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.
Most research funders have a publications policy and it is important that you read and understand this as soon as possible.
In some cases publication costs should be written into grant applications in which case you will need to know the requirements before applying to the funder.
The easiest way to get information about a funder’s open access policy is through the Sherpa Juliet database.
It is recommended that you also check your funder’s website or contact them for further details.
Many funders specify that you must deposit research in either an institutional or subject archive.
It is important for both the publisher and the funder that you deposit the correct version of a research paper.
Funders will usually state a maximum acceptable embargo period. This is the period of time between publication of the paper and it being made available through an open access repository. Publishers will usually specify a minimum acceptable embargo period. It is important to ensure that the funder and journal policies correspond before submitting your paper.
Some funders are satisfied as long as your paper has been made available through an established open access repository. Some funders will specify a particular repository in which authors must deposit a copy of their paper. It is not uncommon, for example, for funders in health-related disciplines to insist that a paper is deposited in PubMed Central or Europe PubMed Central.
It’s always worth checking whether funders have any specific requirements to do with deposit.
Most funders will want you to publish. Some organisations may by funding your research for commercial or other reasons that mean they do not want you to publish your findings. This should have been established from the very beginning of a grant.
The majority of funders are happy for you to publish where you would like as long as the journal allows you to meet their requirements. Some funders will specify that you must publish research in a journal that accepts gold open access or even one that is only gold open access. A small number of funders may require you to publish within specified journals.
Any other information regarding the funder’s publishing requirements.
Any other information about the funder’s open access or other publishing requirements including qualification of policies listed above.
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).
The current maximum allowable embargo periods for UKRI are:
|AHRC & ESRC||12 months|
|BBSRC, EPSRC, NERC & STFC||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 Wellcome Open Access Policy is changing. From 1st January 2021 Wellcome will require all research articles which arise from Wellcome funding to be made freely available at the time of publication and openly licensed.
Wellcome expects all funded authors of research papers, monographs and book chapters to maximise the opportunities to make their results available for free.
For full details of the Wellcome open access policy, visit the Wellcome website:
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 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 fund open access publication costs (APCs) for research funded in whole or in part by the Trust, Wellcome provides the University with a block grant. This grant is managed through the York Open Access Fund. For information on how to access this fund see out Open Access Fund webpages.
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.