FAQs: complying with funder OA book policies

Many institutions and research funders worldwide have introduced policies requiring researchers to ensure that their publications are openly accessible.

The following FAQs provide guidance on how authors can meet the open access (OA) policy requirements of their funders and institutions when publishing books and chapters.

1. What are the main types of open access policy requirements for book and chapters?

Funders or institutions may have an OA policy requiring or encouraging authors to make their books or chapters openly accessible through one or both of the following routes:

  • Immediate OA publication on the publisher’s website, often referred to as the gold OA route.
  • Self-archiving or deposition of a version of the manuscript in an OA repository, often referred to as the green OA route. For more information, please see FAQ 5.

Funders and institutions may require authors to make their work for OA through a particular route (OA publication or self-archiving) or they may allow the author to choose whichever method they prefer. These two approaches are not mutually exclusive as books and chapters published via the immediate OA route can also be made available in a repository, and in some cases OA policies may contain requirements relating to both types of OA. Where publishers’ self-archiving policies for books and chapters differ from funders’ or institutions’ OA requirements, authors may have to publish via the immediate (gold) OA route in order to comply with a requirement for self-archiving.

Funders and institutions may also have OA policies that specify the licence under which content is made available. For more information on meeting OA license requirements, please see FAQ 4.

For further information on immediate (gold) OA publication and self-archiving (green OA), see our introduction to OA.

2. How can I find out if my funder or institution has an open access policy that applies to books?

Funders and institutions with OA policies will usually make these available on their website. OA policies can often be found with other information about research and publication policies, and in the case of research funders the policy requirements may also be included in the terms and conditions of research grants.

OA policies often apply to journal articles, but an increasing number of organisations are recognising the value in supporting OA for non-journal research outputs researchers produce, including books. The policy requirements may differ between journal articles and other forms of publication. Researchers are encouraged to check their funders’ and institutions’ OA policies carefully to check whether any requirements apply to books and chapters and contact the policy owner if it is not clear. 

Directories of OA policies can be a useful place to start when searching for OA policies, though care should be taken when determining whether the policies extend to books and chapters:

  • SHERPA/JULIET contains details of the OA policies of various research funders worldwide.
  • The ROARMAP directory contains information about organisations that have self-archiving (green) OA requirements.

Although these sources are a useful means of identifying policies and are regularly maintained, authors are advised to read through the full policy terms on their funder’s or institution’s website.

Where authors are unsure if their funder or institution has an OA policy, they should contact the organisation directly or get in touch with our OA Funding Support Service for assistance.

3. How do I know if the policy applies to me and my research?

Funders’ and institutions’ OA policies may apply to particular individuals, grant programmes, or publications. In particular, book and chapter authors should check the publication types that fall within the scope of the OA policy, and whether the conditions are requirements or just encouragement to make non-journal content openly available in some form if possible.  

Authors should also check the following aspects of policies:

  • Publication type: Authors should check not only whether the institution’s/funders’ OA policies applies to books, but also the kinds of book content to which it applies. For example, does the policy apply to all peer-reviewed book content, or does it only apply to monographs or chapters in edited collections?
  • Role: Authors should check whether their role within the organisation affects how the policy applies to them. For example, a university’s open access policy may or may not apply to publications authored by students.
  • Grant programme: Funders’ OA policies may apply to particular grant programmes.
  • Policy implementation date: Authors’ publications may fall within the scope of the policy depending on the timeframe of certain factors such as the date of grant application or award, or the date of article submission, acceptance, or publication.

Where a funder or institution provides funding for a publication’s book processing charge (BPC) or chapter processing charge (CPC), additional OA requirements may apply. Authors applying for BPC/CPC funding should ensure that they are able to meet these conditions as well as those within the main OA policy.

4. My policy has a requirement for an open access licence. What does this mean and how can I comply?

Publishing under an OA licence, such as one of the Creative Commons licences, gives readers various rights for reuse and redistribution of the book or chapter as soon as it is published. A summary of each CC licence type is available on the Creative Commons website. Authors should check the terms of the licence prior to selection so as to ensure compatibility with any additional funder or institutional requirements.

Several funders require authors to publish their books and chapters under the Creative Commons licences when they publish via the immediate (gold) OA route, or if the funder has paid a book processing charge (BPC) or chapter processing charge (CPC). Where a CC BY licence is not available these funders may permit more restrictive non-commercial licences.

Springer and Palgrave Macmillan offer a compliant route to publication for all authors subject to OA funding requirements via the gold OA route, as such Springer and Palgrave Macmillan can offer options to publish most books and chapters under a Creative Commons licence such as the CC BY 4.0 licence.

