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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. 

UKRI (formerly Research Councils UK)

UPDATE: 22 December 2021

A new UKRI Open Access policy has been announced, UKRI’s updated policy requires immediate open access for peer-reviewed research articles submitted for publication from 1 April 2022. It also includes a new requirement for monographs, book chapters and edited collections published from 1 January 2024 to be made open access within 12 months of publication. More information on the new policy can be found in the policy document below:

An update to clarify eligible costs, reporting and licence exceptions has been published and is available here: 

The RCUK Policy on Open Access  for articles submitted prior to April 2022, 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

UPDATE: 01 Jan 2021

The Wellcome Trust have a new Open Access Policy which is aligned with the Plan S guidelines, and applies to journal articles submitted from 1 January 2021.

All original, peer-reviewed research articles that are supported in whole, or in part, by Wellcome must be:

  1. made freely available through PubMed Central (PMC) and Europe PMC by the official final publication date, and
  2. published under a Creative Commons attribution licence (CC BY), unless we have agreed, as an exception, to allow publication under a CC BY-ND licence.

The Wellcome Trust has provided a block grant 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:

Wellcome Trust OA blockgrant

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

UPDATE:  30 March 2021

Whilst the submission to REF2021 has been sucessfully completed we have been advised by UKRI that for future exercises the REF 2021 OA policy should be followed until further notice.

The UK HE funding bodies recognise that due notice will be needed prior to implementation of the OA policy for the REF-after-REF 2021, which will be consulted on after UKRI's OA policy is announced. The OA policy for the REF-after-REF 2021 will not come into effect on 1 January 2021 (that is, at the beginning of the publication period for the REF-after-REF 2021 exercise). The REF 2021 OA policy should be followed until further notice.

Further information will be available on this webpage, following the conclusion of the UKRI OA review.