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Why Open Access?

The information on this page is being updated and the guidance below may not reflect the most up to date position. Alternative links are provided where the guidance has changed, but if you are not sure whether your article is eligible or you have additional questions about Open Access policies or funding, please contact

Open Access is an accepted route for publishing research. UK and International funders mandate Open Access for some publication types. HEFCE recently published its Open Access Policy in relation to the next REF 2020.

This information outlines the benefits to you of OA, funder policies in the UK and international policies.

Benefits of OA

OA benefits both the author of the research and the audience.

  • Visibility - there is growing evidence that open access material is more likely to be found, read and cited than work solely published in traditional journals. This visibility can also help to attract prospective collaborators and research students
  • Discoverability - open access repositories, such as the Warwick Research Archive Portal (WRAP), are optimised to allow for better indexing and visibility in popular search engines, including Google and Google Scholar
  • Access - open access benefits researchers working independently, in small companies and in developing countries where the cost of subscription previously prevented access
  • Compliance - most research funders now mandate open access for funded research outputs

UK OA policies


The University of Warwick encourages all researchers to publish their research OA where feasible via either the Green or Gold routes.

The University is particularly committed to Green OA, however this does not mean that authors should be deterred from publishing in a journal of their choice.

In order to fulfill the requirement of the Warwick Open Access Policy you can deposit your journal article, conference proceedings or other publication to WRAP.

 Warwick’s OA Policy


The current RCUK guidance means any journal articles (including review articles) and conference proceedings (with an ISSN) submitted for publication after 1 April 2013 must be made OA.

RCUK funding

RCUK has provided block grants to institutions to help cover the cost of Article Processing Charges (APCs). The Library checks all applications and informs you if the publisher does not meet RCUK conditions.

  • Articles should be published under a CC-BY licence (many publishers already offer this, or are working towards doing so)
  • You must acknowledge partial or entire funding from RCUK in your article
  • You must also state how underlying data can be accessed

  Apply for funding

Wellcome Trust

If your research is Wellcome Trust-funded, then you have been required to publish Open Access for some time. Since 1 April 2013 the Wellcome Trust will also require that an OA publication be made under a Creative Commons CC-BY license.

New Wellcome Trust Policy 1 January 2020

A new Wellcome Trust open access policy is now in force for research articles submitted for publication on or after the 1 January 2020 . The full details of the new policy can be found on the Wellcome Trust website but highlights are presented below.

These articles will now be expected to meet the following requirements:

  • All Wellcome-funded research articles must be made freely available through PubMed Central (PMC) and Europe PMC at the time of publication. No publisher embargo is now permitted under the policy
  • All articles must be published under a Creative Commons attribution licence (CC-BY) even if made open access through WRAP or another repository, such as Europe PMC
  • The Wellcome will no longer accept open access charges for subscription journals (or ‘hybrid OA’) or any page or colour charges not covered under the open access fee
  • Where there is a significant public health benefit to preprints being shared widely and rapidly, such as a disease outbreak, these preprints must be published:
    • before peer review
    • on an approved platform that supports immediate publication of the complete manuscript
    • under a CC-BY licence.

This is a radical change from the previous policy and Wellcome have provided a set of FAQs to further support researchers in preparing for this change. More details on the list of compliant journals and platforms are being developed and will be released by Wellcome in the near future. This policy applies only to Wellcome-funded articles not to book chapters and books at the current time.

In addition to this the Wellcome Trust expects research organisations to have signed or publically committed to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), or an equivalent.

This policy is the result of six months of consultation and Wellcome have made a summary of this discussion is available publically.

  • If your article was submitted prior to 1 January 2020, please contact the Open Access team for more advice
  • Please note that the Wellcome Trust also require monographs and chapters in book to be Open Access. For funds from 1/10/2014 applications should be made direct to the Wellcome Trust. If you wish to discuss this further please contact Open Access Team.
    • Contact: openaccessfund at warwick dot ac dot uk

COAF – Charities Open Access Fund

This fund runs for two years and started in October 2014. As well as the Wellcome Trust the following charities are involved.

