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 open access funding page 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.

For further details on the policy and how to comply, please visit our Meeting UKRI (RCUK) open access requirements page.


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.

After a period of review and consultation, UKRI announced its single open access policy on 6 August 2021. The new policy will apply to peer-reviewed research articles submitted from 1 April 2022 and to long-form publications from 1 January 2024.


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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.

Note:  The REF 2021 publication period closed on 31 December 2020 but researchers should continue to comply with the requirements of the REF 2021 OA 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 COAF partnership, which began in October 2014, ceased on 30 September 2020. The mechanisms for supporting open access now vary across the individual charities. Please visit our Health Charities page for more information.


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