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

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, we have changed our policy of spending the block grant on a first-come-first-served basis. We will 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 Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). We will no longer pay APCs in hybrid (subscription) journals. The green route to open access must be taken for these journals unless they are included in one of our Open Access Publisher Agreements. This will ensure that the block grant covers our costs while allowing authors the freedom to publish in the journal of their choice.

Where there is a strong case that gold open access is essential to ensure required research impact an exception can be made to the policy. This must be approved by your School Director of Research. We will also cover APCs in hybrid journals for MRC funded research where the green embargo exceeds 6 months as long as funds are available.

Apply for funding from the UKRI block grant 

COAF Block Grant

COAF ended on 30 September 2020. COAF relied on all partners sharing a common open access (OA) policy. This will no longer be the case from January 2021 when Wellcome implements its Plan S-aligned OA policy. 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 have provided a block grant. The Wellcome open access policy will change on 1st Jan 2021. Read details of  the Wellcome Open Access Policy; including the current policy and the changes that will coem into effect from January 2021.

Apply for funding from the Wellcome and BHF block grant

These budgets may be used to cover APCs for:

  • original peer-reviewed research articles
  • non-commissioned review articles
  • not-invited review articles
  • study protocols


Until January 2021 the article must be published in a journal with a Wellcome compliant open access policy. Green open access is the preferred route where 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. However, where this is not possible funds will be made available 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.

From 1 January 2021 a new open access policy will come into effect. Read details of the new Wellcome Open Access Policy effective from January 2021.

Applying for Funds from the Block Grant

Please check that your article is eligible for funding from the block grant. 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 2020 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.

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


**Update**  From 12 October Jisc and Wiley have taken the decision to limit this agreement to research funded by Wellcome, UKRI, Blood Cancer UK, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Parkinson’s UK and Versus Arthritis only to guarantee that all research funded by these organisations will be published open access in 2020. We expect the agreement to re-open to reseachers without funding from these organisations in 2021. Further information to follow.

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

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.