Accessibility statement

Funder OA policies

Open Access Funder Policies

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

Plan S

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.

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

Read the 10 Plan S principles

UK Research & Innovation

UKRI Research Councils covered by the open access policy:

UK Research and Innovation

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.

Route 1: The 'green' route

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

Route 2: The 'gold' route

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.

Wellcome open access policy

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.

Policy principles

Articles which report original, peer reviewed research funded (in whole or part) by Wellcome must be:

  1. Made freely available at the time of publication
  2. Made available under an open licence which allows for reuse

Routes to meeting the requirement

To ensure these principles are met, authors of Wellcome-funded research articles must follow one of three routes:

  1. Publish in a fully open access journal
  2. Publish in a hybrid journal under a transformative agreement
  3. Deposit your accepted manuscript to Europe PubMed Central before publication
    • To ensure this is possible, you must include Wellcome's rights retention statement in your article submission

Steps to meeting the requirements

Before submission:

  1. Check compliant publication routes for your preferred journal
  2. Include the Wellcome rights retention text in your submission
    • Wellcome ask that authors assert the right to make their accepted manuscript open access immediately on publication. This may be particularly important if you are relying on deposit to Europe PubMed Central to meet the open access requirements. To do this, include the following test in the submission and, if applicable, any cover letter that accompanies it:  

'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.'

On acceptance:

  1. If you're meeting the requirements through a fully open access journal - Request APC funds from the York Open Access Fund
  2. If you're meeting the requirements through a transformative agreement - Follow the instructions from your publisher to make the article open access
  3. If you're meeting the requirements through deposit to Europe PubMed Central - Visit Europe PMC Plus to deposit your manuscript. You might also have to deposit your manuscript to PURE to meet REF open access requirements

Articles submitted before 1st January 2021

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.

Monographs and book chapters

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 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.

  • Research outputs arising from research that we fund to be made freely and readily available;
  • Electronic copies of any biomedical research papers that have been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, and are supported in whole or in part by funding from any of the Europe PMC Funders, to be made available through PubMed Central (PMC) and Europe PMC, as soon as possible and in any event within six months of the journal publisher's official date of final publication;
  • Authors and publishers, if an open access fee has been paid, to license research papers such that they may be freely copied and re-used for purposes such as text and data mining, provided that such uses are fully attributed. This is also encouraged where no fee has been paid.

While this minimum expectation applies to all Europe PMC funders some funders may have further open access requirements, for example Wellcome Trust.


National Institute for Health (NIHR) Policy on Open Access

Open Access forms an important component of the NIHR's Publications Policy. The full OA policy is available at:

Key features:

  • The NIHR Open Access policy applies to any peer-reviewed research articles (including review articles not commissioned by publishers, final reports or executive summaries) supported through NIHR funding and submitted for publication from 1st April 2014.
  • The NIHR preference is Gold OA, with the associated costs being supported by the original NIHR grant or the NIHR Open Access Fund (under development).
  • Where NIHR funds are used to pay an APC the publication should be published with a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence and allow for immediate deposit of the final published version in other repositories without restriction on re-use. The final, author accepted manuscript must be deposited with Europe PubMed Central upon acceptance, to be made freely available as soon as possible and within six months of publication.
  • The policy does not cover books, critical editions, volumes and catalogues, or forms of non-peer-reviewed material. However, the NIHR encourages authors of such material to consider making them Open Access where possible.

Additional note:

  • NIHR has purchased Supporters Scheme membership of BioMed Central. This entitles NIHR researchers to a 15% discount against any APC for a BioMed Central journal.

Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 mandate

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.