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Open access and the UK Research Councils

Information on the UK Research Councils' open access policy.

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If you are funded by the AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC or STFC, you must comply with the UK Research Councils' open access policy.


The UK Research Councils provide UCL with funds to cover Gold open access fees for research papers.

Eligibility for using UCL’s Research Councils open access funding has been updated as of 19/12/18. Payment of ‘hybrid’ Gold fees has been temporarily resumed. Fees to publish in fully open access journals will be available for papers submitted by the end of 2018.

UCL’s Research Councils open access funds are able to pay for ‘hybrid’ open access in traditional subscription journals (where a one off payment unlocks otherwise paywalled content) until 15 February 2019. From this date, authors publishing in these journals are advised to comply through Green open access.

Payments for articles in fully open access journals (e.g. PLOS, BioMed Central and Frontiers journals) will be covered for papers submitted on or before 31 December 2018. Authors wishing to submit to these journals after 31 December 2018 should ensure the availability of alternative funds. UCL’s 2018/19 institutional fund for Gold open access is fully expended.

Different arrangements apply for papers funded by grants at MRC units: contact the Open Access Team or your MRC unit manager for more information.

Authors can continue to arrange ‘hybrid’ Gold open access through the UCL Open Access Team beyond 15 February 2019 if the publisher has an ‘offsetting’ agreement with UCL to aid the transition to fully open access publishing: currently the Institute of Physics (IOP) and Oxford University Press (OUP).

For more information, or to request funding for Gold open access, complete this form and we'll reply with a summary of your options.

Policy scopeThe policy applies to peer-reviewed research articles and conference proceedings - this includes non-invited reviews
Licensing (Gold)The Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence is required for Gold open access
Embargoes (Green)

The publisher's Green option complies with the Councils' policy if the journal embargo period is no longer than

  • 6 months: MRC
  • 24 months: AHRC and ESRC
  • 12 months: all other Research Councils

If your publisher does not offer a Gold option, or you prefer Greenupload your manuscript to UCL's Research Publications Service (RPS). To make sure that you comply with the REF open access policy, you should ideally upload at acceptance, but no later than 3 months after first online publication.

Additional requirements
Papers must include
  • an acknowledgement of Research Council funding
  • details of how any underlying research materials, such as data, samples or models, can be accessed - see the policy for more

Failure to comply may affect authors' future funding opportunities.

Other publication charges

If your research is funded by one of the UK Research Councils, we may be able to pay mandatory page charges. We cannot pay other non-open access fees (e.g. colour charges). Contact the Open Access Team for more information.

Policy links