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Research Publishing (Open Access): Funders' requirements

Open access compliance and REF 2021

Overview of funders' requirements

Researchers need to mediate negotiations between funders, publishers and home institutions. Relationships within the publication process can be complex: funders make grants to researchers, who in turn make submissions to publishers; article processing charges may be paid to publishers by researchers or institutions, both of which may claim reimbursement from funders. 

Funders requirements are likely to relate to depositing, licensing and invoicing.

It is very important that researchers check the fine details of their publishing contract. It remains the responsibility of individual researchers to ensure that funders and publishers are in accord.

Funding councils

UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) consists of seven funding councils.

UKRI brings together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and a new organisation, Research England.

Research Councils:

UKRI is undertaking an Open Access Review that will inform the development of UKRI policy. The review is now underway and will report late 2019. Information on the Review objectives, scope and process is available here. Working internationally is important to achieve open access, which is why UKRI has joined cOAlition S in support of Plan S. UKRI will consider the Plan S principles within the broader Review of UKRI’s Open Access policies.

Individual funding bodies

In addition to the overarching stipulation of funding councils, individual funding bodies may impose additional requirements. These are likely to relate to depositing, licensing and invoicing.  Please also note that it remains the responsibility of individual researchers to ensure that funders and publishers are in accord.

The Wellcome Trust - Current Open Access Policy

Current core publisher requirements are that:

  • Peer-reviewed articles must be deposited in PubMed Central
  • Publishers must make PubMed Central aware of post-publication material changes (including corrections, retractions or expressions of concern)
  • Articles published via the APC route must be freely available at time of publication via the publisher's site
  • Articles must be licensed to the world under a Creative Commons attribution licence  (CC-BY)
  • License information posted to PubMed Central must be in a machine-readable form, compliant with PubMed Central's tagging guidelines.
  • Publishers' invoices must include the article title (invoices that only contain internal manuscript IDs will no longer be accepted)
  • Publishers must have a publicly available refund policy

 Changes will apply from 1st January 2021 (see update to OA policy).

Checking funder requirements

The SHERPA/JULIET site provides a very useful one stop shop for checking funder requirements.

The SHERPA/ROMEO service summarises publishers' copyright transfer agreements as they relate to archiving.

The SHERPA/FACT tool  allows researchers to check if a particular journal complies with a funder's open access requirements.

As well as embargo periods, stipulations may relate to licensing arrangements; refer to the separate page in this LibGuide for more information.

Wiley Author Compliance Tool

Wiley have produced an Author Compliance Tool where you can use a drop down menu to select Funder, Institution or Journal  to check and compare open access compliance policies. University of the Highlands and Islands is listed under institution.

Wiley also have special agreements with some funders which are available to look at from their website.

The Wellcome Trust - Update to Open Access Policy

From 1 January 2021 the Wellcome open access policy is changing [PDF 158KB]. Read the explainer about what will be different and why, and the frequently asked questions [PDF 282KB] for more information about the changes.

Wellcome have updated their policy to be in full alignment with the latest Plan S guidance. The updated OA policy [PDF 158KB] will apply to all research articles submitted for publication from 1 January 2021. Until then, researchers must continue to use the current policy.

Wellcome are not changing their policy for monographs and book chapters – but  are keeping it under review.

Further information is available here.