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Library Research Support: Open Research: UKRI Open Access Policy

This guide is intended to provide advice and support on open access research, including guidance around Durham Research Online (DRO), open access publishing, research data management and related topics.

Overview - UKRI Open Access Policy

This guide outlines the scope, and requirements, for the UKRI Open Access Policy.

  • Scope: What is (and is not) covered by both policies
  • Requirements: The requirements on authors who are required to comply with either policy
  • Funding: Details for how to check that funding is available, and how to apply for funding to cover any open access costs.
  • Rights Retention: Details about the UKRI and other funders approach to Rights Retention for authors.

UKRI Open Access Policy

Scope of Policies

This guide provides support for authors required to comply with the current UKRI Open Access Policy, and the previous RCUK Open Access Policy. 

UKRI indicate that adhering to the requirements of the policy “is a condition of our funding. UKRI grant holders and research
organisations are responsible for ensuring publications comply with the policy.”

It is also a requirements for all Durham University researchers to "appropriately acknowledge ... funders" and to "adhere to any conditions set by funding or other bodies regarding the publication of data or findings, including the timing and manner of publication (e.g. open access)." [Durham University Research Integrity Policy 10.1.(e-f) and Durham University Open Access Policy 4.1.ii and 4.2.i]

UKRI Open Access Policy - Research Articles

This policy applies to:

  • Peer-reviewed research articles, including reviews and conference papers, that are accepted for publication in a journal or conference proceeding (with an ISSN) or other publishing platform, and which acknowledge funding from UKRI or one of its constituent councils (AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, MRC or STFC).
  • Which were originally submitted for publication on or after 1st April 2022.

UKRI Open Access Policy - Long-form publications

The UKRI policy also applies to:

  • Monographs, book chapters and edited collections, as defined in Annex 1 of the UKRI Open Access Policy.
  • Which will be published on or after 1st January 2024, unless a contract has been signed between the author and the publisher before this date that prevents adherence to the policy.
The information below is for articles submitted for publication on or after 1st April 2022. For information relating to articles submitted before this date, please read the information under the "RCUK Policy" tab.


The new UKRI Open Access Policy requires immediate open access for all peer-reviewed articles research articles (including commissioned reviews).

The policy requirements can be met either via:
  • Route 1: Publishing the research article open access in a journal or publishing platform which makes the Version of Record immediately open access via its website (also known as "gold" open access).
  • Route 2: Publishing the research article in a subscription journal and depositing the Author’s Accepted Manuscript (or Version of Record, where the publisher permits) in an institutional or subject repository so that it can be accessible at the time of final publication (also known as "green" open access).
Whichever route you opt for:
  • There must be no post-publication embargo (i.e. no delay on access once the article is published)
  • Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence must be applied (the OGL licence can be applied to Crown Copyright works and a CC BY-ND may be permitted by the funder, on a case-by-case basis - find further details here)
  • When submitting to a journal that is not fully open access you must include the following statement at the point of submission - both in the acknowledgements section of your paper and any cover letter/note accompanying the submission (see page 3 of the Policy):
    • ‘For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a ‘Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence  to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising’
  • UKRI will no longer fund Article Processing Charges (APCs) in hybrid (not fully open access) journals, unless they are part of a transitional open access agreement.
  • You must include a Data Access Statement, even where there is no data associated with the article (see Annex 1 of the Policy).
  • Articles acknowledging MRC or BBSRC funding must also be deposited in Europe PubMed Central (see page 3 of the Policy)

Applying for a more-restrictive licence

UKRI Process for applying for a CC BY-ND licence: complete an online form (available at ) at least 10 days before submitting the manuscript

Authors are advised to submit their request to the form at the link below at least 10 days before submitting their manuscript to a journal, to ensure they receive a response from UKRI in time to take any action required.

Form and Guidance: Apply for a no-derivatives exception

For additional information and guidance you may also find the following from UKRI useful:

Eligible costs

We will receive a UKRI Open Access Block Award to support UKRI funded research articles from April 1st 2022. Please see our guide on paying for open access which provides further details on eligible costs chargeable to this funding stream, and to other sources of funding and other support available for authors at Durham University, or contact us at note that an invoice must not be raised until the Open Access Team confirms that funds are committed for you - unless you have other means to make the payment yourself. 

