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RCUK Open Access Policy: how to comply

From April 2013, a new policy will apply to all Research Councils UK (RCUK) funded research: New RCUK Policy on Open Access. The information below is based on the guidance provided by RCUK, and expands on the document for St Andrews researchers RCUK OA policy briefing (PDF, 248 KB).

Aim: The RCUK Policy on Open Access aims to achieve immediate, unrestricted, on-line access to peer-reviewed and published scholarly research papers, free of any access charge.

Scope: The policy applies to peer-reviewed research papers, which acknowledge Research Council funding, that are submitted for publication from 1stApril 2013, and which are published in journals or conference proceedings.

For peer-reviewed research papers supported by any of the Research Councils, researchers are expected to check the relevant steps in this list before submitting an article to a journal. (Note there are additional requirements for MRC and ESRC-funded outputs.) If you need help with finding any of the information below, Library staff can help you – email open-access-support

STEP 1: Check if your chosen journal is compliant with the RCUK policy. You can use the SHERPA/RoMEO database of publisher policies, or the new SHERPA/FACT service (Beta version)

STEP 2: To comply with the policy, ensure you have acknowledged the funding that supported the research in your paper, using the format: "This work was supported by the xxxx Research Council [grant number xxxx]."

STEP 3: If applicable, include a statement in your paper on how the underlying research materials – such as data, samples or models – can be accessed. Contact Research-computing for advice on Research Data Management.

STEP 4: Choose your route to open access - follow the 'green' or 'gold' option and complete the process as described below.

STEP 5: Use PURE to help with reporting - link publications with projects and information about data.

'Green' open access – depositing in a repository

  • Check if the publisher permits deposit of the author final version of articles in an institutional repository, such as Research@StAndrews:FullText, the University’s institutional repository. You can do this by using the SHERPA/FACT tool, by checking with repository staff in the University Library, or by asking your publisher. Note that some publishers require an embargo period before papers may be made open access in institutional repositories. Check the embargo period allowed by your funder via the summary of policies.
  • If deposit is permitted, upload the author version of your article to PURE (Research information system). This should be your accepted manuscript incorporating peer-review comments, not the final published version. The preferred file format is PDF (Word files can be converted to PDF). Illustrations etc. can be added as a separate file if necessary.
  • Repository staff in the Library will check copyright policies, version and any embargo periods and make the full text publicly available in our repository. 
Add document to PURE

In PURE, create a new Research output or edit existing content and click on 'Add document'

In the dialogue box that opens:

  • Click 'Browse' and select your file
  • Select Visibility (usually the default 'Publicly accessible')
  • Select Type if other than the default 'Text'
  • Select the correct document version, usually 'Author final version (often known as postprint)'
  • Click 'Create'
  • Accept the storage licence

The Library will check version and any embargo periods, and add appropriate copyright statements. Your document will then be stored in Research@StAndrews:FullText.

A link will then appear in your Research output on the PURE Portal.

If the publisher does not permit deposit in an institutional repository, check if instead they permit deposit of your own final version of your article in a subject repository, such as Europe PubMed Central. If this is permitted, see information on the deposit process at Europe PMC+

Note, MRC-funded researchers are required to deposit their outputs in Europe PMC. See more on the MRC OA policy.
Note, ESRC-funded researchers are required to deposit their outputs in the ESRC research catalogue. See more on the ESRC OA policy.

For help with depositing full text, contact Library staff at open-access-support

'Gold' open access – publish in an open access journal or pay for open access option

  • If the publisher does not permit you to deposit a peer-reviewed version of your paper in either an institutional or a subject repository within an acceptable embargo period, check if they have a paid open access option (e.g. Wiley-Blackwell Online Open, Springer Open Choice, Elsevier Open Access).
  • If an APC is paid, the RCUK policy states that the published article must be made available using a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence. See a description of the CC-BY licence at
  • Funds to pay Article Processing Charges (APCs) can be claimed as 'directly incurred costs' if already allocated in an existing grant. Otherwise, contact open-access-support to make a claim on the RCUK block grant to pay the APC. There may be membership and discount schemes available for you to use to reduce the APC costs.
  • There are an increasing number of completely open access journals where you may choose to publish, with peer review carried out in the same way as for subscription journals (e.g. Scientific Reports, PLoS ONE, and BMC journals). New business models and methods of peer review are also appearing. To find an open access journal in your subject area try the Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Note, MRC-funded researchers are required to check that the journal will deposit the article in Europe PMC, or allow the author to do so. See more on the MRC OA policy.
    , ESRC-funded researchers are also required to deposit their article in the ESRC research catalogue. See more on the ESRC OA policy.

Link publication and project in PURE

PURE can help to provide acknowledgement to funders and establish relationships with projects and research activities. By linking projects and publications we can expose and promote research outcomes for funded projects.

Adding Related Projects in PURE
  • In the Metadata editor for your research output, scroll down to the section marked Relations
  • Click on the Add project button
  • Search for your funded project by title, author, grant ID or funder
  • Select the appropriate project to Relate it to your publication

Link underlying data

You can also describe and relate information about underlying data by using PURE. Quick steps to do this are:  use 'Add New' to create a record for the research data (Research Output > Non-textual form › Data set/Database), scroll down to the section marked Relations>Click on the 'Add Research Output' button>Search for and Select your publication.

Policy evolution, reporting and compliance

RCUK recognises that the journey to full Open Access is a process and not a single event and therefore it expects compliance to grow over a transition period anticipated to be five years; RCUK will undertake a comprehensive, evidence-based review of the effectiveness and impact of its Open Access policy in 2014 and periodically thereafter; RCUK is mindful that the impact of its policy on different disciplinary areas is likely to be varied and has therefore made allowance for a different pace of adjustment by permitting different embargo periods across the disciplines supported by the Research Councils.

For further questions, please contact:

Blue notebooks

Library Open Access Support

Email: open-access-suppor