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Guide: RCUK Funding & Open Access: RCUK Funding & OA Policy

Research Funders Open Access Policies

If you are in receipt of funding from RCUK, it is necessary for your outputs from the research to comply with the RCUK Policy on Open Access.

To comply with the RCUK OA requirements, you must:

  • include an acknowledgement in the paper of the source of funding that supported the research i.e. funder and grant number
  • if applicable, include a statement on how the underlying research material (such as data, samples or models) can be accessed.
  • make your paper open access.

If you are unsure about what you need to do, please get in touch with for assistance.

OA requirements

You can choose either the Green route or the Gold route for making your paper open access to comply with the policy. 

To comply via the Green route:

Your chosen journal must allow you to deposit a copy of the final accepted manuscript in a repository which can be made publically available without restriction on noncommercial re-use after no longer than the maximum embargo set by RCUK.

For work funded by BBSRC, EPSRC, MRC, NERC or STFC, the maximum embargo is 6 months.

For work funded by AHRC or ESRC, the maximum embargo is 12 months.

If you are unable to meet the OA requirements with your chosen journal, you should take the Gold route to compliance.

To comply via the Gold route:

It may be that your journal of choice does not meet the RCUK OA requirements through the no cost green route, if that is the case you can take the gold route which makes the paper immediately available at the time of online publication through the payment of an article processing charge. To comply, the journal should provide immediate and unrestricted access to the final published version of the paper, which is made available using the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) Licence.

SRUC is now in receipt of a small block grant from RCUK to cover the costs of Gold open access publishing and ensure compliance with the RCUK OA policy.

For information on how to apply for these funds, see

Once the block grant is depleted or has run out, the green route embargoes are extended to 12 months for Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine and 24 months for Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

Background & Policies

Research Councils UK is the overarching body for UK's seven Research Councils and is one of the main funding bodies in the UK.

The 'RCUK policy on Open Access' (link below) was implemented in 2012 and supports the UK Government's commitment to ensuring that publicly-funded research is made freely available. It applies to peer-reviewed research papers, which acknowledge Research Council funding. Each Research Council has its own requirements (links, where available, are given in the section below).

  • Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
  • Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
  • Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
  • Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • Medical Research Council (MRC)
  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
  • Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) [Note: Open Access requirement details are available in the Research Grants Handbook].

How to check funder requirements & journal compliance

Although the funder’s own website and any documentation provided at the issuing of the grant is the definitive place for information on requirements and conditions, there are a number of services which allow you to make quick checks on this information.

Funder Acknowledgments

Unsure how to acknowledge RCUK  as the funder in your paper?

The correct format is:

"This work was supported by the xxxx Research Council [grant number xxxx]."

Contact Us

Email with enquiries on making your papers OA, the REF OA requirements, the SRUC Repository or for further information on OA in general.