University of Aberdeen Open Access Fund 

The University receives a block grant to support open access publishing of UKRI funded research; the University also receives money from the Wellcome Trust and a small grant from The British Heart Foundation (BHF) to support open access publishing arising from their funded research grants.

Together these block grants constitute the University of Aberdeen Open Access Fund. 

UKRI Block Grant

**Update December 2020**

The UKRI block grant has now been exhausted for the current year 2020/21. There are no central funds available for open access. The next allocation is due in April 2021. Wherever possible please choose a journal that will allow open access at no cost through one of our open access publishing agreements below or take the green route to open access. Any new requests for APCs will need to be covered by your school at the discretion of your Director of Research.  Any questions can be directed to Joanna Adams, Scholarly Communications Officer. 

The funding allocated by UKRI is insufficient to allow compliance with their open access policy via the Gold Route. There has been a growing shortfall of funds for a number of years which have been met from institutional resources. In the current climate this is no longer possible. For this reason, in April 2020 we changed our policy of spending the block grant on a first-come-first-served basis. We now only pay Article Processing Charges (APCs) for original peer-reviewed research articles and non-commissioned review articles published in fully gold open access journals as listed in the Open Access Publisher Agreements. This aimed to ensure that the block grant covered our costs while allowing authors the freedom to publish in the journal of their choice. However we have seen an increased demand for APCs in fully open access journals in 2020 and it has been necessary to apply further restrictions from 1st November 2020.

The following restrictions will be applied with immediate effect

  • Before submitting an article to a journal which charges an APC you must have approval from the Director of Research for your school and contact to ensure funds are available.
  • APCs in hybrid (subscription) journals will not be paid. The green route to open access must be taken for these journals unless they are included in one of our Open Access Publisher Agreements.
  • Only APCs for original peer-reviewed research articles published in fully gold open access journals as listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) will be paid.
  • APCs above £2,500 will not be covered by the block grant.
  • Any shortfall in the block grant must be covered by the school’s own limited open access budget.

COAF Block Grant

COAF ended on 30 September 2020.  All partners are committed to open access and will continue to fund open access costs for the researchers they support.

Up until September 2020 The Wellcome Trust and Charities Open Access Fund (COAF) provided funds to pay APCs for publishing refereed journal articles arising from Wellcome Trust and the affiliated charities funded research grants. COAF included Wellcome, Bloodwise, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Parkinson’s UK and Versus Arthritis.

See below for current partner open access policies;

British Heart Foundation (BHF) have provided a small grant to cover APCs funded by their research grants. Read the BHF Open Access Policy. Funds are limited; additional funds will not be provided when the grant has been exhausted, please contact to ensure that funds are available before committing to any open access publication. 

CRUK have confirmed that they will not provide a block grant to the University of Aberdeen. Researchers may use any unspent grant funds to pay for APCs. Alternatively, until January 2022, authors can comply with the CRUK open access policy by self-archiving their publication in Europe PMC within 6 months, if the publisher permits. 

Versus Arthritis funded authors can make open access funding requests directly to Versus Arthritis via their Grant Tracker account. See the Versus Arthritis webapges for more information. Versus Arthritis plan to consult with their research communities and the charity over the next 12 months to create a future-focussed and sustainable Open Access policy for the long term with the aim to launch this new policy in January 2022. 


Wellcome Trust have a new open access policy. The new open access policy applies to research articles submitted for publication on or after 1st January 2021.

Wellcome grant holders should read Complying with our OA policy for detailed practical guidance on how to comply.

In summary

  • All research articles acknowledging Wellcome funding must be made freely available in PubMed Central and Europe PubMed Central by the official publication date.
  • Articles must be published under a CC BY licence unless Wellcome has authorised the exception to use a CC BY-ND licence.
  • All research articles supported in whole, or in part, by Wellcome must include a statement explaining how other researchers can access any data, original software or materials underpinning the research. This is in line with Wellcome’s data, software and materials management and sharing policy.
  • Wellcome-funded researchers are strongly encouraged to post preprints of their completed manuscripts on platforms indexed by Europe PMC (under a CC BY licence) and where there is a significant public health benefit to preprints being shared widely and rapidly, such as a disease outbreak, the posting of preprints will be mandatory.
  • Wellcome will no longer cover the costs of APCs in hybrid journals.
  • Articles may be made gold open access in hybrid journals only if they are covered by one of our open access publishing agreements.
  • Wellcome provided a small block grant that has been fully allocated for this year
  • Funds were provided to cover fair and reasonable article processing charges (APCs) for articles published in fully OA journals or platforms that:
  • As before Wellcome do not fund any non-OA publication costs (for example colour, page charges etc).
  • Wellcome are committed to making sure that when we assess research outputs during funding decisions, we consider the intrinsic merit of the work, not the title of the journal or publisher. The University of Aberdeen has become a signatory of DORA which will help facilitate this requirement.


