Open Access for UKRI-funded researchers

In August 2021, UKRI published its new Open Access policy. For articles and conference proceedings, this will come into effect from 1st April 2022. For monographs, book chapters and edited collections, this will come into effect from 1st January 2024.

For UKRI-funded authors who wish to use Block Grant funds before 1st April 2022, or have queries about the current policy, please continue to follow the current guidance below.


Request to use the UK Research Councils block funds for Gold OA

If you would like to request to use the UK Research Councils block funds, please contact as early as possible in the process with the details of your paper (ideally title/journal/date of acceptance/funder/project name). We will then confirm eligibility for using the fund and provide information about the payment process for Gold OA.

Increased demand on the Research Council Open Access funds means the remainder of the grant is reserved for supporting publications in pure Gold journals, ie non-subscription journals which offer no option to make the article available through the Green, self-archiving route.

If you are planning to publish in a Gold journal it is essential that you notify the Open Access team at submission stage to check there are funds available. If you ask at the end of the publication process having not made this check there may not be sufficient funds and you will need to look for funding elsewhere within your grant or School.

What outputs does this policy cover?

The policy applies to peer-reviewed journal articles, non-commissioned review articles, and conference proceedings which result from research partly or completely funded by the UK Research Councils, and which acknowledge that funding. It includes work produced by funded doctoral researchers. 

The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) has adopted the policy on open access, and relevant publications acknowledging NC3Rs funding should comply.

If your research is in collaboration with non-UK based partners, you still need to comply with the policy, even if you are not the corresponding author. Researchers funded by the UK Research Councils  should ensure that collaborators are aware of the terms of funding, and that the obligation to publish results Open Access is included in collaboration agreements. UKRI-funded authors are expected to take the lead in ensuring that the paper is made available via either the Gold or Green routes as appropriate.

Can I comply through the Green route?

An output can comply through the Green self-archiving route dependent on the embargo period and licence offered by the journal.  

Where funds are available, embargo periods are 6 months (for STM) and 12 months (for HSS) respectively.

Where there are no funds available for taking the Gold route in hybrid (subscription) journals, longer embargo periods are permitted in most cases. For compliance, these embargo periods should be no longer than:

  • 6 months for MRC-funded articles (MRC includes NC3Rs)
  • 12 months for STM work (mainly funded by BBSRC, EPSRC and STFC)
  • 24 months for HSS (mainly funded by ESRC and AHRC)

You can check the embargo period using SHERPA/Romeo. Be aware that some publishers impose different embargo periods on funded research - contact the Library Open Access team if you are unsure of how to check this.

The UK Research Councils' formal requirement is that the licence places no restriction on non-commercial reuse, including non-commercial text- and data-mining. The licence should also allow for the sharing of adaptations of the material. This means that, in order to comply through the Green route, a CC-BY-NC licence or equivalent is acceptable.

To comply, upload the accepted version of your manuscript to Sussex Research Online (SRO) via Elements, ensuring that you complete the Funder Information fields for grants awarded to Sussex. 

When should I choose the Gold route?

Sussex policy is to prefer Green where possible. If your chosen journal is a pure Gold open access journal, or you choose to take the Gold option in a hybrid subscription journal, you should ensure it publishes under a CC-BY licence as specified by the UK Research Councils.

Requirements for Gold and Green

Whichever route is taken to OA, you must also:

  • Include a statement on how to access any underlying data (if appropriate). The data itself does not currently have to be OA.
  • Acknowledge your funding, including grant number, eg 'This work was supported by the Medical Research Council [grant number xxxx].'
  • (MRC/NC3Rs only) Ensure deposit in Europe PubMed Central, to be freely available no later than 6 months after publication. This is usually done automatically by publishers whenever an APC is paid, but can also be done by the author via Europe PMC Plus 

How can I pay for the costs if I go Gold?

The UK Research Councils have provided the University with block funds to support compliance with their policy. These funds are centralised and administered by the Library on a 'first come, first served' basis, provided eligibility requirements are met.  They can be used to pay for the article processing charge, but not page or colour charges. If you do not meet eligibility requirements, but have access to other funds and choose to pay to go Gold in a hybrid journal, then take a look at our institutional deals to see if you can claim reduced costs for Gold publication.

What if my journal doesn't mention Gold or Green?

If the journal doesn't appear on SHERPA/Romeo, or address self-archiving and Open Access on its webpages, then we would suggest contacting them directly to see if they will agree to a suitable embargo period.

In August 2021, UKRI published its new Open Access policy . For articles and conference proceedings, this will come into effect from 1st April 2022. For monographs, book chapters and edited collections, this will come into effect from 1st January 2024. Please continue to follow the current guidance until 1st April 2022.

More information is available on UKRI’s pages:

Contact with any questions.

Articles and conference proceedings: the policy applies to all peer reviewed research articles, including reviews, and conference papers published in proceedings with an ISSN, which acknowledge funding from one of the UK Research Councils.

Articles and conference proceedings:

  • must be made open access by the final date of publication
  • must be published with a CC BY licence (an exception for CC-BY-ND will be possible; UKRI will provide an update in October 2021)
  • must include a Data Access Statement explaining where and under what conditions the data can be accessed, even where there are no data associated with the article or the data are inaccessible

To comply, authors can:

  • publish in a fully Open Access (Gold) journal or platform that meets UKRI’s requirements (support from our block grant is available)
  • publish in a subscription (hybrid) journal that is included in our Transformative Agreements. Open Access publication in hybrid titles outside these agreements will no longer be permitted.

UKRI have included in the policy an option to enable researchers to publish in a subscription journal & deposit their Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) in an institutional repository (SRO) with a CC-BY licence at the time of publication.

Submissions must include the following text in the funding acknowledgement section of the manuscript and any cover letter/note accompanying the submission:

For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence [where permitted by UKRI, ‘Open Government Licence’ or ‘Creative Commons Attribution No-derivatives (CC BY-ND) licence may be stated instead] to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising.’

For advice on these options, please contact

Monographs, book chapters & edited collections: more information will be provided by UKRI in due course.

Monographs, book chapters & edited collections:

  • must be made open access within 12 months of official publication
  • must be made available under a Creative Commons licence

Further information

UKRI's updated Open Access Policy will come into effect on 01 April 2022 for research articles and 01 January 2024 for monographs, book chapters and edited collections. Read the new policy in full here and an explanation of the policy changes here.

Find out more about the UK Research Councils' current Policy on Open Access, along with FAQs to help clarify the policy. 

The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) website holds further information on Open Access for award holders, together with a statement setting out their high-level policy and principles on open access, common to both the former HEFCE and Research Council policies. 

Contact the Library team for support with Open Access questions on 01273 877553 or

Get support with Sussex Research Online

Find out more about Open Access