How to Make Your Research Open Access

How to Make Your Research Open Access

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. 

Applying for funding from the Block Grant

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.

UKRI Block Grant

Agreements are in place with many publishers where University of Aberdeen corresponding authors can publish open access at no charge. Where there is no agreement in place funds are available to cover APCs in fully open access journals compliant with the UKRI open access policy. Please note that funds are limited. Ensure you check with that funding is available before committing to publish in a journal that charges an APC to publish. 

How to apply: UKRI Block Grant

The funding allocated by UKRI is insufficient to allow full compliance with their open access policy via the Gold Route. If your chosen journal is not covered by one of the Publisher Open Access Agreements and does not offer a green route to open access please contact for advice.  

The below policy for accessing the block grant must be strictly adhered to;

  • 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.
  • Any shortfall in the block grant must be covered by the school’s own limited open access budget.

Wellcome Trust

Wellcome Trust new policy

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 provide a small block grant, email for more information.
  • 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) and retain the necessary intellectual property rights to remain compliant with the Wellcome OA policy.

Wellcome Trust Block Grant

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

British Heart Foundation

BHF grant

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. 

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.

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 webpages 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. 

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.