Applying for funding
Conditions of use

This funding may be used where:

  • An article is required to acknowledge funding from UKRI or any of its Research Councils
  • The required acknowledgement of that funding has been included in the article in line with the expectations of the funder.
  • One of the following statements is true:
    • The corresponding author (who is acknowledging the Research Council funding) on the research article is affiliated with the University of Durham, OR;
    • The Principal investigator (PI) of the acknowledged grant is affiliated with the University of Durham.

Email and include all of the following information:

  • The article title
  • The journal title
  • The publisher
  • The article type (e.g. original research)
  • The status of the article (submitted, accepted etc.)
  • The date of submission
  • The grant code(s) that will be acknowledged in the paper
  • Confirmation that you are either the PI of the grant and/or the corresponding author (if you are not the corresponding author, provide details
Open Access Long-Form Publications

The new UKRI Open Access Policy applies to in-scope long-form publications that are published on or after 1st January 2024.

Routes to compliance


From January 2024 approximately £3.5 million will be dedicated to supporting open access for long-form outputs via a separate ring-fenced fund. The fund will be centrally held by UKRI, and research organisations will apply to UKRI to access it. 

Applications for funds are to be made on the behalf of individual authors by the University Library and the application process consists of two stages: 

  • At Stage 1, the research organisation registers the output(s) with UKRI for funding and this will be done by the Library's Open Research team. UKRI will confirm if a publication is eligible for funding after a stage 1 submission. 
  • At Stage 2, the research organisation provides final confirmation of compliant open access publication to allow UKRI to release funds 
If you would like to request that a Stage 1 application is made on your behalf, please complete the form here


Maximum funding limits

UKRI has set maximum limits to what they will contribute towards the cost of publishing an individual output open access. You may find that the funding available for in-scope publications will not cover the cost of the Book Processing Charge (BPC) or Chapter Processing Charge. Where the fee charged by the publisher exceeds the contribution that UKRI will make, please contact us for guidance. 

  • £10,000 (including VAT) for BPCs for entire monographs and edited collections
  • £1,000 (including VAT) for book chapter processing charges

UKRI will also make a contribution towards non-BPC funding models and we would ask authors to still get in touch with us if publishing a long-form output that they are not being charged a fee for directly. 

Additional information from UKRI on funding can be found here

Supporting third-party material costs 
UKRI allows authors to request costs for third party materials in research grant applications and this is the usual way that UKRI funding supports this activity. However, it will be permitted to claim up to £2,000 via the fund. Importantly, the entire funding application for an output must still remain within the above maximum limits. If you would like to find out more about this, please contact us

Seven-year threshold

UKRI has introduced a seven-year threshold. This means that if a monograph, book chapter, or edited collection is published seven or more years after the formal end of a UKRI funded project, then it will no longer be eligible for support via UKRI’s fund, and they would also not expect the publication to be open access. UKRI has said that will be some flexibility to accommodate extenuating circumstances.   



UKRI states that these should only need to be used rarely. Authors are expected to seek to publish open access wherever possible, prior to using an exemption. Exemptions (in brief) are:

  • where the only appropriate publisher is unable to offer an open access option that complies with UKRI’s policy
  • reuse permissions for third-party materials cannot be obtained and there is no suitable alternative to enable open access publication

Full guidance on these exemptions and the steps that an author needs to take before one can be used is provided in Annex 3 of the UKRI open access policy.

Authors will not need to apply to be exempt from the policy but should contact the Library for guidance and support before deciding that an exemption is justified. 

UKRI has introduced a form that will need to be completed to notify them of any exemption that is being used. 

Blanket exemptions (available to all without needing to ensure steps in Annex 3 are followed)

  • if you have signed a contract with a publisher before 1 January 2024, which doesn’t enable open access in compliance with UKRI’s policy
  • where a monograph, book chapter or edited collection is the outcome of a UKRI training grant (open access is encouraged but not required)


Application process

We have created a form to collect all of the information required by UKRI so that a Stage 1 application can be made on behalf of an author.

Step 1: complete the form with all of the information required

Step 2: someone from the Library's Research Support team will contact you directly to check any details and to confirm whether an application can be made on your behalf

Step 3: once the application is made, UKRI has stated that they will aim to confirm within 10 working whether the publication is eligible for funding

Step 4: the Library's Research Support team will contact you with UKRI's decision and provide further details of the next stage of the process. It is important that you do not request open access publication from your publisher until you receive confirmation of eligibility as you could be left with an invoice that you are unable to make payment for. 

Once a Stage 1 application has been made for you and your publication has been confirmed as eligible by UKRI, it is very important to keep the Library updated as your output progresses to publication. 


