Research Councils UK open access funding 2019-2020

We’re pleased to announce that we will again have Research Councils UK open access publication funds available from 1 April 2019. On that date, the ServiceDesk open access application form will be reopened for RCUK-funded work (please note we can’t accept applications for funds before that date). Wellcome Trust open access funds continue as usual.

As funds are limited we are continuing the policy, approved by the School last year, to only provide funding for eligible articles published in fully open access journals, and limiting contributions to a maximum of £2500 per article (which is enough to cover the vast majority of open access journals). If the cost exceeds £2500, the extra needs to be covered from other grants and sources of funding available to the author.

RCUK funded authors are welcome to continue publishing in hybrid journals (subscription journals with an open access option), but should not choose the gold open access option unless they have other funds available to them. If you follow this route, this does not mean the work cannot be made open access. Instead, authors should deposit their accepted manuscript in LSHTM Research Online via Elements as soon as possible after acceptance. If you are MRC-funded, you should also deposit the accepted manuscript in Europe PubMed Central (i.e. green open access). SHERPA/FACT is a very useful resource for checking the compatibility of a journal with your funder’s open access policy.

RCUK funded authors who wish to publish in an open access journal should continue to apply for funding via the Library & Archives Service. It is recommended to do this at the point of submission to ensure funding is available for your article.

If significant funds are available at the end of 2019 we may relax the policy to fund hybrid articles as the grant expires on 31st March 2020.

Please contact us if you have any questions.


Why have we introduced this policy?

We have reviewed the costs of open access and the average cost of an article in a fully open access journal is substantially less than a hybrid journal (c.£1700 compared to £2400). This has been discussed in more detail in a blog post written last year. The RCUK Block Grant is not an unlimited resource, so in order to fairly make use of the remaining funds it makes sense to limit the funds to those publishing in fully open access journals; those publishing in hybrid (subscription) journals can still make their work open access for free via self-archiving in LSHTM Research Online and Europe PubMed Central. We have capped APCs to ensure we can help as many authors as possible.

It is recommended to review our list of major funder policies and sources of open access funding, as well as our list of open access waiver and discount schemes. A useful resource is the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), which indexes open access journals including many with no open access fee.

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