Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, May 21, 2007

Cancer Research UK announces its OA mandate

Cancer Research UK released its OA policy today.

The CR-UK pledged to adopt an OA mandate back in January 2007, at the launch of UK PubMed Central (UKPMC).  (It's a member of the UKPMC Funders Group and all members of the Funders Group pledged or adopted OA mandates.)  But it took some time to deliberate and didn't announce its policy until today.  Excerpt:

From June 2007 it is a condition of funding that Cancer Research UK-funded researchers deposit an electronic copy of peer-reviewed, published papers arising from their Cancer Research UK funded work in the UKPMC database.

This applies to research papers resulting from new awards made after 1 June 2007, as well as to existing grants. It also applies to researchers within our institutes.

Cancer Research UK is introducing an open access policy because we believe that improving access to research papers will help scientists throughout the world to make the discoveries we need to beat cancer.

To ensure that the output of the research we fund is available to the widest possible audience, we believe it is necessary to provide open and unrestricted access to it....

As a Cancer Research UK-funded author you should ensure in advance of making any agreement with or commitment to a publisher that there is no conflict with your obligations under Cancer Research UK's open access policy. For details of compliant publishers visit the ROMEO database.

However, we accept that some Cancer Research UK-funded authors will wish to publish their research in journals that do not comply with UKPMC requirements, because these journals are the most appropriate for their subject matter.

Cancer Research UK's open access policy allows for publication in non-compliant journals in exceptional circumstances. If you wish to publish in one of these journals, you will need to make a case for this course of action in advance of submitting your manuscript by emailing

There are two ways to comply with the policy:

  • Submit your paper to a journal that offers an open access option, usually on payment of a fee. The publisher will then take responsibility for uploading the final, published version of your article into UKPMC.
  • Submit your paper to a journal that does not offer an open access option, but will either allow a copy of your research to be deposited after the embargo period or permit you to self-archive in UKPMC.

Cancer Research UK will not make additional funds available to cover the costs of open access publishing at this stage. However, the situation will be closely monitored and actual costs to researchers will be reviewed in summer 2008....

A range of further information is available to help you understand how this policy and UKPMC will affect you:

PS:  The main page on the policy doesn't talk about timing, but the FAQ fills in the gap:  "All deposited papers must be made freely accessible from the UKPMC as soon as possible, and in any event within six months of the journal publisher's official date of final publication."  Kudos to all involved at CR-UK.