NIHR Policy on Open Access

As a publicly funded research body, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) requires authors to make outputs from its research publicly available.

The policy applies to:

  • Any peer-reviewed published journal article or peer-reviewed published conference paper/proceeding submitted for publication after 1st April 2014.
  • Peer-reviewed publications fully or partially funded by NIHR.

The NIHR, in common with the other Research Councils, has a preference for the ‘gold’ approach to open access, recognising that this will be progressive over a period of time. NIHR Programmes will monitor compliance with this policy.


You must make your work open access via the ‘green’ route (self-archiving for free) or via the ‘gold’ route (paid open access).

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



NIHR permits ‘green’ OA with a 6-month embargo.

  1. Check your publishers’ policy regarding ‘green’ open access self-archiving, by checking Sherpa Romeo.
  2. If you are able to go ‘green’ OA, deposit the accepted version of your publication (PDF format), into UBIRA using Pure immediately on acceptance.
    – 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.
    – Add an embargo to the document, if required by the publisher.
  3. Ensure your publication is linked to the grant using the ‘Projects’ link in PURE.
  4. If your publisher is uncompliant with ‘green’ OA, you will need to choose the ‘gold’ OA route.



From the commencement of this policy (see above) the cost of Article Processing Charges (APCs) and other appropriate publication charges will be supported either through the original NIHR award, or where applicable an NIHR Open Access Fund.

  1. Researchers will need to contact the awarding NIHR Programme Coordinating Centre to review the correct approach.
    – This does not apply to any recipient of NIHR funding prior to 1st April 2014, which remain under the requirements of their original contract.
  2. If you are unable to cover the costs through this route, you may be able to apply for ‘gold’ OA through the University APC request form.
    – The University open access budget is only available to cover APCs, any additional costs (page, colour charges) must be paid by the department. For more information about this please contact the team.
  3. If choosing ‘gold’ open access, the output should be published with a Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC-BY).
    – More information on Creative Commons licences.
  4. Your chosen publisher may have a membership scheme with the University to reduce the workflow for ‘gold’ OA submission.
    – Publisher membership schemes.
  5. On publication, you are 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.