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The RCUK (now UKRI) open access policy aims to achieve immediate, unrestricted, online access to peer-reviewed and published research papers, free of any access charge.
The policy applies to the publication of peer-reviewed research articles (including review
articles not commissioned by publishers) and conference proceedings that acknowledge funding from UK Research and Innovation Research Councils.
Where an article processing change is paid to make an article open access, UKRI expects the article upon publication to be: 1) available immediately and with unrestricted access on the publisher website, and 2) to be made available with a CC-BY licence, allowing immediate deposit in other repositories without restrictions on re-use.
Where no article processing change is paid, UKRI expects the journal to consent to the deposit of the author accepted manuscript in any repository without restriction on non-commercial re-use and within a defined period – see point 3.
In addition, if the research is funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) or the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), in order to be compliant, the paper must be archived in Europe PubMed Central. This may be done automatically by the publishers if an article processing change is paid, but can also be done by the author via Europe PMC Plus.
Timing of submission
The policy to make papers available on open access applies to papers that were submitted for publication (but not necessarily accepted) after 1 April 2013. Both the funder and the grant should be acknowledged.
During the transition period (five years from 2013) RCUK (now UKRI) allowed the block grant to be used for reimbursement of article processing charges for papers submitted for publication before April 2013, but only where costs for the charges were not included in the grant. See RCUK (now UKRI) FAQs
RCUK (now UKRI) has a preference for immediate, unrestricted open access (gold) (see RCUK (now UKRI) FAQs PDF) and has an expectation that the majority of the open access block grant funding it provides will be used to support the payment of article processing changes for gold open access. Articles must be licenced under the CC-BY licence.
UKRI no longer considers a final accepted manuscript deposited in a repository (green open access) to be compliant with their mandate if the publisher stipulates a CC-BY-NC-ND licence (see RCUK (now UKRI) FAQs PDF). CC-BY-NC licence, or equivalent, is acceptable. One such publisher that stipulates CC-BY-NC-ND licence on the final accepted manuscript is Elsevier. If you are publishing in an Elsevier journal, for example any of the Lancet titles, and acknowledging an RCUK (now UKRI) funder in your paper, please email the open access team for further guidance. There are funds to pay for open access charges where immediate publication under CC-BY is an available option.
In STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines, UKRI will accept a delay of no more than six months between online publication and the final authors’ accepted version of the manuscript becoming open access. In the case of papers in the arts, humanities and social sciences (which will mainly be funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, AHRC, and the Economic and Social Research Council, ESRC), the maximum embargo period will be 12 months.
Where funding for article processing changes is unavailable to an author, during the transition period, longer embargo periods will be allowable (see RCUK (now UKRI) FAQs PDF):
- 12 months for STEM
- 24 months for AHRC and the ESRC.
However, all research papers in biomedicine must be published open access immediately, OR with an embargo of no longer than six months (as has been the Medical Research Council (MRC) policy since 2006).
In circumstances where research is funded by more than one funder, including multiple research councils, the shortest embargo period will apply (see RCUK (now UKRI) FAQs
Where you are depositing a copy of your final accepted manuscript in a repository such as EPMC in order to comply with the RCUK (now UKRI) policy, the licence should allow for the sharing of adaptations of the material. This means a CC-BY-NC licence, or equivalent, is acceptable. A CC-BY-NC-ND licence is not compliant. CC-BY-NC-ND is the licence required by Elsevier journals, so this means that Elsevier journals are not compliant with RCUK (now UKRI) open access policy via the green route.
Where a fee is paid for immediate open access of the final publisher version of record, the CC-BY licence must be selected.
For more information, please see FAQ number 6 in the RCUK (now UKRI) policy on open access FAQs (PDF) and Creative Commons about the licenses.
Please email the open access team
if you have any questions on the licences available from your journal.
RCUK (now UKRI) is monitoring compliance. The RCUK (now UKRI) policy describes a ‘journey’ to full open access. See RCUK (now UKRI) open access reporting information.
The sanctions set out in the FAQs are that non-compliant research papers will not count towards the institution’s compliance target for open access. See RCUK (now UKRI) FAQs
RCUK (now UKRI) has made available to St George’s an annual block grant in order to pay for open access article processing charges (APCs) for research papers arising from research they have funded. See point 11 below for more information.
The author requesting reimbursement of the open access fee is to demonstrate that they are either the principal investigator or the corresponding author, and supply the grant reference number.
If the research grant was awarded before 1 April 2013 and funds were specified in the grant to cover publication costs, this should be used before using the RCUK (now UKRI) block grant.
The open access block funding provided to St George’s is to cover access publishing costs for RCUK (now UKRI) funded research from 1 April 2013.
These funds can be accessed by researchers at St George's. The specific conditions of the funder with regards to open access publication need to be met in order for St George's to use these funds to reimburse the article processing charges (APC).
The principal investigator or grant holder at St George's will need to complete the open access claim form and send a copy of the completed form and the publication to firstname.lastname@example.org
To claim, please see the top of the page.
If you have any queries, please contact your funder or email the open access team
If the article has arisen from research funded by more than one funder, where the block grant is available the cost of making the paper available on open access should be split proportionally.
Please indicate this on the open access claim form. The most restrictive publication terms of the funders should be complied with, as to not do so would make the publication non-compliant with that funder. Please get in touch with the funders or email the open access team
if you require further guidance.
Yes, St George’s will allow page charges and colour charges to be paid from the block grant.