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Open Access Toolkit: OA funding mandates

Funders' open access mandates

Many research funders require publications arising from their funding to be made openly accessible in the public domain within a certain period post-publication. This may involve deposit of the the full text of resulting publications into an institutional repository or a subject-specific repository by the recipient of the funding. Policies such as these mean that all researchers and the general public will have access to your research findings.

The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC) and Australian Research Council (ARC) have joined large international funding bodies such as the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the UK Wellcome Trust in mandating such open access (OA) requirements. These policies have significant implications for researchers at the University of Western Australia.

Depositing full text

Funder requirements
Funders consider deposit of only certain versions of a publication acceptable to fulfill their policy requirements. The NHMRC and ARC require either the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM), also known as the post-print version of an article, or final publisher's version of a publication. 

Journal allowances
Each journal will have their own provisions for assisting authors to comply with funding mandates. Search the SHERPA/RoMEO database to find out which version of a publication your journal allows you to deposit.

If the journal you have published in does not allow the post-print or publishers version to be deposited, this will need to be documented and justified in your final report to the funder.

ARC and NHMRC policies on the Dissemination of Research Findings

The overarching aim of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and Australian Research Council's (ARC) policies is to ensure that the findings of publicly funded research are made available to the wider public as soon as possible.

Both policies require publications arising from an ARC or NHMRC supported research project to be deposited into an open access institutional repository within a twelve month period from the date of publication.

  • The Chief Investigator (CI) on the grant is responsible for ensuring compliance.
  • If the copyright/licence agreement for the publication does not allow it to be made available within twelve months, it needs to be made available as soon as possible after that date. If the publisher never allows the publication to be made available this information must be provided at the time of the Final Report submission. 

All researchers with an ARC grant should familiarise themselves with the details of the ARC policy.

All researchers with an NHMRC grant should familiarise themselves with the details of the NHMRC policy, which is structured in an easy to read question and answer format.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy

The NIH Public Access Policy requires:

  • scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication;
  • that these papers are accessible to the public on PubMed Central no later than 12 months after publication; and
  • that investigators include evidence of compliance in all NIH applications and reports.

The NIH strongly recommends that you check that publishers will allow you to deposit into PubMed Central before signing any agreement.

When submitting subsequent applications, proposals or reports to the NIH they must include the PubMed Central ID number (PMCID) when citing applicable papers. Note that the PMCID is different to the PubMed ID number (PMID).

For more information see the NIH's Frequently Asked Questions.

Wellcome Trust Open Access Policy

The Wellcome Trust open access policy:

"requires electronic copies of any research papers that have been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, and are supported in whole or in part by Wellcome Trust funding, to be made available through PubMed Central and UK PubMed Central as soon as possible and in any event within six months of the journal publisher's official date of final publication."

The Wellcome Trust supports researchers to publish in open access publications by providing a scheme of funding to cover publishing charges. Where authors use this scheme, they are required to license research papers under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY).

Where authors are non-compliant with this policy, 10% of the total granted funds will be withheld and no further grants will be funded.

The Wellcome Trust provides detailed information addressing the process of ensuring these requirements are met on their website and in a guide book (PDF).

Open Access compliance decision trees


Useful links

  • SHERPA/RoMEO is a searchable database of publishers' policies regarding the deposit of journal articles on the web and in OA repositories.
  • SHERPA/JULIET database provides information on and links to the OA policies of many research funders.
  • SHERPA/FACT is a tool to help researchers check if the journals in which they wish to publish comply with their funder's requirements for open access to research.



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