Policy on Open Access

Cancer Research UK is the world’s largest independent cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research. Research improves our understanding of cancer and helps find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease.

We want our research to have the biggest impact possible. We believe that the best way of maximising impact is to provide open and unrestricted access to published research: this facilitates rapid sharing of knowledge and promotes innovation, ultimately ensuring that patients can access better treatments sooner.

Cancer Research UK:

  • Requires electronic copies of any research papers that have been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, and acknowledge Cancer Research UK funding, to be made available through Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC) as soon as possible and no later than 6 months after publication.
  • Encourages Cancer Research UK funded researchers to select publishing routes that ensure the work is available immediately on publication in its final published form, wherever such options exist for their journal of choice and are compliant with our policy*.
  • Encourages, and where an article processing charge is paid, requires, research papers to be licensed using the Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY)**, so they may be freely copied and reused (for example, for text- and data-mining purposes), providing that the original authors are properly credited.

From 1st October 2014, we will provide designated funds to support the payment of article processing charges (APCs). We are working in partnership with a number of medical research charities to do this, by forming the Charities’ Open Access Fund (COAF).

This fund will enable a greater number of Cancer Research UK supported publications to be made immediately available to the public at the point of publication This fund will be available to a number of UK institutions. Authors should apply to their host institutions to access this fund. Researchers that receive funding from us but are not based at an institution which receives support from the COAF may use any unspent grants to pay for APCs. Alternatively, authors can comply with our policy by self-archiving their publication in Europe PMC within 6 months, if the publisher permits.

For further information about this policy, see our authors' FAQs [PDF, 570k] or contact policies@cancer.org.uk.

For more information about our publication requirements, please visit the grant conditions page.

For specific information about the COAF, please contact openaccess@wellcome.ac.uk.

This policy is effective from 1st October 2014. View a printable version of this policy: Policy on Open Access (PDF 99.4 KB)

*Researchers can determine which publishers are compliant with this policy by referring to the RoMEO database or by emailing policies@cancer.org.uk.

**This requirement applies only to original research papers submitted for publication from 1 October 2014, where our funds have been used to meet an article processing charge.

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