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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 policy on the Dissemination of Research Findings

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

The ARC's policy requires publications arising from an ARC-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.

NHMRC Open Access Policy

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)'s Open Access Policy was revised in September 2022 based on the guiding principle that  “publicly-funded research should be shared openly and at the earliest possible opportunity”. The two key changes are summarised in the extract below: 

NHMRC’s Open Access Policy (the Policy) requires that all peer-reviewed publications that are supported in whole or in part by NHMRC must be:

  • made immediately open access at the time of first online publication and without any embargo period
  • published with a Creative Commons Attribution International ‘CC BY’ licence (see Section 1.3.3 of the Policy). Use of this open licensing ensures that authors retain rights to their publications while providing a broad licence that grants public permission to use their work.

NHMRC, 2022

 

These changes take effect immediately for new grants (awarded on or after 20 September 2022). For NHMRC grants awarded prior to 20 September 2022, the updated policy comes into effect for papers published on or after 1 January 2024. Papers published prior to 1st January 2024, if funded through grants awarded prior to 20th September 2022, should refer to the previous version of the NHMRC OA policy, which allowed up to a 12-month embargo on open access articles if required by a publisher.

UWA authors have a number of options to make their NHMRC-funded research openly available in compliance with the updated policy, and need to consider NHMRC requirements when choosing where to publish their research.  

  1. Publishing in an open access journal 

    See the Publishing an Article OA tab of this Open Access Toolkit for tips on locating highly cited OA journals and APC discounts 

  2. Publishing in a journal participating in a Read and Publish agreement 

    See the lists of included journal titles on the Read & Publish Agreements tab of this Open Access Toolkit 

    If a closed/subscription journal is not covered by a Read and Publish agreement you may be asked to pay an APC. NHMRC advises paying APCs to these "hybrid" journals does not meet the intent of the policy, and recommend using the AAM option below. 

  3. Publishing the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) version of the article open access in the UWA Repository, at no cost. 

    Review or ask for information about a journal’s ‘self-archiving’ policy for OA and ensure publication contracts allow self-archiving of the Author's Accepted Manuscript (AAM) in the UWA Profiles and Research Repository. The NHMRC has provided a statement about rights retention to include when submitting a manuscript.

The author must use the following statement when submitting the manuscript for publication:

  • ‘This research was funded in whole or part by the National Health and Medical Research Council [Grant number]. For the purposes of open access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission’.

This ensures that licensing arrangements are in place prior to any publishing agreement.

NHMRC, 2022

 

UWA authors also need to be mindful of the following points when signing publication contracts: 

  1. Negotiating no embargo on publishing the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) in the UWA Repository. 
  2. Ensuring the agreement allows a CC BY licence to be applied to the open access publication. 

Other points to note 

  • Please note that uploading research outputs to Scholarly Communication Networks (Research Gate, Academia.edu, etc) does not comply with the policy. 
  • Researchers are encouraged to also publish research data openly, where possible. See the UWA Library’s Research Data Management Toolkit for more information. 
  • NHMRC have acknowledged that CC BY licence may not be appropriate for research involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, to respect the cultural and Intellectual Property rights of First Nations peoples participating in research. If agreed with First Nations research participants, a CC BY-ND licence and/or a Traditional Knowledge label may be more appropriate. 

See this short video presentation for more details on these changes,  Article Processing Charges (APC), AAMs and Creative Commons licencing.

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

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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