To assist authors in complying with the new policy an update to Wellcome research grant conditions has been made to include:

  • a new condition that all grantholders will automatically grant a CC BY public copyright licence to all their future Author Accepted Manuscripts. This will apply to manuscripts that are:
  • reporting original research
  • supported in whole, or in part, by Wellcome grant funding.
  • an update to the existing condition whereby grantholders must also include the following statement on all submissions of original research to peer-reviewed journals:

'This research was funded in whole, or in part, by the Wellcome Trust [Grant number]. For the purpose of Open Access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.'

These changes seek to ensure that grantholders (and anyone supported/associated with the Wellcome research grant) can:

continue to publish in any journal they choose (provided it accepts that Author Accepted Manuscripts arising from submissions from Wellcome-funded researchers will already be licensed under a prior CC BY licence)


retain the necessary intellectual property rights to remain compliant with the Wellcome OA policy.

Wellcome Block Grant

The Wellcome block grant has been fully allocated for this year.

When planning to publish Wellcome funded research

  • Check whether there is a suitable journal covered by one of our open access publishing agreements or that offers a compliant green open access route
  • Use the Journal Checker Tool(opens in a new tab) to check if your preferred journal enables you to comply with our policy and, if so, which route you should use
  • If not, then we will contact Welcome to request additional funds for open access
  • Do not submit a paper to an open access journal that requires a fee to publish before ensuring that funds will be made available
  • Any shortfall in the block grant must be covered by your school who also has limited funds for open access

Articles submitted for publication up until 31 December 2020 must comply with the original Wellcome open access policy. Publication in a journal covered by one of our Open Access Publisher Agreements  or with a green open access route is preferred. Green open access is when a version of the article, usually the author’s accepted manuscript, can be deposited in PubMed Central no later than 6 months after first online publication. While funds are available, it may be possible to publish gold open access where the final published version of the article is made immediately available under a CC-BY Creative Commons licence and is deposited in PubMed Central

Applying for funding from the Block Grant

**The Block Grant for all funders has been fully allocated and no requests for funding will be accepted until further notice. Contact for further information.**

Please check that your article is eligible for funding from the block grant and that funds are available before you submit to a journal that requires an APC to publish. You can do this by emailing with the following details (an APC form is no longer required):

  • Your name, school and email address
  • Journal and publisher
  • Article title
  • Funder name and external id

If your article is eligible you will be provided with further information on how to proceed with requesting an invoice.

In order to comply with UKRI, Wellcome or BHF policy you must publish under the CC-BY Creative Commons licence and you must acknowledge the external grant reference number in the published article. To be eligible for funding from the block grant either the corresponding author or PI of a current research grant (if expired must be within the last 5 years) should be currently affiliated to the University of Aberdeen.

Additional publication costs such as page and colour charges are not covered by any of the block grants.

You may find the SHERPA Services helpful in choosing which journal is most appropriate for your research:

SHERPA RoMEO is an online resource that aggregates and analyses publisher open access policies from around the world and provides summaries of self-archiving permissions and conditions of rights given to authors on a journal-by-journal basis.

SHERPA Juliet is a searchable database and single focal point of up-to-date information concerning funders' policies and their requirements on open access, publication and data archiving.

SHERPA Fact is a tool to help researchers check if the journals in which they wish to publish their results comply with their funder's requirements for open access to research.

SHERPA REF allows you to check if the journal in which you wish to publish (or have published in) allows you to comply with the REF requirements for open access to research


Open Access Publisher Agreements

The University has several agreements with publishers that allow gold open access at no additional cost or at a discount. There is no requirement for your research output to be funded by external funders to take advantage of these deals but if you are not eligible for payment from the block grants you must have funds available to cover the APC where a cost is incurred. Please see below for details.


