Open Access Policy

The research we fund should be made freely available to the broader scientific community and to the public to maximise its reach and benefit.

All Grantholders must therefore comply with our Policy on Open Access, and should ensure that an electronic copy of each primary research paper or non-commissioned review funded wholly or in part by us is made freely available in Europe PubMed Central as soon as possible and no later than 6 months after publication.

Open Access Publication Policy details

1. Publishing your research

Europe PubMed Central is a free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature funded by a consortium of the leading UK and European biomedical research funders, including the British Heart Foundation.

It provides a stable, permanent and free online digital archive of full-text, peer-reviewed research publications. It is based on PubMed Central (PMC) - the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature. It also provides innovative tools and services for the research community by integrating text mining services that highlight and link biological entity types found within the text of an article to external data sources.

2. Open access publication is a condition of your grant

As a Condition of Grant we require that a copy of the final version of each peer-reviewed primary research paper or non-commissioned review article accepted for publication, supported in whole or in part by our funding, shall be deposited in Europe PMC, to be made freely available as soon as possible and no later than 6 months after publication.

We will provide the names and contact details of the Grantholders to third parties in connection with the administration of the Europe PMC database and website, and they may contact Grantholders directly for such purposes.

3. Ensure your publisher supports open access

All of our Grantholders submitting manuscripts to journals should find out in advance whether the publisher supports open access and how they can comply with paragraph 2 above.

4. Open access options

Many journals will deposit the final published version of the article on behalf of the authors directly into Europe PMC (or into US PubMed Central, from where it is mirrored to Europe PMC) to be made freely available immediately on publication (often referred to as gold open access). Journals charge an Article Processing Charge (APC) for this option and we will pay these costs (please read paragraph 8 on how to reclaim these fees).

Alternatively, the journal may deposit the final, peer-reviewed manuscript in Europe PMC to be made freely available after a 6 month embargo period (often referred to as green open access). Usually no fee is charged for this service.

In some cases, the journal will not deposit the article but will allow the authors to deposit a copy of the final, peer-reviewed manuscript in Europe PMC to be made freely available after an embargo period. Europe PMC has an author manuscript submission system for authors to self-archive papers.

5. Which open access option should I choose?

We support immediate, unrestricted (‘Gold’) open access to primary research articles and non-commissioned reviews and will reimburse valid fees.

If the journal does not offer an immediate open access option, your article should still be made freely available in Europe PMC no later than six months after publication. If the journal offers a service to deposit your article in Europe PMC, you should choose this option. If not, you'll need to self-archive. 

6. Which license should I choose?

In the case of immediate open access, authors and publishers should license research papers using the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY). For more information regarding licenses please visit the Creative Commons website.

7. Which types of publication are eligible for support?

We will, in principle, pay open access fees for the publication of peer-reviewed, primary research articles and non-commissioned reviews funded wholly or in part by us. We will not pay open access fees for commissioned review articles or conference proceedings.

8. Claiming open access fees

To be eligible for reimbursement all full research articles and non-commissioned reviews arising from BHF-funded research should acknowledge us by stating the relevant grant number.

Option A

From 1st October 2014, the BHF is contributing to the Charities Open Access Fund (COAF), a fund to provide financial support for immediate gold open access of peer reviewed original research articles and non-commissioned reviews accepted for publication on or after 1st October 2014. This 2-year pilot scheme is a partnership between six UK medical research charities and will be administered by the Wellcome Trust.

Researchers must be based at one of the 36 research institutions listed below and the fund will take the form of a block grant to each institution:

  • Aberdeen University
  • Bath University
  • Birmingham University
  • Birkbeck College, University of London
  • Bristol University
  • Cambridge University
  • Cardiff University
  • Dundee University
  • Edinburgh University
  • Exeter University
  • Glasgow University
  • Institute of Cancer Research
  • Imperial College
  • Keele University
  • King’s College London
  • Leeds University
  • Leicester University
  • Liverpool University
  • Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
  • London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • Manchester University
  • Newcastle University
  • Nottingham University
  • Oxford University
  • Queen Mary College, University of London
  • Queen's University of Belfast
  • Royal Veterinary College
  • Sheffield University
  • Southampton University
  • St Andrew's University
  • St George's, University of London
  • Strathclyde University
  • Sussex University
  • University College London
  • Warwick University
  • York University

To claim from the COAF, please contact your institution directly. If you are unsure who the appropriate contact at your institution is, please contact the Wellcome Trust at [email protected]

More information and FAQs regarding the fund can be found at

Option B

For researchers not based at the institutions listed above, our usual processes remain in place.

We support immediate, unrestricted (gold) open access to primary research articles and non-commissioned reviews and will reimburse valid fees. Where a research paper has arisen from research funded by more than one member of the Europe PMC Funders’ Group, the costs of making that paper open access should be split proportionally between the different funders of the research. A list of funding organisations that support Europe PMC can be found on the Europe PMC website.

However, if other acknowledged research funders are not members of the Europe PMC Funders' Group or we are the major research funder of the reported work, then we will pay the full open access fees.

The University should pay the open access fees in the first instance and then submit a claim stating the BHF grant number, the principal investigator’s name and the finance registration number EX/07/003/24663 to us with a copy of the journal’s open access invoice and a copy of the published paper.

9. Non compliance

A small number of journals remain non-compliant with this open access policy. If a researcher wishes to publish a paper in a journal that will not allow deposition in Europe PMC and open access within 6 months of publication, a case must be made in advance to us, which we will grant only in exceptional circumstances.

10. General information on open access

For more general information about open access publication, visit the Wellcome Trust website.


Further updates will follow as needed on our website. Specific queries can be emailed to [email protected] or please call 020 7554 0434.

September 2014