Funder requirements

Funder Requirements

Many funders are developing requirements that the outputs of research which they fund are made open access. It is therefore important that you check the terms of your grant. 

You can easily search for the requirements of your funder including any embargo periods by using the SHERPA/JULIET database.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI, formerly Research Councils UK (RCUK))

From 1 April 2013, any research paper stems from a project funded by any of the Research Councils you must follow the conditions of the new Research Councils UK (RCUK) Policy on Open Access.  They have also published updated FAQs (updated April 2018)

The policy applies only to peer-reviewed research articles (including review articles) and conference proceedings that acknowledge funding from the UK’s Research Councils. The policy does not apply to monographs, books, critical editions, volumes and catalogues, or forms of non-peer-reviewed material. However, the Research Councils encourage authors of such material to consider making them open access where possible.

The main points of the policy are as follows:

  • Supports ‘gold’ and ‘green’ routes to open access. Although it does have a preference for gold it states that ‘the ultimate decision on which model to follow remains at the discretion of the researcher and their institution’.
  • From 1 April 2013 funds for open access publishing in respect of peer-reviewed research papers cannot be included within RCUK grant applications but block grant funds will be provided to support open access publishing through a block grant. This does not affect grants already awarded. Any funds specified for APCs within already awarded grants should be used before using block grant funding. It remains permissible for grant proposals to request costs associated with the production of other types of outputs such as monographs, books, critical editions, volumes and catalogues.
  • Papers must include details of the funding that supported the research and, if applicable, a statement on how the underlying research materials – such as data, samples or models – can be accessed.
  • To be compliant with the RCUK policy a compliant journal must be used. To be compliant, journals must either:
  • Provide, via its own website, immediate and unrestricted access to the final published version of the paper using the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence. This route may involve the payment of an article processing charge (APC) to the publisher. This is the gold route.


  • Allow the deposit of the final accepted manuscript (this is the final version of the article that has been accepted for publication and has been through a peer-review process) in any repository, without restriction on non-commercial re-use and within a defined period. (CC-BY licence is preferred but a CC-BY-NC licence, or equivalent is acceptable. A CC-BY-NC-ND licence is not compliant). No APC will be payable to the publisher. This is the green route.

Embargo periods

  • If the green route is followed, on-line publication must be allowed within 6 months or 12 months in the case of papers funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) during the five year transition period to Open Access.
  • However, there are exceptions to this rule: if the journal allows for publication via the gold route but funding for APCs is unavailable during the transition period a longer embargo period of 12 months is allowable, or 24 months for papers funded AHRC and ESRC. Despite this allowance, it is RCUK’s preference for the author to seek an alternative (cheaper) gold route or a journal with a shorter embargo period.
  • Research papers in biomedicine should be published with an embargo of no longer than six months, as has been the Medical Research Council’s mandated policy since 2006.  

A decision tree regarding embargo periods is detailed in Section 3.6 of 'RCUK Policy on Open Access and Supporting Guidance'.

The embargo periods of various journals can be easily checked using SHERPA Romeo


  • Generally, Reserach Councils require deposits of a paper in a repository of the author’s choice. Any specific requirements are detailed in the terms and conditions of the grant. It is University policy that all publications should be deposited in STORRE in addition to any other repositories used.
  • The MRC requires that papers must be deposited in Europe PMC 


Wellcome Trust

Current Wellcome Open Access Policy (see below Wellcome has a forthcoming new policy)

It is a fundamental part of the Wellcome Trust’s charitable mission to ensure that the work they fund can be utilised by the widest possible audience. Therefore, the Wellcome Trust’s Open Access Policy stipulates that:

  • Authors should maximise the opportunities to make their results available for free
  • Electronic copies of any research papers that have been accepted for publication related to Wellcome Trust funding should be made available through PubMed Central and Europe PubMed Central as soon as possible and within 6 months of the official date of publication.
  • Grant holders will be given the funds to cover open access charges through their institutions
  • Papers are licensed through use of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY) so that they may be freely copied and re-used (provided such uses are fully attributed) in all cases where an open access fee has been paid and wherever possible if a fee has not been paid.
  • It will consider the merit of an author’s piece of work, not the journal in which the work has been published which will be considered by the Trust in making funding decisions. 

The Wellcome Trust monitors compliance and operates sanctions if open access requirements are not met. These include withholding final funds, withholding notification of other grants and discounting non-compliant papers from any future bids to the Trust.

The new Wellcome Library Open Access Fund is (and will always be) entirely voluntary – it’s up to library users whether they want to take advantage of it. We will pay the costs associated with open-access publishing for peer-reviewed journal articles, scholarly monographs or book chapters aimed at academic audiences. To qualify, you’ll need to have made substantial use of our collections; to have had your research accepted for publication; and to be ineligible for open-access funding from any other source. For more details, visit


Wellcome's forthcoming new policy

  • Wellcome's new updated Open Access policy will apply to all research articles submitted for publication from 1 January 2021 (previously from 1 January 2020, but date altered by a subsequent Wellcome update on 31/5/2019).
  • See the new Wellcome open access policy 2021.
  • See Wellcome’s frequently asked questions for more information about the changes. (They will publish further guidance before the policy takes effect)
  • Researchers who don't comply with the policy will be subject to sanctions. Where articles have not been made available in line with their policy Wellcome will not accept new grant applications from a researcher if they're applying as the lead applicant.
  • Until the new policy takes effect researchers must continue to use Wellcome’s current policy.


The key changes in the new Wellcome OA policy:  

1. All Wellcome-funded research articles must be made freely available through PubMed Central (PMC) and Europe PMC at the time of publication. Wellcome previously allowed a six-month embargo period. This change will make sure that the peer-reviewed version is freely available to everyone at the time of publication.

2. All articles must be published under a Creative Commons attribution licence (CC-BY) - unless Wellcome have agreed an exception to allow publication under a CC-BY-ND licence. Wellcome previously only required a CC-BY licence when an article processing charge (APC) was paid. This change will make sure that others – including commercial entities and AI/text-data mining services – can reuse our funded research to discover new knowledge.

3. Authors or their institutions must retain copyright for their research articles and hold the rights necessary to make a version of the article immediately available under a compliant open licence. Wellcome is a member of cOAlition S and this change brings Wellcome into alignment with Plan S.

4. Wellcome will no longer cover the cost of OA publishing in subscription journals (‘hybrid OA’), outside of a transformative arrangement. Wellcome previously supported the hybrid model, but no longer believe that it supports a transition to full OA.  

5. Where there is a significant public health benefit to preprints being shared widely and rapidly, such as a disease outbreak, these preprints must be published:

  • before peer review
  • on an approved platform that supports immediate publication of the complete manuscript
  • under a CC-BY licence.

This is a new requirement which will make sure that important research findings are shared as soon possible and before peer review.

6. Wellcome-funded organisations must sign or publicly commit to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), or an equivalent. Wellcome may ask organisations to show that they’re complying with this as part of their organisation audits. This is a new requirement to encourage organisations to consider the intrinsic merit of the work when making promotion and tenure decisions, not just the title of the journal or publisher.


Chief Scientist's Office (Scottish Government) 

CSO requires that papers published as a result of their funding are:

  • Made publically available within six months of the date of publication (through an open access journal or deposit in a repository such as STORRE)


  • deposited in Europe PubMedCentral within six months of the date of publication

Researchers can apply to CSO for up to £2000 towards the costs of Open Access publishing of a paper arising from a CSO funded research project.

Full details of the CSO policy and how to apply for additional funding are available on the CSO open access webpages

Other funders:

You should always check the requirements of your funder. Other funders who have a policy on open access publishing include: