UKRI open access policy

Information and guidance relating to UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)'s new open access policy.


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UKRI has a new open access policy, which applies to research articles submitted on or after 1 April 2022, and to monographs, book chapters and edited collections published on or after 1 January 2024. Full details of this can be found in the policy documentation.

Contact if you would like a member of our team to talk to your department, or if you have any other questions about the policy.

For an introduction to the monographs, book chapters and edited collections requirement, you can watch the recording of the information session we delivered on 26th October 2023.

Policy scope

UKRI funded research articles (and conference papers accepted for final publication in a journal, conference proceedings with an ISSN, or publishing platform) submitted on or after 1 April 2022 must be made immediately open access.

This includes review articles, including those that have been invited or commissioned.

UKRI funded monographs, book chapters and edited collections published on or after 1 January 2024 must be made open access with an embargo of 12 months or less.

Long form publications where the sole funding source is a UKRI training grant (eg PhD scholarship) are exempt from the policy. 

Journal articles and conference papers

How do I comply with the policy?

Please view this flowchart for guidelines on how to comply:

UKRI compliance flowchart (PDF, 151KB)

For a short video containing additional guidance, see here.

All research articles acknowledging funding from UKRI must be submitted using the following text in the funding acknowledgment section and covering letter:

“For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising."

Where permitted by UKRI, ‘Open Government License' or ‘Creative Commons Attribution No-derivatives (CC BY-ND) license' may be stated instead.

You can then comply with the policy using one of two routes.

  • Route 1: Publish open access via a journal or publishing platform that makes the Version of Record immediately available on its website.

  • Route 2: Publish closed access in a subscription journal and deposit the Author Accepted Manuscript (or Version of Record if permitted by the publisher) into a compliant repository. University of Sheffield researchers should deposit into WRRO via myPublications as soon as possible after article acceptance. The deposited manuscript must be made open access immediately on publication without an embargo period.

Biomedical articles acknowledging funding from BBSRC or MRC are also required to be archived in Europe PMC.

What license should I select for my publications?

In the majority of cases, the Version of Record should be published under a CC BY licence if you are using Route 1. If you are using Route 2, the CC BY licence should be applied to the Author Accepted Manuscript. 

For more information about licensing, please visit our copyright pages.

In cases where the publication is subject to Crown Copyright, an Open Government Licence can be used.

In exceptional circumstances, UKRI may give permission for a CC BY-ND licence to be used. Permission must be granted in advance of submission for publication using the No Derivatives Licence Exception Form.

Will UKRI pay for open access charges?

You will be able to have your APC paid using our UKRI block grant if you are

  • publishing in a fully open access journal or platform, or

  • publishing in a hybrid (subscription) journal which has been designated as a ‘transformative journal’ or is part of a transitional agreement

An individual journal counts as ‘transformative’ if it meets certain criteria set by Jisc.

View a list of Jisc-approved transformative journals

You can find a list of the transitional agreements that the University of Sheffield has signed up for. In the majority of cases they allow University of Sheffield corresponding authors to publish open access at no cost to themselves.

Contact if you have any questions about eligible journals.

UKRI will no longer pay for other charges associated with publication, such as page or colour charges.

What do I do if my chosen journal is not fully open access and is not part of a transitional agreement?

In this case, you will not be able to have open access charges paid via the block grant. Your route to compliance will be Route 2 (depositing the Author Accepted Manuscript into WRRO).

However, please read carefully the following advice on the steps you must take to ensure you are able to make your work immediately open access with the correct license.

How do I comply via Route 2 (making the Author Accepted Manuscript available via a repository)? 

The text that you have included in your funding acknowledgement section should allow you to deposit your Author Accepted Manuscript into a repository and make it immediately open access with no embargo and with an appropriate licence.

However, it is important that you do not then sign a contract with the publisher that conflicts with these terms (eg agreeing to an embargo, or a more restrictive license), as you may then be in breach of publisher terms and conditions when you deposit.

If you receive such a contract from a publisher, please contact for advice.

The licensing statement required by UKRI is as follows:

“For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising.”

Where permitted by UKRI, ‘Open Government Licence' or ‘Creative Commons Attribution No-Derivatives (CC BY-ND) licence' may be stated instead. Use this form before submission to apply to use the CC BY-ND licence.

Additional information for authors publishing with IEEE: if you are complying via Route 2, you must email on article acceptance and request to use a CC BY licence on your AAM.

Additional information for authors publishing in Nature Research journals: if you are complying via Route 2, you must request to use a "UKRI exceptional publishing agreement" at editorial acceptance.

How can I check which route to compliance I should take?

There are tools being developed which will make it easier for you to check which route to compliance you should take and whether you are eligible for block grant funding or a transitional agreement.

UKRI recommends that you use the Plan S Journal Checker Tool. However, please be aware that the tool is in its early stages of development, and the information it provides is not always clear.

We advise you to make use of our list of transitional agreements alongside the Journal Checker Tool and double check with us at if you have any questions that are not answered on this page.

Do I need to make my research data available?

The Concordat on Open Research Data requires that data is made as open as possible, with exceptions available for those who cannot share data for legal, ethical or commercial reasons.

Regardless of whether or not you have data, and if your data is openly available, all UKRI-funded articles need to include a data access statement. 

These should describe how to access the research materials underlying the paper, the reason for any restrictions, and explicitly state if there is no data associated with the article.

Further examples of data access statements can be found on the University of Manchester website.

Long form publications (monographs, book chapters and edited collections)

How do I comply with the policy?

Monographs, book chapters and edited collections (longform publications) must be made openly available  with an embargo of 12 months or less and with a creative commons licence. 

This can either be the Version of Record or Author Accepted Manuscript, and can be made available on a publisher’s website, online publication platform or via an institutional repository such as WRRO.

What license should I select for my publication?

Although UKRI recommends a CC BY license, other Creative Commons licenses are also acceptable (eg CC BY-NC, CC BY-ND, CC BY-NC-ND). 

In cases where the publication is subject to Crown Copyright, an Open Government Licence can be used.

Licensing requirements do not apply to any third party material (eg images, photographs, diagrams and maps) contained in monographs, book chapters or edited collections.

Third party material may be published under a more restrictive license, or an exception to the policy may be granted if there is no way to enable open access publication due to the use of third party material.

Are there any exemptions to the policy?

Recognising that book publishing differs from journal publishing in significant ways, there are some exemptions to this part of the policy:

  1. If a longform publication acknowledges a UKRI grant that ended 7 years or more before the publication date

  2. If the only appropriate publisher for your work does not provide a compliant open access option. UKRI expects this to be rare, and only after significant consideration of options and liaison with the publisher.

  3. If the sole funding acknowledgement is for a UKRI ‘training grant’ (eg PhD stipend).

  4. If permissions for third party material cannot be obtained and there is no suitable alternative which enables open access publication.

  5. Trade books are exempt from the policy, except in cases where they are the sole output of UKRI funded research. The classification of a book as a ‘trade book’ will be at the discretion of author and publisher.

  6. Scholarly editions, exhibition catalogues, scholarly illustrated catalogues, textbooks and all types of fictional work are exempt from the policy.

  7. If a contract has been signed between author and publisher before 1 January 2024 which prevents adherence to the policy (however, UKRI strongly encourages authors to think about open access options in advance of the policy start date).

Authors do not have to seek approval from UKRI to use an exemption, but will have to notify them when an exemption is used. Please contact if you think your publication is exempt from the policy, and we will notify UKRI on your behalf.

Will UKRI pay for open access charges?

From January 2024 UKRI will dedicate approximately £3.5 million to a ring-fenced fund to support open access monograph publishing. The fund will be held centrally by UKRI, and authors will be able to apply to it to cover open access charges for in-scope books and chapters. Initial ("stage 1") applications will be to check whether an output is eligible for support and should therefore be made at an early stage of the process (eg. before a contract has been signed if possible). These applications must be made by the Library open access team on the researcher's behalf. 

UKRI has confirmed the following:

  • the maximum amount authors will be able to claim for a single BPC is £10,000 including VAT (£8333 without VAT)
  • the maximum amount for a single book chapter is £1000 including VAT (£833 without VAT).
  • there is no limit to the amount of BPCs or chapter processing charges an individual author can claim for
  • authors may use part of the £10,000 allowance (up to £2000) on clearing rights for third party content. However, they should note that this would reduce the amount of money left to pay a BPC. UKRI will also permit costs for rights clearance to be written into grant applications
  • UKRI will only cover charges if they provide immediate open access (so reduced BPCs for delayed open access will not be covered)
  • authors solely acknowledging a 'training grant' (eg. PhD stipend) are eligible to apply to the fund if they wish to make their book or chapter open access, although they do not have to
  • the University of Sheffield may claim back a certain amount of funding for books published under a 'diamond' model of open access (both free to read/openly licensed and free to publish) to contribute to these initiatives and make them sustainable. Please let us know at if you are publishing under such a model

It is important that you ask publishers about charges early on in your conversations with them, letting them know you are UKRI funded and the details of the open access requirement. You can use and adapt this template text in your communications with publishers. To ask us to make a Stage 1 application to UKRI on your behalf, please fill in this form. Please do not use the form available on the UKRI open access policy website, as this is for the use of designated administrative staff only. If you have not yet identified a publisher, but wish to notify us about your publishing plans and ask questions about the policy, please contact This will allow us to send you relevant information and guidance.

If you are no longer affiliated to the University of Sheffield, and not based at another UK research institution, please contact UKRI directly at 

How can I comply via a repository?

You can comply with the UKRI open access requirement for longform publications by depositing the author accepted manuscript of your book or chapter (the version post peer review but before the publisher's final version) into WRRO via myPublications and making it available within 12 months with a creative commons licence.

As self-archiving policies for books are often not as easy to find as those for journals, it is important that you check with your publisher whether your contract permits you to do this, and send us evidence of this permission when you deposit. 

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