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Durham University



Researchers are now expected to comply with an increasing number of open access policies; from their University, research funders and Research England (formerly HEFCE) for the next REF. Summary details of key policies affecting Durham University researchers are below and available to download. However, we strongly advise you to follow the links to the full policies to ensure you are fully compliant with the requirements of your particular funder(s).

Senate agreed the Durham University Open Access Policy in January 2013 and last updated it in June 2017. Here are its main requirements:

  • Authors must provide their final accepted peer-reviewed manuscripts for deposit in DRO within 3 months of acceptance for publication
  • Applies to peer-reviewed journal articles and published conference papers published since January 2013
  • Embargo periods specified in copyright agreements must be respected
  • Authors are also required, where possible, to deposit other output formats, eg book chapters, reports and 'grey' literature
  • Authors should ensure, where possible, that any new copyright agreements they sign permit their final accepted peer-reviewed manuscripts to be deposited in DRO, preferably with an embargo period of no more than 6 months

The full policy is available on the Research and Innovation Services web pages.


The Academic Progression Committee agreed, where possible, that all publications referred to in promotion applications and probation reports must provided for deposit in DRO:

  • Applies to outputs published since January 2013 - but recognising that this may not be possible for a small-number of publications and some formats of research output
  • Details of outputs published before January 2013 must appear on authors' Durham web profiles and, where possible, should also be provided for deposit in DRO

There are new open access requirements for REF 2021 which apply to:

  • Scholarly journal articles and conference papers published in proceedings with an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
  • Accepted for publication from 1 April 2016 onwards

There is both a DEPOSIT and an OPEN ACCESS requirement:

DEPOSIT requirement
Final accepted peer-reviewed manuscripts must be deposited in either an institutional or subject repository as soon as possible after the date of acceptance, and no later than 3 months after this date
ACCESS requirement
Deposited papers must be available open access within 1 month of deposit, if there is no publisher-imposed embargo. If there is an embargo, papers must be available no later than 1 month after the following Research England's (formerly HEFCE) maximum embargo periods:
  • 12 months for papers submitted to REF Panels A and B
  • 24 months for Panels C and D

If your chosen journal has a longer embargo period, you can request Research England exempt your paper from the OPEN ACCESS requirement. But you still must DEPOSIT it on time. There are a number of other policy exceptions - but they are expected to be used sparingly.

Research England's full policy is available on their website where there is also a useful and often updated FAQ.

UK Research Councils (formerly RCUK) requires journal articles and published conference papers submitted for publication from 1 April 2013 to be available either via the Gold or Green route to open access.

Video overview of the policy (duration less than 2 minutes).

  • Final published version immediately and freely available from publisher's own website
  • Published under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY)
  • Likely to require payment of an Article Processing Charge (APC) to the publisher

The University receives a block grant from the UK Research Councils to pay APCs. See details of how to apply.

  • Final accepted peer-reviewed manuscript deposited in a repository
  • No particular licence type specified (unlike for Gold), but there must be no restriction on non-commercial re-use
  • No APC payable to the publisher
  • Made open access no later than the following maximum embargo periods
UK Research Councils-Gold option No UK Research Councils-Gold option
AHRC 24 12
BBSRC 12 6
EPSRC 12 6
ESRC 24 12
MRC 6 6
NERC 12 6
STFC 12 6
  • All papers must acknowledge the UK Research Councils grant in the acknowledgements section of the paper. The following suggested wording comes from the Research Information Network (RIN).

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

    This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust [grant numbers xxxx, yyyy]; the Natural Environment Research Council [grant number zzzz]; and the Economic and Social Research Council [grant number aaaa]

  • If appropriate, include a statement about how any underpinning research data can be accessed. But check your funder's policy for any guidance on how they want the statement worded. The Data Curation Centre (DCC) has links to the major funders' websites. Note that the UK Research Councils policy does not require the data to be available open access. Your statement could just state the reason why it can't. For example, for reasons of commercial confidentiality or concerns about identifying the people who took part in the research.

Here is the full policy.

Wellcome's policy applies to most peer-reviewed research publications including book chapters and monographs. The only publications that don't have to to be available open access are editorials, letters, conference proceedings, review articles and study protocols. Here are policy's main requirements:

  • Peer-reviewed journal articles must be available in PubMed Central (PMC) and Europe PMC
  • Either the final published version - likely to require payment of an Article Processing Charge (APC) to the publisher - or the author's final accepted peer-reviewed manuscript
  • Wellcome will pay the APC if the paper is published under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY) and the publisher deposits the paper in PMC/Europe PMC immediately upon publication
  • If opting for manuscript deposit in a repository, it must be available open access within 6 months of publication - but embargo periods specified in copyright agreements must be respected
  • Scholarly book chapters and monographs must be made available through PMC Bookshelf and Europe PMC as soon as possible, at the latest within 6 months of publication
  • Wellcome will pay open access charges for monographs
  • Although Wellcome strongly prefer monographs to be published under a CC-BY licence, they will accept CC-BY-NC or CC-BY-NC-ND
  • Sanctions for non-compliance with the policy apply to research papers published since 1 October 2009 and monographs and book chapters with publishing contracts signed after 1 October 2014
    • 10% of final grant payment will be withheld
    • No new grants issued or funding renewed
    • Non-compliant publications will be removed from future grant applications

Full details are on Wellcome's website.


Check grant agreement for 'Special Clause 39' containing details of specific requirements, but the ERC's general requirements are:

  • Strong encouragement to use discipline-specific repositories (ie Europe PMC, arXiv and OAPEN library for monographs)
  • Outputs must be deposited immediately upon publication
  • Final accepted peer-reviewed manuscripts OR published versions if published 'Gold' open access
  • Deposited files made open access as soon as possible, and no later than maximum embargo in the 'Special Clause'
  • Open access fees are eligible costs and can be charged against the grant provided they have been incurred during the project
  • Researchers advised to retain research data files used dand be prepared to share
  • Focus of policy is on journal articles, but open access to other publication types is strongly encouraged
  • Grant holders can choose either the Gold or Green route to open access
  • But all papers must be deposited in a repository (ie institutional, subject or centralised) - even if you 'go Gold'
  • Papers to be deposited as soon as possible, upon publication at the latest
  • Final accepted peer-reviewed manuscripts must be available open access no later than 6 months after publication or 12 months for social science or humanities outputs
  • Article Processing Charges (APC) can be indicated in grant applications
  • APCs incurred after the project end are not eligible for reimbursement
  • Whether going Gold or Green, funding must be acknowledged in the repository record and include the following:
  • Terms ["European Union (EU)" and "Horizon 2020"]["Euratom" and "Euratom research and training programme 2014-2018"]
  • Name of the action, acronym and grant number
  • Publication date, length of embargo period if applicable and a persistent identifier (eg a DOI)
  • Research data needed to validate results should also be deposited at the same time, ideally into a data repository
  • No obligation to make the data available open access (although it is welcomed) unless part of the Open Research Data Pilot

Full details are in the Guidelines on Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data in Horizon 2020. There's also a FAQ.