Research funders increasingly require that the outputs of the research they fund are made available open access. Major funders which require open access include UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), Wellcome Trust, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), European Commission (Horizon 2020), and the medical research organisations which support Europe PubMed Central.
Open access requirements also apply to journal and conference papers to be submitted to the REF. See our guide Open Access and the REF for further information.
Plan S is an initiative for Open Access publishing developed by an international consortium of research funding organisations known as cOAlition S. Plan S requires that, from 2021, scientific publications that result from research funded by public grants must be published in compliant Open Access journals or platforms.
What does Plan S mean for me?
Plan S seeks to bring about a significant international shift towards open access publication of research results.
If your research is funded by an organisation that has committed to Plan S then the Plan S Principles are likely to apply (now or in the near future) as conditions of research publication.
If your research is not funded by a Plan S funder then you are still likely to benefit from Plan S through the increased availability of open access publication option.
Plan S funders
Research funders who have committed to the principles of Plan S include UK Research & Innovation, Wellcome, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the World Health Organisation.
Wellcome, the Gates Foundation, and World Health Organization have already implemented Plan S principles through the open access requirements which apply to their funded research.
- Wellcome Open Access Policy
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Open Access Policy
- World Health Organisation Policy on Open Access
UK Research and Innovation are reviewing their open access policy with a new policy expected in the second quarter of 2021.
Plan S principles
Plan S funders have agreed to 10 principles including that:
- Funded publications must be made open access immediately on publication
- Funded publications must be available under an open licence which allows for maximum reuse
- Funders will not support the ‘hybrid’ model of journal publishing, unless as part of a transformative arrangement
UKRI Research Councils covered by the open access policy:
- Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
- Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
- Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
- Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)
- Medical Research Council (MRC)
- Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
- Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has an open access policy which applies to any research papers acknowledging funding from one or more of their research councils (excluding Research England and Innovate UK).
Any peer reviewed research papers which acknowledge funding from one or more of the UK Research Councils must be made open access. Open access can be provided through either the ‘green’ or the ‘gold’ routes.
To find the options available for a specific journal and funder, use the Sherpa Funders & Authors Compliance Tool (Fact) tool.
The accepted manuscript for the article should be deposited to PURE (or to White Rose Research Online if you do not have access to PURE) as soon as possible on acceptance for publication.
To meet UKRI expectations through the 'green' route, the publisher must allow your article to be made open access within an acceptable timeframe (embargo period). Acceptable embargo periods depend on whether funding is available to cover APC costs.
The maximum allowable embargo periods for UKRI research council funded research are:
|Research Council||Maximum embargo (APC funding available)||Maximum embargo (no APC funding available)|
|AHRC & ESRC||12 months||24 months|
|BBSRC, EPSRC, NERC & STFC||6 months||12 months|
|MRC||6 months||6 months|
To meet UKRI requirements through the ‘gold; route, the journal or conference will provide unrestricted access to the final published version on its own website. This must be done immediately on publication, and the article must be made available under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence.
Publication through the ‘gold’ route will usually involve the payment of an article processing charge (APC) to the publisher. It may be possible for APCs to be paid through the York Open Access Fund.
The overarching aim of our open access (OA) policy is to make sure that knowledge and discoveries resulting from our funding are shared and used in a way that maximises their benefit to health.
Articles which report original, peer reviewed research arising from Wellcome funding and which are submitted for publication from 1st January 2021 must meet the requirements of the new Wellcome Open Access policy. It is important that you understand these requirements, and how you can meet them, before submitting an article for publication.
Research articles which were submitted before the 1st January 2021 must meet the requirements of the previous Wellcome open access policy. A separate policy applies for monographs and book chapters.
Find out whether and how to meet these requirements for a specific journal using the Plan S Journal Checker Tool.
Articles which report original, peer reviewed research funded (in whole or part) by Wellcome must be:
To ensure these principles are met, authors of Wellcome-funded research articles must follow one of three routes:
'This research was funded in whole, or in part, by the Wellcome Trust [Grant number xxxxx]. For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.'
Wellcome-funded articles submitted before 1st January 2021 must still meet the requirements of the previous open access policy.
Where an option exists to make an output available immediately in its final published form, in a way which is compliant with the Wellcome requirements, then Wellcome-funded researchers should use this option. In most cases, this will mean using the ‘gold’ open access option.
As a minimum requirement, all Wellcome-funded research papers submitted before 1st January 2021 and accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal must be made openly available through PubMed Central and Europe PMC as soon as possible and in any event within six months of the journal publisher’s official publication date.
Wellcome Trust encourages — and where an APC has been paid requires — use of a Creative Commons CC-BY licence for funded outputs.
To comply with these requirements, reasonable articles processing charges (APC) can be paid through the York Open Access Fund.
Scholarly monographs and book chapters which arise from Wellcome-funded research must be made openly available through NCBI Bookshelf and Europe PMC as early as possible and within six months of the publisher’s official publication date.
Funding to publish open access monographs or book chapters can be requested directly from Wellcome.
For more information see the Wellcome guidance on complying with their policy.
Europe PMC funders
Europe PMC is funded by major research funders across Europe, primarily focusing on biomedical research.
Europe PMC funders share a minimum expectation of open access for any research they fund.
While this minimum expectation applies to all Europe PMC funders some funders may have further open access requirements, for example Wellcome Trust.
Open Access forms an important component of the NIHR's Publications Policy. The full OA policy is available at:
Outputs arising from research funded through the Horizon 2020 programmes of the European Commission are required to be made Open Access through either the Gold or Green route.
The Open Access mandate consists of two steps:
1. Beneficiaries must deposit a machine-readable electronic copy of the published version or final peer-reviewed manuscript accepted for publication in a repository. This condition can be met at York by depositing into PURE.
2. After depositing publications and, where possible, underlying data, beneficiaries must ensure open access to the deposited publication via the chosen repository. This can be achieved by following either:
a) Green route - to comply with this route, you will need to check whether your chosen journal offers a compliant embargo period (six months maximum, or twelve months for Social Sciences and Humanities). See Journal policies for more information.
b) Gold route - by paying an APC.
APC costs incurred by beneficiaries during Horizon2020 projects are eligible for reimbursement by the European Commission. APC costs incurred after the end of projects are not.