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RCUK Open Access Policy: how to comply

In April 2013 Research Councils UK (RCUK) introduced a combined policy for open access to funded research outputs: RCUK Policy on Open Access.

Scope: The policy applies to peer-reviewed research papers, which acknowledge Research Council funding, and which are published in journals or conference proceedings. (Note there are additional requirements for MRC-funded outputs).

If you need help with 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 using the SHERPA/FACT service

STEP 2: 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-data for advice on Research Data Management.

STEP 4: Choose your route to open access - for hybrid (subscription-based) journals follow the 'Green' option and complete the process as described below. For fully open access journals (as listed in DOAJ) contact the Open Access team to check funds are available, and follow the 'Gold' route.

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


'Green' open access – depositing in a repository

  • The University of St Andrews preference is for 'Green' open access where possible.
  • Upload the author version of your article to PURE (Research information system)This should be your author 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. See our quick guide on How to deposit in Pure.
  • Library staff will check copyright policies, version and any embargo periods and make the full text publicly available in our repository. 
How to deposit in PURE



Note: MRC-funded researchers are also required to deposit their outputs in Europe PMC within 6 months of publication. See more on the MRC OA policy and see information on the deposit process at Europe PMC+

For help with depositing full text, contact Library staff at


'Gold' open access – publish in a fully open access journal

From Nov 2017: The current RCUK block grant is available to pay APCs for articles published in fully OA journals only (as listed in

  • While funds are available, Article Processing Charges (APCs) can be claimed from the RCUK block grant by sending the following details to Open Access Support
    • Your name, School and email address
    • Journal and publisher
    • Article title, manuscript ID or DOI
    • Date of acceptance
    • RCUK funder name and external Grant ID
  • If an APC is paid, you must choose a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence. See a description of the CC-BY licence at
  • There may be membership and discount schemes available for you to use to reduce the APC costs
  • To find an open access journal in your subject area search 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 additional MRC OA policy. In exceptions we may be able to fund APCs in hybrid journals for MRC-funded articles.

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. See Pure user guides

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 (select 'Dataset'). Once complete, scroll down to the section marked Relations>Click on the 'Add Research Output' button>Search for and Select your publication.

Additional support for Research Data Management available from

For further questions about open access, please contact: