Step by step guide to making your paper open access

Step 1
Prior to submission, check that the journal in which you wish to publish offers an open access policy that is compliant with Arthritis Research UK’s conditions of funding.

The SHERPA/RoMEO database also provides information about journal open access policies in relation to funders’ grant conditions.

The Wellcome Trust holds a more comprehensive list of journals’ open access arrangements.

If you are unable to determine the journal’s open access policy, please email

Step 2
Determine which of the following actions is required to achieve open access. This will depend on the journal’s policy.

Automatic deposition into PubMed Central (PMC) or Europe PMC

Preferred option for Arthritis Research UK grant-holders. No action required; the publisher automatically deposits the journal’s full content into PMC at the point of publication or after a short (this must be no longer than six months) embargo period free of charge. If this option is not offered, please use one of the alternatives below.

Author self-deposits the manuscript into Europe PMC (Europe PubMed Central)

Authors can also comply with Arthritis Research UK’s open access policy by personally depositing a copy of the final, peer reviewed manuscript into PMC’s Europe-based sister repository, Europe PMC. A manuscript submission system, Europe PubMed Central plus (Europe PMC plus), is available on the Europe PMC website to enable authors to archive their own manuscripts: The manuscript must be deposited within 6 months of the journal’s official date of final publication. The version of the paper that should be archived is the final version (NOT the publisher’s pdf version) that is accepted for journal publication and includes all modifications from the publishing peer-review process. Manuscripts self- archived in Europe PMC will be mirrored to the PMC repository. No fee is charged to authors for making papers open access in this way.
Authors should first contact publishers directly to clarify whether this option is available, and the procedure required.

Author pays for deposition into PMC

Several traditional publishers now offer to deposit individual papers into PMC upon payment of a fee. This is sometimes offered along with deposition into the journal’s own on-line archive. Arthritis Research UK will pay open access fees on behalf of authors for papers that qualify, if the author’s institution does not have its own open access funding arrangements. Please note Arthritis Research UK will not cover the cost of page charges.

Publish in an open access journal

Publishers who provide this option include dedicated open access publishers such as BioMed Central and the Public Library of Science, who deposit the final published version of the paper into PMC and make it freely available on the day of publication. An article processing fee is charged for publishing in these journals; Arthritis Research UK will meet these costs only if the author’s institution is unable to.

No open access option offered

A small number of journals remain non-compliant with Arthritis Research UK’s open access policy. If a researcher wishes to publish a paper in a journal that does not allow open access within 6 months of publication via one of the routes described above, a case must be made in advance to Arthritis Research UK. Please email, the request will be granted only in exceptional circumstances.

Step 3
Ensure that the paper is attributed to Arthritis Research UK funding, and that the grant reference number is accurately cited. This allows both the grant-holder and Arthritis Research UK to link papers to grants in Europe PMC.

If the journal does not provide a template for this information, the following wording is recommended:

‘This work was supported by Arthritis Research UK [grant number xxxx]’

Step 4
Apply to Arthritis Research UK for open access funding if required. You may apply at any time during or after the completion of a grant. Read our guidance on how to apply for open access funding.

If you require assistance or advice about the application process or further information about our open access policy, Please email

Step 5
Inform us directly as soon as a paper is accepted for publication. Please email