Open Access Policies

A summary of the policies that require open access, including the School policy, REF policy and RCUK/UKRI policy.

There are several policies that mandate open access.  The following is a summary of potentially applicable policies, but authors should also check their funding agreements, particularly for funders not listed below.

School Publications Policy

Applies to All staff writing papers.
Covers All types of research output accepted after 1 April 2015.
Requirement The metadata and author's final version of all papers must be entered into Pure on acceptance.
Allowable embargo Any length of publisher embargo is acceptable.
Full details

REF Open Access Policy

Applies to All staff who are likely to be included in the next REF.
Covers Journal and conference papers accepted after 1 April 2016.

Paper must be:

  • deposited in an institutional repository within 3 months of the date of acceptance;
  • made open access within a month of the end of any publisher embargo, or within a month of deposit if no embargo applies.
Allowable embargo

For most Informatics staff an embargo period of 12 months will be allowable.  Staff who will be submitted to a non-Informatics REF UoA may have a longer embargo.  Staff who are uncertain which UoA they will be submitted with should contact the Director of Research.

Exceptions may be available where the publisher requires a longer embargo – please contact the RDM team for more details (

Full details

Local information at

REF2021 open occess policy in paragraphs 223-255 of the Guidance on submissions at

Research England (previously HEFCE) information and FAQs at

Additional tool

Authors can check if a journal allows compliance with REF open acces policy through the SHERPA REF tool. Informatics authors should select REF Main Panels A and B (Sciences, Technology and Medicine).

Check journal REF compliance on the SHERPA REF website

RCUK/UKRI Open Access Policy 

Applies to

Journal and conference papers produced from RCUK funded research (councils under UKRI from April 2018).

UKRI will uphold RCUK Open Access Policy as it stands. No review changes to the policy will take effect until after REF2021.

Covers Journal and conference papers accepted after 1 April 2013.
  • RCUK funding must be acknowledged within the paper
  • paper must be made open access within:
    • immediately if the publisher offers Gold OA and funding is available.
    • 6 months if the publisher does not offer Gold OA, or if research is MRC funded;
    • 12 months for research in STEM disciplines if the publisher offers Gold OA but there is no funding available;
    • 24 months for research in Arts and Humanities disciplines if the publisher offer Gold OA but there is no funding available.
Allowable embargo Variable dependent on discipline,  publisher policies and funding availability.
Full details

UKRI principles on Open Access:

UKRI reference to existing RCUK OA policy and FAQs

Additional tool

Authors can check if a journal allows compliance with select funder's Open Access policy through the SHERPA/FACT tool. 

Check journal/funder compliance on the SHERPA/FACT website

Horizon 2020

Applies to All work produced from Horizon 2020 grants.
Covers Peer reviewed scientific publications.
  • deposit a copy of the paper in an institutional repository
  • ensure the paper is made open access
Allowable embargo 6 months
Full details