Additional information

Some publishers that offer open access options for monographs/books/book chapters

  • You may find it helpful to explore the options offered by the publishers detailed on our webpages here.
The Rights Retention Approach

"Rights Retention" is a new initiative from cOAlition-S funders, including the Wellcome Trust, UKRI and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, each of whom has published cOAlition-S aligned policies which include a rights retention requirement.

What is the 'Rights Retention Strategy'?

The key expectation on authors from funders is to make their research articles Open Access immediately on publication, without embargo, and under a clear open licence, usually a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence

Rights retention supports the green (self-archiving) open access route (Route 2 in both the UKRI and Wellcome Trust Open Access policies), and aims to allow an author to publish in their journal of choice (even if that published Version of Record (VoR) remains behind a subscription paywall), whilst ensuring an author retains the right to share their Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) immediately upon publication, in line with the expectations of their funder.

It essentially takes the form of an author including a statement in all article manuscripts submitted for publication, notifying the publisher of their funding obligations and that they, as author, are retaining the right to share their accepted manuscript under those terms.

The intended outcome is that:

  • Authors
    • Retain the rights to share and re-use their own AAM as they wish.
    • Are able to meet the open access requirements where these form any terms and conditions in their funding contract.
  • Institutions
    • Can share the accepted manuscripts provided to them by authors immediately from their institutional open access repository.
    • Can provide clear and consistent guidance for authors on how to comply and how and when AAMs will be shared.
  • Researchers
    • Gain immediate open access to a peer-reviewed version of research publications, which would otherwise be hidden behind a subscription paywall.
    • Through the use of standard open licencing can clearly see how they can, and cannot, re-use that published research.
  • Publishers
    • Are clearly notified at the first point of submission of the funder's open access requirements that the author of the manuscript is obliged to meet.
  • Funders
    • Can ensure the authors they fund have a mechanism for making research open access immediately upon publication which is not dependent upon an author's ability to pay for publishing.

What do researchers need to do?

This is advice is for research articles in scope of the Wellcome Trust Open Access policy, or research articles submitted after 1st April 2022 and in scope of the UKRI Open Access policy. 

Researchers are required to include a clear statement following the wording provided by their respective funder when submitting their manuscript for publication. This wording should be included in the funding acknowledgements section of the manuscript, and in any cover letter, email or submission system note accompanying the submission. 

Where an article acknowledges funding from both funders, the authors can choose either form of wording - it is not required that both statements are included.

  • "For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising."
  • "This research was funded in whole, or in part, by the Wellcome Trust [Grant number]. For the purpose of Open Access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission."

[Note that in both cases, where the author has requested and received permission from their funder to use an alternate open licence, then the licence applied can be substituted in the wording included.]

Challenges we will face

We do not know how all publisher's will respond to the inclusion of this statement, and we are aware some publisher's may contact an author, at various stages of the submission/publication process, about this statement (whilst some publisher's have indicated they will accept its use and have no concerns with its inclusion).

Please contact if you have any concerns about its use, or are able to share any response received by a publisher.

We have set out the advice currently provided by funders below:

  • If a journal refuses to accept a submission which makes clear that any Author Accepted Manuscripts arising from the submission will already be licensed under a prior CC BY licence, you will need to reconsider where to publish your research. In such cases, let us know and we’ll update the journal’s details in the Journal Checker Tool.
  • Where a journal accepts a submission with a prior CC BY licence, but on acceptance imposes terms and conditions, via a publishing agreement or otherwise, that prevent you from meeting our OA requirements, follow these steps:
    • If the journal provides a paid open access option for individual articles, seek to publish via this route and request a waiver from the journal for the article processing charge (APC). NOTE: Wellcome funds can’t be used to pay the APC.
    • If the waiver requested in Step 1 is not given, then request a publishing agreement amendment via the journal editorial office. You can use this template addendum.
    • •If the requests outlined in Step 1 and Step 2 above are both rejected by the journal, contact Wellcome (
  • If a publisher rejects your submission, advises you will need to pay for open access charges or changes terms of publication, contact your research organisation for advice.



Applicable to articles submitted for publication from 1st April 2013 to 1st April 2022. 

If an article was submitted prior to 1 April 2022, authors should contact for guidance

UKRI Policy Briefing

Download this presentation as a pdf with clickable links using the link below.

Paying for Open Access

Funding for Open Access at Durham

Publisher Agreements

Publisher Agreements (Link to guide)

How to Deposit in DRO

How to deposit in DRO (Link to guide)

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