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Policy on Open Access and PubMed Central

Cancer Research UK carries out world-class research to improve our understanding of cancer and find out how best to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease. We work in partnership with others to achieve the greatest impact in the global fight against cancer.

Cancer Research UK is a significant funder of Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC). Cancer Research UK believes that there is a need to provide open and unrestricted access to the outputs of published research. In this way we can ensure that the work we fund can reach the widest possible audience

Cancer Research UK expects authors of research papers based on Cancer Research UK funded research to maximise the opportunities to make their results freely available.

It is a condition of funding that Cancer Research UK funded researchers deposit in the Europe PMC database an electronic copy of the author's final version of papers accepted for publication. This should happen as soon as possible and no later than 6 months after publication. This requirement applies to research supported in whole, or in part, by Cancer Research UK which is published from 1 June 2007. This policy was approved by Cancer Research UK's Scientific Executive Board in March 2007.

Researchers can achieve this through one of two routes. A manuscript may be submitted to a journal that offers an Open Access (OA) option. The journal will then deposit a copy of the final article in the Europe PMC database. A number of new publishers, such as BioMed Central and Public Library of Science, as well as traditional publishing houses, such as Elsevier, OUP and Blackwell, support this option. Payment of any open access fees may be met from underspend on existing grants.

Researchers may, alternatively, submit manuscripts to a publisher that does not offer an OA option but does permit a copy of the research article to be deposited, and made publicly available, in Europe PMC. Publishers that offer this option include American Medical Association, Company of Biologists and Nature Publishing Group.1

However, Cancer Research UK does not wish to prevent researchers from submitting research publications to the most appropriate journal, some of which may not be compliant with this policy. As a result Cancer Research UK funded researchers may publish in exceptional circumstances in a journal that would not allow the article to be deposited in Europe PMC within 6 months.

Researchers should make a case for publishing in such journals in advance of submitting the manuscript. To do this, researchers should email details to

Cancer Research UK will keep this policy under review.

View a printable version of this policy:

For supplementary information about this policy, see our Toolkit for submitting papers and FAQs for researchers.

1 Researchers can determine which publishers are compliant with this policy by referring to the RoMEO database or by emailing

Updated: 15 February 2010