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Open Access at Aston: 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 relating to depositing articles, Green OA accessibility embargoes, subject repositories and Gold OA licencing are as follows. Remember that it is your responsibility as the grant holder to ensure that your publications meet your funder's open access and open data requirements.  


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.

*Note that the UKRI's Open Access policy is changing in 2020 in line with the 10 principles of Plan S. For further details on this change, please see their website here.


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). To request a shorter embargo period from your publisher, please see H2020's suggested Open Access Publishing Agreement Addendum here
  • 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.
  • All publications should acknowledge the grant in the format specified by the European Commission. Further information can be found in their open access guidance here

*Note that the European Commission's Open Access policy is changing on 1 January 2021 in line with the 10 principles of Plan S. For further details on this change, please see their website here.


3. Welcome Trust (part of COAF until 30 Sept 2020)

Wellcome Trust's new open access policy will take effect from 1 January 2021. For further details and FAQs on this change, please see their website here. This new policy is in line with Plan S principles. COAF will therefore end on 30 September 2020. Researchers with funding from the other charities that made up COAF (Arthritis Research UK, Bloodwise/Blood Cancer UK, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and Parkinson's UK) should continue to adhere to their funder's open access policies. For those with Wellcome Trust funding, until 1 January 2021 you must:

  • ​All research articles must be uploaded to Europe PubMed Central with a maximum 6 month embargo from publication (this is usually done by the publishers, but you should also check)
  • Monographs and book chapters should be made available on PMC Bookshelf/Europe PMC with a maximum 6 months embargo
  • A CC BY licence is required for articles where a fee is paid for open access. Funding is available through Wellcome Trust to pay article processing charges. 

Details on the current (up to 31 December 2020) Wellcome Trust open access policy can be found on their website here