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Open access policy

Open access publishing

We are a champion of "open access" publishing in science. This allows readers to access papers free of charge, without print or online journal subscription charges.

The aim is to broaden opportunities for high-quality research findings to be widely disseminated and freely available, to advance biomedical research worldwide.

The first MRC policy on open access was introduced in October 2006. In July 2012, the Research Councils announced a new joint policy, which came into force on 1 April 2013.

All MRC funded researchers are expected to comply with the UKRI open access policy

Any queries about this policy and its implementation should be directed to openaccess@mrc.ukri.org

UKRI open access policy and guidance

In July 2012, the Research Councils announced a new joint policy, which came into force on 1 April 2013. MRC funded researchers are expected to comply with the UKRI open access policy. The text of the policy, including additional guidance, can be found on the UKRI open access website.

UKRI open access policy FAQs

The UKRI open access policy FAQs provide further guidance for researchers regarding the policy, advantages of the policy and how to comply.

Additional MRC open access FAQs

What is Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC)?

  • Europe PubMed Central is a stable, permanent and free-to-access digital archive of the full text, peer-reviewed research publications (and datasets) that arise from research funded by the MRC, the Wellcome Trust and other members of the Europe PMC Funders Group
  • Europe PMC comprises of three key systems: One, a mirror of the data held in PMC, subject to permission from those publishers that participate in PMC. Two, an author manuscript submission and tracking system, at Europe PubMed Central plus (Europe PMC plus), with supporting document conversion services. Three, a system to provide authenticated login services to the submission system. Further details can be found on the Europe PMC pages.

What is the current MRC policy in support of open and unrestricted access to the research literature?

  • MRC-funded researchers are expected to follow the UKRI policy.
  • The UKRI open access policy outlines requirements for biomedical research, as well as requirements to archive in Europe PMC (see 3.6 Embargoes and 3.8 Repositories).

How can I find out whether my journal has an MRC-compliant policy with regard to depositing my manuscript in Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC)?

  • The Sherpa Fact database, developed by the University of Nottingham, provides information – at the journal title level – as to whether or not a journal has a publication policy that is compliant with the UKRI open access policy.

Which MRC awards does the UKRI policy apply to?

  • The UKRI policy applies to papers related to MRC award made after 1 October 2006 (and after 1 June 2007 for intramural programmes), as was the case before MRC open access policy was replaced by the UKRI open access policy.

How should I pay APCs if my grant was awarded before the 1st April 2013?

  • Since 1 April 2013, all the main HEIs have received a block grant to cover research publications costs. All publication costs related to papers covered by the UKRI policy are no longer included in research councils’ grants (see section 3.7 of the Applicant Handbook (PDF, 897KB)).
  • However, as the MRC already had an open access policy since 2006, most existing grants, awarded before the 1 April 2013 will have included some funding for publication costs.
  • The research councils expect researchers to use up funding allocated for publications costs in their grants first, and then if the money has run out, or was never allocated in the grant, to use the UKRI block grant funding.
  • If the grant has ended, but papers are still produced based on the work funded through an MRC grant, then the researchers should call on the open access block grant for funding.

Are reviews subject to the UKRI policy?

  • Review articles that are not commissioned by publishers and that are peer-reviewed are subject to the UKRI policy. Such reviews would include systematic reviews, such as the Cochrane Reviews. Review articles should acknowledge MRC funding in the same way as research articles.

Who can I contact for more information and/or help?

MRC Frequently used journals and open access information

The MRC frequently used journals list is in the process of being updated and will be posted to this site soon.

For further information on which journals are compliant with the UKRI policy please visit the Sherpa Fact site.