Making your publications open access means that the results of publicly funded research are available:
- to everyone for free
- under conditions that enable them to be re-used and built upon.
If you have an award from UKRI or one of our councils, you must follow our open access requirements when publishing a research publication acknowledging our funding.
The requirements you’ll need to follow will depend on the type of publication and when you plan to submit or publish.
Peer-reviewed research articles
The open access requirements for a peer-reviewed research article depends upon when it is submitted for publication.
If you submit for publication before 1 April 2022
You must follow the existing research councils’ policy on open access and supporting guidance.
This policy applies to:
- articles which need to acknowledge research council funding
- some articles resulting from Innovate UK funding, as outlined in the guidance for academics applying for Innovate UK funding on GOV.UK.
If you submit for publication on or after 1 April 2022
You must follow the new UKRI open access policy.
This applies to articles which need to acknowledge funding from UKRI or any of its councils. This includes funding from:
- the research councils
- Research England
- Innovate UK.
For information about the development of the new policy and how we are implementing it, see shaping our open access policy.
Monographs, book chapters and edited collections published from 1 January 2024
You must follow the new UKRI open access policy.
This applies to publications which need to acknowledge the funding from UKRI or any of its councils. This includes funding from:
- the research councils
- Research England
- Innovate UK.
You do not need to make monographs, book chapters and edited collections published before 1 January 2024 open access.
UKRI open access policy: guidance for authors
Before publishing your research findings, refer to the full requirements and guidance in the UKRI open access policy and supplementary frequently asked questions.
A summary of the policy for peer-reviewed research articles acknowledging UKRI funding, and which are submitted for publication from 1 April 2022, is provided below.
You should also refer to guidance and support from your research organisation. Your research organisation will be able to advise on complying with UKRI’s policy, funding for open access costs and any local policies and guidance.
Useful resources to support you to make your research open can be found in the good research resource hub.
Further guidance on UKRI’s new open access requirements for monographs, book chapters and edited collections published from 1 January 2024 will be added to this page in due course.
Make your research article immediately open access
The policy applies to peer-reviewed research articles. This includes reviews and conference papers that are accepted for final publication in either a journal, conference proceeding with an international standards serial number (ISSN), or publishing platform.
You can make your article open access via one of two routes.
- Route one: you can publish the article open access in a journal or publishing platform. This makes the version of record immediately open access via its website with a creative commons attribution (CC BY) licence or other permitted licence.
- Route two: you can publish the article in a subscription journal. You can deposit your author’s accepted manuscript in an institutional or subject repository at the time of final publication with a CC BY or other permitted licence. A publisher embargo period is not permitted.
You can publish in the journal or platform you consider most appropriate for your research, provided UKRI’s open access requirements are met. You should check with publishers to see if a journal or publishing platform offers a compliant route to the policy.
This can include fully open access journals or publishing platforms, or ‘hybrid’ subscription journals that offer an open access option, and which offer a compliant route.
However, only hybrid journals that are included in transitional open access arrangements (for example, transformative journals or transitional agreements) that meet the requirements of the research sector, and as set out in the Jisc requirements, are eligible to receive UKRI funds through institutional block grants. The lists of eligible transformative journals and of transitional agreements are available via the Jisc website:
- Jisc approved transformative journal list
- Jisc transitional agreement look-up tool – here you can see if your organisation participates in a transitional agreement.
You can also use the Journal Checker Tool (JCT) to check whether your preferred journal supports compliance with the policy and whether publishing in it is eligible for UKRI funds.
If you intend to publish in a hybrid journal that is not part of a transitional agreement your organisation is party to or a transformative journal, you will need to find an alternative source of funding to meet the publication costs. The Jisc requirements have been agreed by the research sector and help to ensure value for money.
If publishing through route two you will need to deposit your author’s accepted manuscript in a repository.
Many research organisations have a repository you can use, there are also subject repositories that you can use. OpenDOAR has a list of repositories that are available.
Some research councils have specific deposit requirements regardless of whether you are publishing open access through route one or route two. See ‘Depositing research publications in a repository’ for further details.
Getting support with open access routes
If you need support with open access routes:
- find further guidance in the UKRI open access policy and supplementary frequently asked questions
- UKRI will provide an online tool for authors and research organisations to make it easy to check if a journal offers a compliant open access route. Information about this will be added here when it is available
- see ‘Support for publication costs’ for further details.
Use an open licence
The open access version of your article must have a CC BY licence to maximise opportunity for sharing and reuse.
You can also use an open government licence when authors need to comply with Crown Copyright.
A CC BY licence is appropriate in most cases, but you can apply for an exception to use a creative commons no-derivatives (CC BY-ND) licence if you think this is needed.
UKRI’s requirements do not apply to third-party materials in an article, these can be included under a more restrictive licence.
Notify your publisher about licensing
If intending to publish open access via a repository (route two), include this statement in the acknowledgement section of your manuscript and any submission cover letter or note:
For the purpose of open access, the authors 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.
This ensures it is clear at the point of submission what licence you will apply to your author’s accepted manuscript.
If a publisher rejects your submission, advises you will need to pay for open access or changes terms of publication, contact your research organisation for advice.
Options could include asking the publisher to accommodate compliance with your funding requirements, making the article open access via an alternative route, or identifying an alternative journal, for example.
Getting support with licensing
For more help see:
- further details in the UKRI open access policy and supplementary frequently asked questions
- guidance from your research organisation, which may also have local copyright and licensing guidance and policies
- resources on licensing and copyright are also available on the good research resource hub.
Include a data access statement in your article
You must include a data access statement in your article, even where there is not data associated with the article or the data are inaccessible.
This informs readers where the underlying research materials associated with a paper are available, and how the research materials can be accessed. The statement can include links to the dataset, where applicable and appropriate.
Getting support with data access statements
For more help:
- see further details in the UKRI open access policy and supplementary frequently asked questions
- get guidance from your research organisation
- gee resources about data access statements can also be found in the good research resource hub.
Depositing research publications in a repository
You may have to deposit your research publications in a repository, which improves access to your research findings.
Check the terms and conditions in your offer document and the open access policy that applies to your publication to find out if you need to do this.
Whether publishing open access via a journal or repository, biomedical research articles that acknowledge the Medical Research Council (MRC) or the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) funding are required to be archived in Europe PubMed Central. This is in accordance with:
Some research councils have repositories for publications produced by researchers affiliated with them, or publications that report work carried out at their facilities and research centres.
- the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) open research archive (NORA)
- the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) ePubs open archive.
Support for publication costs
If you expect to pay any costs to publish a research article within the scope of UKRI’s open access requirements (for example, an open access article processing charge), you should speak to your research organisation. They will give advice on open access funding available to you.
UKRI supports open access publication costs for research articles through an open access block grant to research organisations.
You cannot usually claim these costs from your research grant.
Find more information on open access block grants.
Books and other outputs
You can ask for funding for publication costs for books and other outputs when you apply for a research council grant.
Find more information in terms and conditions for research grants guidance.
You can share your findings early by publishing your manuscript to a preprint server or service before you publish to a formal peer-reviewed publication.
We recognise the value and increasing use of preprints. In cases of national or global emergencies we expect all research findings to be shared as soon as possible.
Some research councils and funding opportunities have specific guidance on preprints:
- MRC’s position on preprints
- BBSRC’s position on preprints
- UKRI’s COVID-19 rapid response opportunities.
Ask a question about the open access policies
Last updated: 14 February 2022
This is the integrated website of the seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK.