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UK Research Councils open access policy and funding

Papers funded in whole or in part by the UK Research Councils must meet the UKRI open access requirements. Find out how to check whether your chosen journal complies, and what funding is available.

UKRI open access policy

The UKRI Research Councils (UKRI) open access policy applies to peer-reviewed research articles, including uncommissioned/uninvited reviews, and conference proceedings, which acknowledge funding from one of the UK Research Councils (UKRI): AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, STFC. These outputs must be made open access within a specified time after publication (see details below).

UKRI is currently reviewing its open access policy.

Complying with the policy

Use Sherpa Fact to check whether your chosen journal offers a compliant Green or Gold option. For additional clarification, check the journal website. If you are unsure whether your journal complies, contact UCL's Open Access Team before submission.

Green open access

If you are publishing in a subscription journal, you can comply by uploading your final accepted manuscript to an open access repository provided that the journal's embargo on Green open access is no longer than: 

  • 6 months (MRC)
  • 12 months (BBSRC, EPSRC, NERC, STFC)
  • 24 months (AHRC, ESRC)

UCL papers should be uploaded to RPS. MRC-funded papers must also be uploaded to Europe PubMed Central, using Europe PMC plus.

Gold open access

If you are publishing in a subscription journal with a Gold open access option (known as a hybrid journal), or you are publishing in a fully open access journal, Gold open access will comply provided that the paper is published with the CC BY licence. At UCL, funds for Gold open access are only available if it is not possible to comply through Green (see below). 

Is my paper eligible for funding? 

If your chosen journal is included in UCL's transformative agreements, and your paper has a UCL corresponding author, your Gold open access costs can be covered by the agreement. Follow the instructions on our transformative agreements page to publish Gold open access.

If your chosen journal is not included in UCL's transformative agreements, UCL's UKRI open access grant will cover your open access charges once your paper is accepted if:

  1. your publication is a research article, uncommissioned review or conference proceeding, and
  2. it is funded by a grant from one of the UK Research Councils (AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, STFC) held at UCL - excluding MRC units which should have their own open access funds 

and the journal is:

  • fully open access and charges a mandatory fee to publish, OR
  • a subscription journal that offers Gold open access (known as a hybrid journal) and its embargo on making the accepted manuscript open access (Green open access) is longer than:
    • 6 months (MRC)
    • 12 months (BBSRC, EPSRC, NERC, STFC)
    • 24 months (AHRC, ESRC)

Use Sherpa Fact to check your journal's embargo period. For additional clarification, check the journal website. If you need any advice about a journal's embargo period, contact UCL's Open Access Team.

Current funding arrangements apply until at least 31 March 2021.

Conditions of payment

Some journals offer a choice of open access licences. If UCL's Open Access Team confirms that your paper can be funded, you must choose the CC BY licence. Your paper must also include:

  1. details of the the Research Council funding that supported the research, and
  2. if applicable, a statement on how the underlying research materials – such as data, samples or models – can be accessed.

There is more information about these requirements in the UKRI policy.

Non-open access publication (page and colour) charges

UCL's UK Research Councils (UKRI) open access fund can in some circumstances cover non-open access mandatory page charges for papers funded by a UCL-held UK Research Council grant where open access charges are not being paid as well. No other central funding for non-open access charges is available. Contact UCL's Open Access Team to find out whether funding is available.

Colour charges cannot be funded under any circumstances: researchers are advised to opt for free online colour only.

If your mandatory publication charges cannot be funded, it is recommended that you ask your publisher for a waiver on the grounds that no funds are available.