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UK Research and Innovation's (UKRI) open access (OA) policy is changing in 2022. This page tells you about key changes in the new policy, and what you need to think about before submission so that you meet your funder requirements.  

Information on previous and current UKRI OA policies

A key change in the new policy is that open access must happen immediately on publication, without any embargo period, under a CC-BY licence unless an exception has been granted.

The new UKRI open access policy (version 1.4 Mar 2022) and UKRI FAQs (version 1.3 Apr 2022) are available hereA glossary of terms used in the UKRI OA policy can be found towards the end of the policy document.

The Research Councils’ policy on open access (applying to peer-reviewed articles submitted for publication from 1st April 2013 and before 1 April 2022) and FAQs are available here.

Frequently asked questions

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1. What does the policy apply to?
  • Peer-reviewed research articles, including reviews and conference papers, that need to acknowledge UKRI funding in whole or in part, submitted from 1 April 2022, and accepted for final publication in either a journal, conference proceeding with an International Standards Serial Number (ISSN), or publishing platform.
  • Monographs, book chapters and edited collections published from 1 January 2024 (unless a contract has been signed between the author and the publisher before this date that prevents adherence to the policy). Please contact us if you have questions about this part of the policy and require further guidance. 
2. What doesn't the policy apply to?

It does not apply to:

  • data articles or articles focused on describing a protocol or method
  • preprints. UKRI encourages the use of preprints and also reserves the right to ensure the use of preprints in the context of emergencies.
3. What routes are there to meeting your funder requirements?

So that your work meets the new mandate and is OA immediately on publication, without any embargo period, the options you have are to:

1. Publish in a full Open Access (OA) journal, ‘transformative’ journal (committed to becoming fully OA), or OA platform that makes the Version of Record immediately OA on its website. A fee (e.g. Article Processing Charge) is often required. Or,

Publish in a journal that provides immediate OA of the Version of Record via a ‘Read & Publish’ agreement between the publisher and SGUL Library, where OA charges are included in the deal. Details of the Read & Publish agreements SGUL subscribe to can be found here.

2. Repository route: If it is not possible to publish via route 1, you can publish in a subscription or hybrid journal and make your Accepted Manuscript OA with a CC BY license and no embargo via a repository (e.g. SORA or EPMC).This is enabled by retaining your copyright. No fee is required for this route.

Rights Retention

Under the traditional publishing model authors often signed away their copyright, giving the publisher exclusive rights to reproduce and disseminate the article: this often applied to the Accepted Manuscript as well as the Version of Record, with restrictions placed on where the manuscript could be shared, under what terms, and with an embargo applied.

Retaining your rights allows you to share and reuse your article as you see fit, including making it available immediately with no embargo and a CC BY license in a repository.

4. What do I need to do?
  • Acknowledge your funding: please follow the UKRI guidance on how this should be done.
  • UKRI funded authors following route 2 (repository) to OA must include the following Rights Retention Statement in the submitted manuscript and in any cover letter or note accompanying the submission: 
    ‘For the purpose of open access, the author(s) has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence (where permitted by UKRI, ‘Open Government Licence’ or ‘Creative Commons Attribution No-derivatives (CC BY-ND) licence’ may be stated instead) to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising’
  • Include a Data Access Statement in your manuscript, even if there are no data associated, or they are inaccessible. The statement should specify how the data underlying your findings can be accessed by other researchers, or give a reason why they cannot be accessed. Wellcome have some examples of good practice
  • Deposit your article to SORA upon acceptance by uploading the Accepted Manuscript to the CRIS, and to Europe PMC where required.
  • Check carefully any publishing agreement you are asked to sign, which may conflict with your funder obligations: contact us and your funder for advice before signing, or if you encounter difficulties in using the rights retention statement required by UKRI.


5. Can I meet the UKRI requirements by publishing under a different licence?

The policy requires CC-BY.  While under the previous policy it was permitted to publish under a CC-BY-NC licence, this has changed under the new policy: now UKRI may allow a CC-BY-ND licence, by exception.

Agreement to publish under CC-BY-ND must be sought in advance from UKRI, on a case by case basis. The form to be completed to request an exception can be found here If you think you may need to ask for a licence exception, let us know so we can help advise you.

6. What about commissioned and invited reviews?

The policy up to 1st April 2022 included review articles not commissioned by publishers.

The new policy from 1st April 2022 includes commissioned and invited reviews that acknowledge UKRI funding as in-scope of the policy.

7. Is there still funding for open access charges that I can apply for in SGUL?

UKRI has provided an OA block grant to SGUL to support implementation of their OA policy.  

The OA block grant cannot be used to pay colour and page charges. 

Please contact us before submission if you think publishing open access is going to incur a fee.

Applications must be submitted before a manuscript is submitted to a publisher.

Please first read the Guidance for Authors: Request for funds to cover Open Access and publication charges for manuscripts (PDF, St George's, University of London login required)

Then complete the St George’s Open Access Fund application form (Word, St George's, University of London login required)

Please send a copy of the completed form to openaccess or let us know if you have any queries.

If after 1st April 2022 you have already submitted your manuscript and neither it nor the published version will be available on publication under CC-BY, please contact us for further advice.

8. Are the funders to which the policy applies the same under this new policy?

Under the previous policy, the RCUK open access block grant could not be used to support open access costs resulting from research funded by Research England or Innovate UK.

For the purposes of the new policy from 1st April 2022, publications acknowledging Innovate UK (IUK) and Research England (RE) are now included in the UKRI OA policy.  Most RE funding is not intended to lead to specified outputs, however where particular outputs are attributed directly to RE funding, these outputs are subject to the UKRI Open Access policy and the funding must be acknowledged.  Get in touch with us before submission if you need advice on whether Research England funding should be acknowledged and outputs must meet the policy. 

9. My article has arisen from more than one grant. What do I need to do?

You will need to acknowledge fully all the funders and grants from which the research reported has arisen, following the guidance.

If you have more than one funder requiring a statement retaining rights to publish under CC-BY, the UKRI advice is that they provide wording (as above here in FAQ 4) to authors seeking to comply with their policy under Route 2. If other funders provide equivalent wording to that supplied in UKRI’s policy which intends to achieve the same result of immediate OA via deposit of the author’s accepted manuscript with the appropriate license, provided the wording achieves compliance with the policy, authors may use the wording provided by another funder, e.g. Wellcome (UKRI FAQs C2).

If unsure, please contact us before submission .

10. Not sure if a journal meets the policy requirements?

Ask us! Get in touch before submission:

The Journal Checker Tool is available to make it easier to check if a journal offers a compliant route.

There are also lists of eligible transformative journals and transitional agreements available via the Jisc website:

UKRI sre also working with Jisc to develop a guide on copyright and licencing. We will update you when we have news.


For all enquiries about open access, email the open access team.
For all enquiries about the CRIS and SORA, email the CRIS/SORA team.


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