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Open Access publishing for Aston authors: Funder OA compliance


Funder requirements: HE funding bodies, notably UK Research & Innovation (UKRI - the new body combining HEFCE and Research Councils UK), the European Commission, and the Wellcome Trust & other members of COAF, now mandate for OA publication of journal articles and conference papers. 

  • Note: There are developing compliance requirements also in relation to 'Research Data Management' (RDM) - see the RDM LibGuide for detailed information on this aspect.

Sherpa checkers

You can check SHERPA/JULIET and SHERPA/FACT to see if a particular journal's Open Access policy is compliant with your funder's. 

Funder Open Access compliance requirements

In conjunction with the overarching REF 2021 Open Access policy, funder-specific compliance requirements in relation to depositing articles, Green OA accessibility embargoes, subject repositories and Gold OA licencing are as follows: 


1. UKRI / UK Research Councils:

If you are funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Biotechnology & Biological Research Council (BBSRC), Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC), Medical Research Council (MRC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) or Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC), you must comply with the UK Research Councils' Open Access policy. The policy encompasses peer-reviewed research articles, reviews and conference proceedings

The publisher's Green OA option complies with the Councils' policy if the journal embargo period is no longer than:

  • 6 months: MRC

  • 12 months: BBSRC, EPSRC, NERC and STFC

  • 24 months: AHRC and ESRC

  • Additionally, ​MRC and BBSRC-funded papers must be uploaded to Europe PubMed Central within six months of publication (this is usually done by the publishers but you should check).

UKRI / the UK Research Councils provide Aston with funds to cover Gold open access for research articles. and you may qualify to use these funds. In such circumstances, the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence is always required. 

All papers, whether Green or Gold OA, must also include: 

  • an acknowledgement of Research Council funding

  • details of how any underlying research data can be accessed - see the policy for more details.

2. European Commission: 

Horizon 2020, Seventh Research Framework Programme - FP7, and European Research Council - ERC grant holders must ensure open access to all peer-reviewed publications resulting from funded research - researchers can comply with the Horizon 2020 / FP7 / ERC policy through Green or Gold open access.

  • All research articles, monographs and other research publications must be made available through an open access repository, including Aston Publications Explorerwith a maximum embargo of 6 months (STEM subjects) or 12 months (SSH subjects).

  • Gold open access charges are eligible costs in Horizon 2020 / ERC grants (Note: You will need to indicate expected costs in your grant proposal and they are must be incurred during the life of the project); use of a CC BY (or variant) licence is strongly recommended.

3. Welcome Trust/COAF

Six medical research charities belong to the Charity Open Access Fund (COAF): Arthritis Research UK, Bloodwise, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Parkinson's UK, and the Wellcome Trust.  If your research is funded by any of these bodies, you must comply with their open access requirements.

  • All research articles, as well as monographs and other research publications for the Wellcome Trust, must be made available through an open access repository, including Aston Publications Explorer, with a maximum embargo of 12 months, if the Green OA route is chosen
  • Where authors choose Gold OA  (this is Wellcome Trust / COAF's preference - you may qualify for either a reimbursement or use of the Institutional fund), a CC BY licence is required for articles, whilst a CC BY NC ND is otherwise acceptable. 
  • Additionally, ​all papers must be uploaded to Europe PubMed Central within six months of publication (this is usually done by the publishers, but you should also check).