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Open access policies

Multiple open access (OA) policies will apply to your research, including the University of Nottingham, Research Excellence Framework (REF) and various funder policies.

On this page:


The University of Nottingham open access policy

The University of Nottingham OA policy supports a mixed green and gold model of open access.

All research papers (including journal articles, conference proceedings, book chapters and similar material), where copyright allows, should be made available in an open access form upon publication. 

All academic staff are required to make their research outputs open access wherever possible through the University repository (RIS):

  • All research papers including journal articles, conference proceedings, book chapters and similar material, either in the form of the author's final manuscript or the formally-published version, where copyright allows, should be deposited in RIS upon acceptance for publication or as soon as possible thereafter.
  • Where it is not possible to deposit an open access version of the full-text of the paper, a record of the publication should be created in the repository with a link to an externally held version.
  • Where external funding is available to meet the costs of open access article processing charges (APCs), researchers should take advantage of opportunities to publish their work with immediate open access upon publication.

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UKRI (RCUK) open access policy

A single OA policy was adopted in 2013 by the seven UK research councils (EPSRC, BBSRC, ESRC, AHRC, MRC, NERC and STFC), under the umbrella of Research Councils UK (RCUK). 

Peer-reviewed research papers which result from research that is wholly or partially funded by the Research Councils:

  • must be published in journals which are compliant with Research Council policy on open access.
  • must include details of the funding that supported the research - see our making your publications count webpage for the exact format for acknowledgements.
  • must include a statement on how the underlying research materials – such as data, samples or models – can be accessed.


Note: On 1 April 2018 a new body was created called  UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) which comprises: the seven research councils formerly grouped as RCUK; Research England; and Innovate UK.

UKRI is currently undertaking an  Open Access Review which will also consider the OA policy of the post-2021 REF and alignment with  Plan S principles.  A proposed policy was issued and UKRI invited views on it as part of a consultation which ran from 13 February 2020 to 29 May 2020. 


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REF 2021 open access policy

The REF OA policy forms part of the REF 2021 Guidance on Submissions (REF 2019/01). The policy applies to journal articles and conference papers in publications with an ISSN

  • Any article or conference paper accepted for publication from 1 April 2016 must be made open access to be eligible for submission in REF 2021.
  • The appropriate version, usually the  author's accepted manuscript, of an output must be deposited in an institutional repository i.e. RIS (or subject repository) within three months of acceptance (three months of publication until 1 April 2018).
  • Gold and green routes to OA are acceptable.
  • Embargo periods for green OA must not exceed the following maxima: 12 months for REF main panels A and B or 24 months for REF main panels C and D.
  • The REF 2021 OA policy makes allowances where there are legitimate barriers to open access and these are listed as exceptions in the policy. See our Meeting REF requirements page for further details.

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Other funders' open access policies

SHERPA Juliet is a database detailing funders' policies on gold and green OA and claiming OA funding. You can use it to find details on the policies of most University funders not covered here e.g. Horizon 2020, Leverhulme Trust, NIHR.

The Charity Open Access Fund (COAF) is a collaboration between a number of funders. You can claim funds for article processing charges (APCs) from COAF via a block grant provided to the University. The funders covered are:

  • Blood Cancer UK (formerly Bloodwise)
  • British Heart Foundation
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Parkinson's UK
  • Versus Arthritis
  • Wellcome Trust

You can read further details on the open access policies of these funders from the links on the COAF website. The Wellcome Trust has additional requirements and funds to support making scholarly monographs and book chapters open access.

The COAF partnership, which began in October 2014, will cease on 30 September 2020. Thereafter, the mechanisms for supporting open access will vary across the individual charities.

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