There are two types of open access publication fees:  1) Article processing charges (APCs) for journal articles and 2) Book processing charges (BPCs) for books.  The main ways to pay for APCs and BPCs are through publisher agreements that your institution has signed up to and open access publication funding from UKRI and other research funders.  See the guidance below for more on how this works in practice for Aston authors.  

Read & Publish and Transformative Open Access Deals

As part of Aston’s transformative / read and publish agreements with a range of publishers, Aston corresponding authors with current employment contracts or who are current students have access to a range of free or reduced APCs for original research and review articles (invited reviews, editorials, book reviews etc. are not included). You should use your Aston affiliation and email address to be included and check that the journal is eligible for the publisher's free gold open access deal. You must select a Creative Commons Attribution CC BY licence when offered a choice by the publishers.

  • Eligibility is determined by corresponding author- be sure to use your Aston email and affiliation! This is checked against the current HR staff list.
  • If a publisher is not included on the list, it means that we do not have a deal with them, and any open access costs incurred will need to be met through another funding source.
  • Additional charges such as submission fees, excess page and colour charges are not included in these deals and will need to be covered by the author(s).

The current list of all publishers and journals that Aston has Read & Publish deals with can be found here:  Aston Open Access LibGuide Gold OA & Read & Publish  

Contact for further details on any of these schemes or author/article type/journal eligibility.

Open Access for UKRI Grant Holders

The updated UKRI Open Access Policy came into effect from 1 April 2022. The first stage of this policy applies to in-scope journal articles submitted for publication after 1 April 2022. In-scope means all peer-reviewed research and review articles (including invited reviews). Eligible funders include: AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, MRC, NERC, STFC and Research England and Innovate UK grants with a specific remit for research and making outputs relating to the grant open access. The UK Space Agency is not included in the UKRI Open Access Policy and therefore not eligible for open access block grant funds.

How can I make my journal articles compliant?

Aston University has been awarded an open access block grant from UKRI to cover the open access costs for UKRI funded authors at Aston (current grant covering 1 April 2023 - 31 March 2024). We use these funds to pay article processing charges (APCs) as well as to cover the publish element of some of Aston’s Read & Publish deals.

For the scenarios outlined below, please contact prior to submission to check that the journal is compliant or whether an APC can be paid. Note that UKRI no longer allow submission, page and colour charges to be paid from the block grant!

  • Publish in a fully open access journal
  • If it’s included of one of Aston’s eligible Read & Publish deals and you (an eligible Aston author) are the corresponding author, go ahead and publish.
  • If it isn’t part of one of Aston’s Read & Publish deals or you aren’t the corresponding author, we can pay the APC from the UKRI open access block grant. Email to confirm eligibility.
  • Publish in a hybrid journal that is included in a Read & Publish deal negotiated by Jisc.
  • If it’s included of one of Aston’s eligible Read & Publish deals and you (an eligible Aston author) are the corresponding author, go ahead and publish.
  • If Aston doesn’t subscribe to that particular deal or you aren’t the corresponding author, we may be able to pay the APC from the block grant. Check with first.
  • Publish in a hybrid journal that isn’t part of a Jisc negotiated Read & Publish deal
  • We can’t pay the APC from the UKRI open access block grant.
  • You will need to make the accepted manuscript open access via our repository and include UKRI’s Rights Retention Statement with the manuscript. You will need to make sure the publisher accepts the validity of this statement and that anything you sign with them doesn’t contravene the statement (see below)
  • ‘For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence (where permitted by UKRI, ‘Open Government Licence’ or ‘Creative Commons Attribution No-derivatives (CC BY-ND) licence may be stated instead) to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising’

Regardless of what route you choose to publish, you must acknowledge the UKRI funding associated with the publication with the funder name and reference number, include a data access statement (see below) and apply a CC BY licence. Authors with BBSRC and MRC funding must also have their articles deposited in PMC/EPMC (see below).   

In all cases, you are strongly advised to email prior to submitting an article to a journal to check that it is compliant with UKRI’s open access policy and that funds are available to pay the APC (if required). We cannot pay APCs for articles that do not meet UKRI’s new policy requirements.

UKRI OA Policy Data Access Statement Requirement

All journal outputs acknowledging UKRI funding must include a data access statement that describes how and on what terms supporting research data can be accessed. UKRI have not mandated a specific phrasing for data access statements, though they can look something like this:

  • The data underlying this article can be accessed at <insert DOI link from a repository like Aston Data Explorer>
  • The data underlying this article will be made available upon request from <insert contact details>
  • The data underlying this article are restricted because of privacy/security reasons
  • All data relating to this article are present in the article
  • There are no additional data relating to this article (more for humanities articles)

You should keep in mind the maxim ‘As open as possible, as closed as necessary’ when it comes to research data. We strongly advise Aston researchers to deposit their research data in Aston Data Explorer or a specialist data repository whenever possible (and appropriate) to follow the FAIR principles of being Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-useable.

Further information on Aston Data Explorer and data access statements is available at:

Depositing in PubMed Central and Europe PubMed Central

This requirement applies to BBSRC and MRC grant holders. Almost all publishers will do the required deposit in PMC/EPMC on behalf of funded authors and as part of the gold open access process, so it’s not something many people have to worry about (usually only small society journals aren’t set up to do automatic deposit with E/PMC). If necessary, you can deposit the required version using the instructions on PMC:

UKRI Open Access Policy for Long-form Publications

  • The new policy applies to books, chapters and edited volumes published from 1 January 2024
  • UKRI training grant holders are exempt for the long-form publication open access requirement

How can I make my long-form publication compliant?

The final details on the UKRI open access policy as it applies to long-form publications are still being finalised. The current guidance is:

  • Publish your book or chapter open access via the publisher
  • Publish your book with a press that does not charge book processing fees (BPCs)
  • Publish your book with a press that does charge a Book Processing Charge (BPC)
  • Request BPC funds from UKRI (process tbc)
  • Self-archive your accepted manuscript
  • Deposit the accepted manuscript in Aston Publications Explorer via Pure, with a maximum 12 month embargo

Regardless of what route you choose to publish your long-form publication, you must acknowledge the UKRI grant with funder name and reference number, apply a CC BY or other Creative Commons licence and ensure that the final version of record is freely available to view and download. Please refer to the full policy for exemptions to the open access requirement for long-form publications.

Outputs Resulting from Other Research Funding

Leverhulme, European Commission and H2020
If open access publication costs are already included in your research grant, or can be reimbursed, you should use that as a source for payment of any APCs related to that grant. At Aston, this applies primarily to European Commission (H2020 etc.) and Leverhulme grant holders.
Wellcome Trust
Aston authors with Wellcome Trust funding should first use the Journal Checker Tool to make sure the journal they wish to publish in is compliant with Plan S and the WT open access policy. Your article must be made available through PMC and Europe PMC and have a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence.

To request article processing charge payment from Wellcome Trust, email the following details to

  • Your current employing organisation
  • Title of the paper
  • Wellcome grant reference number
  • Journal title
  • Proposed date of publication
  • Cost of the open access fee

They will liaise with you directly to discuss the payment of original research open access fees.

Outputs Without Related Research Funding

If you do not have any research funding and the journal you wish to publish paid open access in is not included in any of the above Read & Publish/ Transformative deals, then you will need to arrange payment of the APC from alternate sources.  While it may be worth asking within your research institute and college at Aston, there is currently no institutional fund for open access.  The Library cannot pay APCs for any articles that do not have UKRI funding.  Please refer to Aston's Open Access Policy for further information.

The Library is not responsible for any open access fees incurred without our knowledge or approval.