Corresponding authors affiliated with the University of Aberdeen are eligible for full coverage of APC and Authors ChoiceTM publication fee and all additional publication costs for articles published in full Open Access and hybrid journals (subscription journals with an Open Access option). Authors should always indicate their affiliation with the University during submission and should include information on their grants in the Funding Sources section of their papers. See the Karger webpages or contact us for more information.

Brill Journals Bridging Agreement

As of 1 January 2020, corresponding authors from University of Aberdeen may publish research and review articles Open Access under a CC-BY Creative Commons licence in any of Brill's journals. Submit your article to your journal contact at Brill with the request to publish in Open Access and indicate that you are an author affiliated to University of Aberdeen. Once accepted the article will be published in Open Access right away and free of charge. If you submit your article through Editorial Manager, you will be asked during the submission process whether you are eligible for the agreement. Once accepted, the article will be published in Open Access right away and free of charge. Please see the Brill webpages or contact for more information.

Cambridge University Press Read and Publish Agreement

Corresponding authors affiliated to the University of Aberdeen may publish original research articles open access at no additional cost through our Cambridge University Press (CUP) Agreement. The agreement applies to articles accepted for publication between 1st January 2021 and 31st December 2024. Both hybrid and fully open access titles are included. See the CUP webpages for a list of participating journals and for further information. Please choose the CC BY Creative Commons licence. Contact us with any queries.

Royal Society of Chemistry

Corresponding authors affiliated to the University of Aberdeen have the option to publish open access in Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) hybrid journals at no additional cost. Use your institutional email address to ensure that the publisher identifies as you as eligible for the scheme and you will be offered Gold Open Acess Publication for free. Please choose the CC-BY Creative Commons licence. Further information is available on the RSC webpages or contact us with any queries.


SAGE has an agreement with the Scottish Higher Education Digital Library Consortium (SHEDL) to cover open access article processing charges (APCs) for affiliated corresponding authors. The SHEDL Agreement will run between 2020 and 2022 and includes back dating to the 1st January 2020.  

University of Aberdeen corresponding authors publishing in participating subscription journals which offer hybrid open access publishing (SAGE Choice) can be published open access, free of charge. Charges other than the author article process charge (APC) may still apply, please refer to individual journal submission guidelines. 

Author's publishing in fully open access journals will be eligible for a 20% discount on the APC.

Please see the Sage webpages for more information or contact us at


Beginning 2 March 2020, corresponding authors affiliated with the University of Aberdeen may publish primary research and review articles in any of Wiley’s fully gold Open Access or Wiley’s hybrid, OnlineOpen journals at no further charge to the author.* Please see the Wiley webpages or contact for further information. *subject to availability of sufficient funds and approval from eligible institutions' Wiley Open Access Account holders. The Agreement may be limited to UKRI and Wellcome funded authors later in the year.

Taylor & Francis 

If you choose to publish open access in a Taylor & Francis Open Select journal you will be asked to contact the library who will place your order at a discounted rate.

For further information please contact


University of Aberdeen Researchers who have an article accepted for publication in a participating Springer hybrid journal will be able to publish their article open access at no extra cost under the Springer Compact Agreement

Please note that it does not apply to fully open access titles. Please select University of Aberdeen as your affiliated institution when submitting your article for publication.

For further information please contact 


We have an agreement with IOP Publishing (IOP) which enables researchers to publish their work on an open access basis at no additional cost in the majority of IOP’s hybrid journals. University of Aberdeen corresponding authors can publish in eligible journals open access without barriers, without additional cost, and be certain that they comply to any open access requirement. Research articles and reviews (letters, papers, reviews and special issue articles) accepted for publication after 1 Jan 2020 are eligible, IOP will automatically identify qualifying articles and inform authors of their inclusion.

For further information please see here or contact 

Bentham Open 

Submissions to Bentham Open Publications from authors affiliated with the University of Aberdeen are now eligible for a 50% discount on open access charges.

Please contact for further information. 


The agreement is effective from 1 December 2019 until November 2022. Corresponding authors affiliated to the University of Aberdeen are now eligible for a 10% discount on the APC. 

Please contact for further information.