An image showing six charity logos

To comply with funding the following criteria must be met:

  • Article or conference proceeding must be made freely available on publication
  • As of Jan 2015 the fund will also cover the cost of publishing study protocols
  • CC-BY Creative Commons Attribution licence must be used
  • The publisher must also on behalf of the author deposit the final version in PubMed Central (PMC)
  • Please note: the fund will only cover articles, conference proceedings with an ISSN and now study protocols. No other outputs

If you are neither RCUK or COAF funded


HEFCE has released its OA Policy for the submission of outputs to the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).

The policy applies to journal articles and conference proceedings with an ISSN, these are the outputs that are required to be made open. The policy does not, therefore, cover the following;-Books, book chapters and other long-form publications. Conference proceedings with an ISBN, creative writing, practice-based outputs, Data, confidential items ( e.g. for security or commercial reasons.

To be eligible an output must be:

  • Deposited on acceptance for publication or no later than 3 months after acceptance (you can’t go back after publication!)
  • Discoverable (must be referenced in a repository but can be closed)
  • No specific licence specified is required but advised to use at least CC BY-NC-ND – Creative Commons Non-Commercial-Non-Derivative

This is mandatory for outputs accepted for publication after 1 April 2016.
Please note: WRAP is a compliant repository.

 HEFCE OA Policy

International OA policies

OA is an international movement, with policies evolving across the globe. This information provides brief summaries of some key international policies, links to the organisational websites and full policy documents.

If you require information on a policy not listed on this webpage, please email openaccessfund at warwick dot ac dot uk.


The EU Commission has a mandate for OA in Horizon 2020; Horizon 2020 includes both 'green' and 'gold' OA measures. This policy allows a maximum embargo of 12 months through the ‘green’ route (repository deposit) or researchers can cover ‘gold’ publishing charges from their grant for the life of the project and afterwards.

Where publication is a chosen method to disseminate information, fund holders must ensure open access to all peer-reviewed scientific publications relating to results.

As soon as possible but no later than publication a copy has to be deposited in a subject, institutional (WRAP) or central repository. For those authors who take the green route, there are no costs but the embargo limit must not exceed 6 months for STEM subjects, 12 months for Social Sciences and Humanities.

Funds are available within the lifetime of the grant for open access publishing. After the end of the project there is a pilot scheme to fund such costs. The pilot only covers certain grants first check the list of eligible projects on the website. This interface can be searched by grant or can be browsed by institution.

Each eligible grant only has the option of funding three articles and a maximum of €2,000 per article. If you are not the grant’s PI please double check with them before applying for funding. To apply register with the website and the system will lead you through the application process. Please note the system will only allow you to apply once the article has been accepted.
Gold open access publications must also be deposited in an acceptable repository.

For enquiries related to EU OA and Horizon 2020, please contact Mafalda Picarra at the European Commission's UK OA helpdesk info dot openaire at jisc dot ac dot uk.

  Full Horizon 2020 OA guidelines


Ireland's National Principles for Open Access Policy Statement was formerly adopted by the Irish Government in October 2012. The policy is in line with the Horizon 2020 policy for Europe. Further information can be found at the following websites:


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has an OA mandate, the NIH Public Access policy, which requires deposit of published papers into PubMed Central (PMC) and currently allows up to a 12-month embargo. The NIH Public Access policy is a condition of award.

A US open-access policy was announced by White House in February 2013


The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) was adopted in September 2007, the first North American public research funder to do so. The CIHR, National Research Council and the International Development Research Centre all require at least Green OA.


The Australian Research Council’s (ARC) OA policy took effect from 1 January 2013. The ARC now requires that any publications arising from an ARC supported research project must be deposited into an open access institutional repository within a 12 month period from the date of publication.

Other countries around the world

OA is firmly embedded in the policies of several other countries such as Brazil, Argentina and Hungary, and international organisations such as the World Bank and UNESCO.

  Information on other funder OA policies around the world