who are not based at a CRUK Institute may:
As per CRUK's grant conditions, researchers must:
Marie Curie is committed to ensuring that the results of its research funding are available as freely and widely as possible and has made this a condition of its funding arrangements. This applies to researchers at Marie Curie’s Research Centres and Hospices, and those funded through Marie Curie’s open and competitive grant funding streams. Electronic copies of publications (peer-reviewed, original research reports and systematic reviews that have been supported wholly or partly by Marie Curie) should be made available through Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC) as soon as possible and in any event within 6 months of the date of publication. The policy does not apply to book chapters, editorials, opinion pieces or conference proceedings. Authors must ensure that funding from Marie Curie and any co-funders is acknowledged and the grant reference number is included.
Many journals will deposit the final published version of the article on behalf of the authors directly into Europe PMC, to be made freely available immediately on publication (gold open access). Journals charge an article processing charge (APC) for this option and Marie Curie we will consider payment of the fee. Alternatively, the journal (or the author) may deposit the final, peer-reviewed manuscript in Europe PMC to be made freely available after an embargo period (green open access). Usually no fee is charged for this service. Marie Curie expects publishing costs to be budgeted for within a grant application, or unspent grant funds may be vired to cover open access costs from grants that are still active. Open access publication fees can still be requested after the grant end date.
Authors should contact Marie Curie at the time of acceptance to a journal to request the funding. You need to submit a draft copy of the paper containing details of author(s), title, abstract, acknowledgement and full text, if possible. If approved, Marie Curie asks that the institution pays the APC in the first instance, and then invoices Marie Curie. The invoice will be processed when the Marie Curie Research Management Team verifies that the article has been made fully open access. Contact for queries: email@example.com
Please see our funding pages for more information about paying open access charges if you are funded by Marie Curie
New open access policy has been announced to commence on 1 June 2022 - see below for details.
Papers funded in whole or in part by the NIHR must meet the NIHR’s open access requirements.
The NIHR open access policy applies to peer-reviewed research articles, including review articles not commissioned by publishers, final reports and executive summaries. It does not apply to editorials, letters, commissioned reviews, scholarly monographs, conference proceedings or book chapters.
NIHR-funded researchers must publish their main study findings in a peer-reviewed, fully open access journal under the Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY).
This has been interpreted by some NIHR research centres to mean that the ‘one main research article’ per NIHR grant should be made gold OA with a CC-BY licence. However, this has not been made explicit in the NIHR’s guidance so researchers are encouraged to seek guidance from the funder.
In addition, a copy of the final manuscript of any research papers supported in whole or in part by the NIHR should be deposited with Europe PMC upon acceptance for publication, to be made freely available as soon as possible and in any event within six months of the journal publisher’s official date of final publication.
There are two routes to complying with the policy:
Green open access: With the exception of your main study findings, if you are publishing in a subscription journal, provided that the journal's embargo on green open access is no longer than 6 months you can comply by uploading your final accepted manuscript to Europe PubMed Central, using Europe PMC plus. Papers should also be uploaded to Pure.
Gold open access If you are publishing in a subscription journal with a gold open access option (known as a hybrid journal), or you are publishing in a fully open access journal, you can comply through gold open access with a CC-BY licence.
Open access funding: NIHR expects grant-holders to make provision for the cost of open access publishing in their grant applications, and if necessary, use any underspend on existing grants. If necessary, researchers may need to contact the awarding NIHR coordinating centre to discuss covering open access costs.
We can only pay open access charges for peer-reviewed research articles and uncommissioned reviews funded by NIHR where:
NIHR Researchers should note that there is no cost for publishing in one of the NIHR fully open access journals.
NIHR will be implementing a new Plan S-aligned open access policy from 1 June 2022
The policy applies to peer-reviewed research articles, including reviews not commissioned by publishers, and conference papers describing NIHR funded research findings, submitted for publication on or after 1 June 2022 which acknowledge funding from NIHR Programmes, NIHR Personal Awards or NIHR Global Health Research Portfolio: Research studies where the research costs are funded in whole or in part by the NIHR. Personal awards that do not fund research are out of scope of this policy.
It requires immediate open access with CC-BY (or CC-BY-ND if permission is granted by NIHR) to ensure maximum impact. This will permit all users of NIHR-funded articles to disseminate and build upon the material for any purpose without further permission or fees being required.
These licensing requirements do not apply to any materials included within a research article that are provided by 3rd-party copyright holders. The 3rd-party materials in the article can be subject to more restrictive copyright licences than outlined in this policy.
Deposit of the final version of record or accepted manuscript in PubMed Central by the publisher at the time of publication is a requirement, and submissions to subscription journals must include the following text in the funding acknowledgement section of the manuscript and any cover letter/note accompanying the submission:
"For the purpose of open access, the author has applied [a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence] [an ‘Open Government Licence’] (or where permitted by the National Institute for Health Research) [a Creative Commons Attribution No-derivatives (CC BY-ND) licence] to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising".
In-scope research articles must include a data sharing statement describing how the underpinning research data can be accessed. Where there are reasons to protect access to the data, for example commercial confidentiality or sensitivities around data derived from potentially identifiable human participants, these should be included in the statement.
Regarding funding for APCs:
NIHR will pay reasonable fees required by a publisher to effect publication in line with the criteria of this policy. Where relevant and appropriate, additional funding will be made available to active contracts that budgeted based on the previous open access policy scope. Guidance on the current terms and processes for accessing open access funding is available on the NIHR open access funding guidance page.
Please see our funding pages for more information about paying open access charges if you are funded by the NIHR.
All peer-reviewed, original research publications should be made openly available immediately upon publication. If this is not possible, then they require that a copy of the article is uploaded to Europe PubMed Central within six months of publication. Where possible, awardees should seek to retain copyright and select a CC-BY licence.
Please see our funding pages for more information about paying open access charges if you are funded by the AMS.
Diabetes UK funded researchers are encouraged to make their published work openly available via the paid route. The final published articles should also be deposited in Europe PubMed Central within six months of the date of publication.
Please see our funding pages for more information about paying open access charges if you are funded by Diabetes UK.
Alzheimer's Research UK don’t currently have a formal open access policy. However, they do encourage grant holders to publish open access. In support of this, they are a founding partner of AMRC Open Research – an open access platform for rapid author-led publication and open peer review of research funded by AMRC member charities.
Please see our funding pages for more information about paying open access charges if you are funded by Alzheimer Research UK.
All peer-reviewed research publications, funded wholly or in part by the Alzheimer’s Society, must be deposited in Europe PubMed Central within six months of publication.
Please see our funding pages for more information about paying open access charges if you are funded by the Alzheimer's Society.
The Trust does not mandate open access publishing for it's funded researchers. It does however make provision for the cost of APCs.
Please see our funding pages for more information about paying open access charges if you are funded by the Leverhulme Foundation.
Thanks to De Montfort University for producing this useful guide!