Charities Open Access Fund disbanded

The Charities Open Access Fund (COAF) was a partnership between several UK medical funders to enable free and unrestricted access to the published outputs of funded research.

COAF partner charities

  • Versus Arthritis (formerly Arthritis Research UK) 
  • Blood Cancer UK (formerly Bloodwise)
  • British Heart Foundation
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Parkinson's UK
  • Wellcome Trust

The coalition of charities that made up the Charities Open Access Fund (COAF) disbanded at the end of September 2020. This is a consequence of diverging Open Access Policies from 1 January 2021 and in particular the new Plan S aligned OA policy being adopted by Wellcome Trust.

Changes to gold open access funding

OA institutional block grants

Of the six charities making up COAF, Wellcome Trust, British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK will continue to operate under an institutional block grant arrangement. Library Services will therefore be able to continue to administer those block grants, processing applications and payments for their use in accordance with each of the funder's OA policies. 

To check eligibility for the block grants, we require an APC request form to be completed before submission to the journal.

Funders not providing institutional OA block grants

Versus Arthritis, Blood Cancer UK and Parkinson's UK have indicated that APC payments from 1 October 2020 should be paid directly from research grants or on a case by case basis directly via the funder.

As such unfortunately Library Services will no longer be able to administer or fund APC payments for these three charities. We would like to highlight the need for any new grant applications with those funders to consider inclusion of publishing costs.

Further guidance

We will continue to provide advice to all authors, irrespective of funder on whether particular journals offer a compliant route to meeting Open Access policies.

In that regard we would also recommend all funded authors familiarise themselves with their funders OA policy and in particular Wellcome Trust and Cancer Research UK funded authors whose policies will be changing significantly from January 2021 and 2022 respectively. The Wellcome policy changes in particular are likely to make some journals untenable as a compliant publication venue.

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