This page advises UKRI and Wellcome funded authors on complying with these funders’ open access policies. It sets out how to check if a journal complies, and what to do if it doesn’t.
In January 2021, the Wellcome Trust updated its open access policy to follow the principles of Plan S, an initiative aimed at transitioning to an affordable, fully open access publishing environment. UKRI’s new open access policy for research articles submitted from 1 April 2022 largely aligns with the Wellcome Trust’s.
The advice on these pages will assist researchers in complying with UKRI and Wellcome's policies, and applying for funding. The new UKRI open access policy applies to publications funded by the UK Research Councils (AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, STFC), Innovate UK, and Research England (funding leading directly to particular research outputs only). This page also includes advice on monographs and book chapters.
Peer-reviewed research articles
The following applies to all journal articles that report original, peer-reviewed research, and acknowledge funding from UKRI/Wellcome Trust. It also applies to peer-reviewed conference papers (published in a journal, or proceedings with an ISSN number) and review articles acknowledging UKRI funding.
- Wellcome and UKRI require immediate open access under the CC BY licence upon publication.
- Journal embargoes on Green open access are not permitted.
- Gold open access in subscription journals (hybrid) will not be funded except through transformative agreements or transformative journals.
- All journal submissions must include this submission statement.
- Both funders may allow, on a case-by-case basis, the use of the more restrictive CC BY-ND licence.
Compliant journals and proceedings
Funded authors should establish if their chosen journal is compliant before submission and before applying for funding. Compliant types of journal are summarised in the table below, along with advice on identifying them.
|Open access option||How to check your journal|
|Fully OA journals or platforms (Gold open access).||Check DOAJ to see if the journal is fully open access.|
|Subscription/hybrid journals in transformative agreements (Gold open access).||Check if the journal is in UCL's transformative agreements. Look up your journal in the Excel file, then check the publisher section (‘Transformative agreements by publisher’) on the same page to see whether your paper is eligible.|
|Subscription/hybrid journals that allow the final version or Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) to be made open access under CC BY in a compliant repository on publication (Green open access).||Check the journal’s open access policy, often available on the journal’s webpages, or check Sherpa Romeo. If in doubt, check with the Open Access Team. Many journals do not currently allow this. If your journal is not in the categories above, you may need to follow our advice below for non-compliant journals.|
|High-energy physics papers in SCOAP3 journals are automatically published with Gold open access, and meet UKRI requirements even if the journals are not in a transformative agreement with UCL. This means that HEP papers published in the subscription journals Chinese Physics C, Physical Review C, Physical Review D and Physical Review Letters comply.||Participating journals are listed on the SCOAP3 webpages. Papers are eligible if posted on arXiv with the primary category hep-ex, hep-th, hep-ph, or hep-lat.|
|Subscription/hybrid journals designated by Wellcome/Plan S as ‘transformative’.|
UCL may be able to pay for Wellcome-funded papers submitted to a Wellcome/Plan S compliant Transformative Journal not in UCL's transformative agreements - e.g. Nature-branded journals. Complete this form before submitting to the journal.
UCL is not able to pay for papers in UKRI/Jisc compliant Transformative Journals not in UCL's transformative agreements. These journals allow UKRI-funded authors to make the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) open access under CC BY in a compliant repository on publication (Green open access). This includes Nature-branded journals. Complete this form for advice.
For the Gold open access options listed above, the publisher must make the final version immediately open access under CC BY on their webpages upon publication, and make Wellcome, MRC, and BBSRC funded papers freely available from Europe PMC at publication. See our funding page for eligibility criteria, instructions on applying for funding, and conditions of payment.
For the Green open access option, the accepted manuscript must be uploaded to RPS on or before the first online publication date. All uploaded manuscripts including the mandatory submission statement will be made open access upon publication with a CC BY licence, through UCL Discovery, UCL's open access repository. Papers funded by Wellcome, MRC, and BBSRC must also be uploaded to Europe PMC on or before first online publication.
If your journal is not compliant (i.e. one that does not comply through the options in the table above), you may want to consider submitting elsewhere. Alternatively, you will need to retain the right to make your Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) open access on publication under the CC BY licence. Take the following steps:
- Include the UKRI/Wellcome submission wording in all submissions, covering letters and funding acknowledgements.
- Before submission, ask the editorial office whether the publishing agreement allows immediate OA to the accepted manuscript under CC BY. If in doubt, ask the editorial office for clarification. The Open Access Team can provide wording and advise you on making pre-submission enquiries.
- If the agreement does not allow this, you can:
- Ask for Gold OA with a waiver of the charges; or
- Negotiate amendments to the agreement; then upload the final accepted manuscript to RPS on or before first online publication (and also Europe PMC for Wellcome, MRC and BBSRC funded papers).
- For Wellcome papers, if the journal refuses both options, contact Wellcome for advice: email@example.com.
Funded authors should not sign a publishing contract that:
- applies an embargo period to the self-archiving of the AAM post publication, and
- does not allow the AAM to be made freely available under a CC BY licence.
UCL's Open Access Team cannot give legal advice, but we can provide general advice and support to assist authors in negotiations with publishers, and help identify journal policies and conditions.
Wellcome and UKRI may grant permission to use the more restrictive CC BY-ND licence on a case-by-case basis. Requests for this licence exception must be approved before submitting your paper, and can be requested using the following forms:
If approved, use the relevant amended submission statement on our submission statement and rights retention page.
Monographs, book chapters and edited collections
Original scholarly monographs and book chapters authored or co-authored by Wellcome Trust grant holders, as part of their grant-funded research, must be made open access in NCBI Bookshelf and Europe PubMed Central within six months of the official date of publication. Wellcome will fund compliant Gold open access for monographs. If your publisher does not have a compliant Gold option, but allows you to make your accepted manuscript open access in PubMed Central six months after publication, you should deposit to NCBI Bookshelf and Europe PubMed Central, using the Wellcome Trust's deposit form.
Monographs, book chapters and edited collections published on or after 1 January 2024 must be made open access no later than 12 months after publication under CC BY or another CC licence. Third party materials may carry a more restrictive licence, or be exempted. The following are out of scope of the policy: trade books, scholarly editions, exhibition catalogues, textbooks, fiction. Some funding will be available for open access for long-form outputs. Adherence to the policy is not required where a contract has been signed between the author and the publisher before 1 January 2024 that prevents publishing with open access.