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Research funders' policies

Find out about sponsor requirements about Open Access and the local support available to you.

As a condition of grant, certain funders have specified ways in which publications arising from research they fund can be made more widely available via Open Access. Funders’ requirements vary and researchers should be aware of the requirements before submitting work to a publisher. If you are unsure about what you need to do please get in touch with and one of the Scholarly Communications Team will help you. 

Research Councils UK

The RCUK Policy on Open Access applies to peer-reviewed research papers, which acknowledge Research Council funding. To comply you must:

  • Publish in a journal that makes the paper immediately available at the time of online publication (Gold open access). This usually requires payment of an ‘Article Processing Charge’ (APC); or,
  • Deposit a version of the published research paper as accepted for publication, including all changes resulting from peer review, but not incorporating the publisher’s formatting or layout in an appropriate repository (Green open access); with a maximum embargo of 6 months for the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and 12 months for  the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Furthermore researchers are asked to:

  • Include details of the funding that supported the research, and a statement on how the underlying research materials - such as data, samples or models - can be accessed.
  • Correctly acknowledge research funders in a standardised way so they can find which publications have arisen from projects they have funded.

More information on the procedure for claiming funds at Edinburgh is available at the link below: 

RCUK UK Open Access Fund

The Wellcome Trust policy

The Wellcome Trust requires electronic copies of any research papers that have been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, and are supported in whole or in part by Wellcome Trust funding, to be made available through Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC) as soon as possible and in any event within six months of the journal publisher's official date of final publication. Depending on which journal you publish in this usually this means payment of an open access article processing charge, although you may be able to self-archive a copy in Europe PMC at no cost. 

The Wellcome Trust, in conjunction with six other charitable organisations, has provided a block grant called the Charity Open Access Fund (COAF) to the University of Edinburgh to pay open access article processing charges for peer-reviewed research publications resulting from research funded by one or more of the partner charities. More information on the procedure for claiming funds at Edinburgh is available at the link below: 

Charity Open Access Fund

The COAF partner charities are:

  • Breast Cancer Now
  • British Heart Foundation
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Bloodwise
  • Parkinson’s UK
  • Versus Arthritis
  • Wellcome Trust

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The four main UK higher education funding bodies, including the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), have recently announced their policy for open access in the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). Certain outputs submittted to the next REF must be made available on an Open Access basis.  Detailed instructions and further information is available here:

The next REF