NIHR open access policy

For publications submitted on or after 1 June 2022, the NIHR open access policy is changing. The new open access policy will require all research articles which arise from NIHR funding to be:

  • made freely available at the time of publication
  • openly licenced

Until 1 June 2022, researchers must continue to comply with the current policy.

NIHR Policy on Open Access (to 1 June 2022)

The NIHR policy on open access  applies to any peer-reviewed research articles (including review articles not commissioned by publishers, final reports or executive summaries) that are supported in whole or in part by NIHR funding that have been submitted for publication since 1 April 2014, and which are published.

  • For the purposes of this policy, the NIHR considers that the ‘content’ of a paper includes, but is not limited to, the text, data, images and figures within a paper.
  • The policy does not cover books, critical editions, volumes and catalogues, or forms of non-peer-reviewed material. However, the NIHR encourages authors of such material to consider making them open access where possible.

How do I comply?

You must make your work open access via publishing open access in a journal or publishing platform or self-archiving a version of the work (green open access).

  • You are required to include funding information within the acknowledgement section of the paper. 
  • If applicable, you are required to include a statement on how underlying research materials, such as data, samples or models, can be accessed.

Publishing open access in a journal or publishing platform (gold open access)

Check the publishing open access information page to find out if you are eligible to publish OA in a journal or publishing platform (gold OA), and to make an application for funding.

  • If the chosen journal is not part of an institutional publisher agreement, it is expected that award holders will make provision from their funding award to cover the costs of publishing in an open access journal (previous transition arrangements have been withdrawn).
  • If necessary, researchers may need to contact the awarding NIHR coordinating centre to discuss covering open access costs.
  • This requirement does not apply to any recipient of NIHR funding prior to 1 April 2014, who remain under the requirements of their original contract. However, it is recommended that these award holders contact the appropriate NIHR managing centre to discuss publication.

On publication, you are also encouraged by the University to deposit a copy of the final PDF of your 'gold' OA publication into University of Birmingham Research Archive (UBIRA), using PURE.

Self-archiving (green open access)

NIHR permits self-archiving (green open access) with a six-month embargo.

Use Sherpa Romeo to check your publishers’ policy is compatible with your funders self-archiving policy.

To self-archive, deposit the Accepted Author Manuscript (AAM) of your publication using Pure immediately on acceptance. Ensure your publication is linked to the grant using the ‘Projects’ link in PURE.

  • The accepted version is also known as the authors final manuscript, or post print.
  • It is the version after peer review and before final publisher formatting or copy-editing.

Ensure that you or your publisher has deposited to Europe PMC so it is freely available immediately or within six months on publication. 

Should a researcher inform the relevant NIHR managing centre of their wish to publish a paper in a journal that is unwilling to agree either to the overarching aims of this policy, or to deposition of the manuscript in Europe PMC within six months of publication, NIHR may, in exceptional and merited circumstance, grant permission for the author to submit the paper for publication in such a journal.

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