In some cases, funders may require the author to self-archive the Accepted Manuscript (AM) under a CC licence, even if the VOR of the book or chapter is published under non-OA terms. For more information about meeting funding requirements via the self-archiving route, see question 5.

Complying with UKRI’s OA policy for monographs, chapters and Edited Collections:
When publishing with Springer Nature, UKRI authors publishing books, chapters and Edited Collections will always be supported to comply with UKRI OA policy requirements. Where authors are in-scope of UKRI’s policy and are lacking sufficient OA funds, we advise authors to get in touch with their Editor to discuss their individual compliance requirements.

5. My policy asks me to deposit a version of the publication in a repository. What does this mean and how can I meet all policy requirements?

Funder or institutional OA policies may encourage or require authors to deposit or ‘self-archive’ a version of their research publication within a repository, where it can be made openly accessible. This is also known as the ‘green’ OA route. In the case of books or chapters published via the non-OA route, publisher policies may stipulate which version of the manuscript the author can archive, and may require that content is not made openly available until a specified period of time has elapsed since publication, often referred to as an ‘embargo period’.

Authors should note that some funders and institutions require a version of the publication to be self-archived in a specific repository even where it has been published via immediate (gold) OA.

Common self-archiving policy requirements are explained below. Use the links below to find out more about policy requirements for:

  • Which repository to use
  • Which version of the manuscript to deposit
  • When the manuscript must be deposited
  • When it must be made openly accessible
  • Whether the publisher will deposit, or whether you will need to self-archive


Institutional policies often require deposition in an institution-specific repository managed by the library. Funders may also have a specific repository requirement or require that the book or chapter is available in an unspecified appropriate subject or institutional repository.

Several major funders in the life sciences have agreements with PMC and Europe PubMed Central to have their books deposited to NCBI Bookshelf. Springer Nature will do this on behalf of the author for all in-scope OA books published through Springer and Palgrave Macmillan. Individual chapters funded by the Wellcome Trust are also deposited.

Manuscript version

Policies may require a version of the manuscript to be made available in the repository. The Springer Nature definitions of these versions of the manuscript are listed below, but please note that different publishers or industry bodies may define these versions slightly differently:

  • Accepted manuscript (AM). This means the version of the work after the contract is signed, publication is approved, and final editorial and peer review (where applicable) is complete. The AM is not the Version of Record (VOR) and does not reflect post-acceptance and post-publication improvements on behalf of the Publisher, such as copyediting, typesetting, any amendments and corrections. Publishers may allow authors to deposit the AM and make it publicly accessible after an embargo period; authors should check the publisher’s policy for further information, for example, on the proportion of the AM that authors can deposit, and the licensing terms applicable. Learn more about policies for archiving non-OA books and chapters published with Springer and Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Final published version of the publication. This means the final version of the manuscript (also referred to as the Version of Record or VoR) as originally published in print and/or online by the Publisher, and may be subsequently amended following publication in a contractually compliant manner, by or on behalf of the Publisher. The VOR includes any editorial and Publisher improvements such as copyediting, typesetting, any amendments and corrections. Funders and institutions may require that this version is archived where it was published via immediate (gold) OA. Learn more about policies for archiving open access content published with Springer and Palgrave Macmillan.

Mandates for deposition of either the accepted or published version of the manuscript require that the available publication has been peer reviewed. Therefore, making the version of the manuscript in its pre-submission form available in a preprint server is not sufficient to meet the policy requirements.

Deposition vs. full availability

Some funders or institutions may specify when and how the manuscript should be deposited as well as when it should be publicly available.

There may be a gap between a manuscript being deposited and a manuscript being made openly available. Publisher self-archiving policies may permit deposition at the point of acceptance in order to allow authors to meet deposition requirements, provided that content is not made publicly available until the appropriate embargo period has been observed.

Embargo period

Funder and institutional self-archiving policies often specify a timeframe within which publications must be made openly available, usually referred to as the maximum embargo period. Different timeframes may be specified for different disciplines. Some policies do not specify a maximum embargo period, but instead state that availability must occur as soon as possible, or as soon as is permitted by the publisher.

OA policies may require that authors publishing via the immediate (gold) open access route make the deposited version of the publication available to access in the repository immediately after publication.

Authors should check whether the publisher’s self-archiving embargo period will allow them to meet the OA requirements of their funder or institution; in some cases it may be necessary to choose the OA publication (gold) route in order to comply.

Learn more about self-archiving and manuscript deposition policies for non-OA and open access book and chapters published with Springer and Palgrave Macmillan.

Publisher or author archiving

In some cases, publishers may archive a version of a book or chapter on behalf of authors in order to assist authors in meeting funder and institutional OA requirements.

Springer Nature will deposit the final published versions of Springer and Palgrave Macmillan books and chapters published via the immediate (gold) OA route to PubMed’s NCBI Bookshelf in all instances where the publication has content focused on the life sciences and is therefore within the scope of the repository. We will also archive all OA books in the Directory of Open Access Books(DOAB).

Where the book or chapter has not been published via the immediate OA route, authors may need to self-archive the manuscript directly to the repository or type of repository required by their funder.

Learn more about publisher deposition options for authors publishing open access books and chapters with Springer and Palgrave Macmillan.

Prior to submission, authors should check that each of the terms for self-archiving in any funder and/or institution’s policy as described above are compatible with the publisher policy on self-archiving for books and chapters. Where authors are not able to meet their funder or institution’s requirements for self-archiving by publishing via the non-OA route, they are advised to look into options for publishing open access before submitting. Authors should check funding availability from their funders and institutions.

Authors can speak to their editors or Springer Nature's Funding Support Service for advice on publishing their work via the OA route, and ensuring that it is made available under a Creative Commons licence that meets their funders’ and institutions’ OA policy requirements.

6. At which stages of the publication process should I be thinking about how I can meet OA policy requirements?

In order to meet funder and institutional OA policy requirements, authors may have to take actions at various stages during the submission process. Some key stages include:

  • While preparing their proposal. Authors should check publishers’ OA policies and options with the requirements of their funder and institution, to ensure that they can meet all policy conditions, whether it is necessary for them to choose the (gold) OA publication route, and also any requirements attached to their BPC/CPC funding. Where authors indicate in their proposal that they are interested in publishing OA, we can provide support for their publication. Learn more about common BPC/CPC funding conditions or for more information on common OA policy requirements, please see FAQ 1.
  • At the point of acceptance. Several choices may be made by the author when their manuscript has been accepted for publication, including selecting whether to publish via the immediate OA route, and which licence to publish under (for more information on OA licenses, please see FAQ 4). Authors may also need to self-archive a copy of their accepted manuscript at this point, provided this is permitted by the publisher’s self-archiving policy.
  • After publication. Authors may need to self-archive a version of their manuscript at the point of publication. For more information on self-archiving, please see FAQ 5.

Our open access checklist provides further guidance on key steps to take in order to help ensure compliance with OA policy requirements and to identify funding for OA publications.

7. My book/chapter is subject to multiple open access policies. How can I ensure that all requirements that apply to me and my co-authors are met?

Where co-authors are based at different institutions or the research has been funded by more than one funding body, multiple OA policies may need to be met. Corresponding authors should ensure that they are aware of all applicable OA policies, and that the policies and OA options of the publisher will allow compliance with these requirements.

In general, OA policies will not conflict, even if they have different requirements. However, authors should check all their funders’ policies carefully, particularly requirements around OA licensing.

Note that different funders and institutions may require deposition in different specific repositories. There are no restrictions on the number of repositories in which a manuscript may be self-archived, so authors will be able to meet self-archiving requirements by ensuring that the article is available in all of the specified repositories within the required embargo period.

Our free OA Funding and Policy Support Service can provide advice on meeting multiple OA policies.

8. Will publishing with either Springer or Palgrave Macmillan allow me to meet my policy requirements?

Authors publishing via the gold OA route with Springer and Palgrave Macmillan are able to comply with all funder and institutional OA policies for books and chapters worldwide.

Publication under the CC BY 4.0 licence is available for most books and chapter types, allowing authors to meet the licence requirements of all funders. For more information on meeting license requirements, please see FAQ 4.

Where authors are not able to meet their funder or institution’s policy requirements for self-archiving by publishing the non-OA route (for example, if the embargo period, or terms of use on sharing exceeds the policy’s specified timeframe for availability, or the specified licensing terms - please see self-archiving policies for full details), they are advised to look into options for publishing open access before submitting, including checking funding availability from their funders and institution, and indicate their requirements at the proposal/submission stage.

Authors can speak to their editors or Springer Nature’s Funding Support Service can provide advice on meeting their funder or institution’s OA policy requirements.

9. My funder or institution has an open data policy. How can I make sure the data in my publication meets their requirements?

Research organisations have historically focused on OA to research publications. However, many funders and institutions are now introducing policies on the openness of research data. These typically focus on the practices of researchers for sharing and preserving research data, for example, by creating a data management plan, or making data openly available within a suitable repository. We advise that authors refer to the policies of their research funder(s) and institution to confirm which requirements may apply to their research data.

For further assistance in understanding and complying with open access policies, please contact our free OA Funding and Policy Support Service.

If you are interested in publishing via the immediate (gold) OA route see our OA funding FAQs for books and chapters for guidance on identifying and applying for OA publication funds.

If you have any feedback on these FAQs, including suggestions for further information on OA policies you would like to see, please let us know at OAFundingPolicy@springernature.com.