Funders and institutions requiring a CC BY licence for OA articles

As of 1st January 2017, the Gates Foundation requires immediate open access under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence for all peer-reviewed research publications resulting from their funding.

Gates-funded researchers whose grant agreements have a start date prior to January 1st, 2015 are not required to comply with the policy. Find more information about complying with this policy when publishing in Springer Nature journals.

Certain research funders require that grantees publish under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC BY) if opting to publish via the open access route:

  • Austrian Science Fund (FWF)
  • British Heart Foundation
  • Ford Foundation
  • Prostate Cancer UK
  • Research Council of Lithuania
  • Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) (applies to grants issued from Jan 1st, 2017)
  • World Health Organisation

Other research funders and institutions require that articles are published under a CC BY licence where they have funded the open access article processing charge (APC).

Research funders

  • Arthritis Research UK1
  • Bloodwise (formerly Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research)
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Department of Health, including National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
  • European Commission - Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7) post-grant pilot2
  • Foundation for Science and Technology, Portugal (FCT)
  • Helmholtz Association
  • International Development Research Centre
  • Parkinson’s UK
  • Research Councils UK (RCUK), including AHRC, BBSRC, ESRC, EPSRC, MRC, NERC, STFC
  • Telethon Foundation, Italy
  • Wellcome Trust
  • Worldwide Cancer Research – formerly Association of International Cancer Research


  • Brunel University3
  • European Molecular Biology Laboratory3
  • The Francis Crick Institute
  • University of Liverpool
  • Queensland University of Technology

1 A CC BY licence is required if the APC is funded by the Charity Open Access Fund (COAF), but not where the APC has been paid using ARUK research grant funds.

2 The European Commission has Creative Commons licence requirements for recipients of FP7 post-grant OA funding, with a preference for CC BY. Grant-holders publishing in our journals must select the CC BY licence option in order to meet this requirement.

The CC BY licence option should be chosen if it is offered by the journal.

Meeting CC BY requirements when publishing in Springer Nature journals

All Springer Nature-owned journals with open access options offer the CC BY licence. For more information on OA licensing options in Springer Nature journals see our journal policies page or consult our lists of fully OA and hybrid journals.

If a journal with the option to publish articles via the immediate OA route does not offer CC BY as a standard licence option, and it is not possible to meet the funders’ or institutions’ OA policy requirements by publishing in the same journal via the subscription route, authors subject to CC BY requirements should contact the journal editorial office to request use of a CC BY licence prior to publication.

Please check your funder’s open access policy for full details of their OA publication and deposition requirements; links to the policies of many major research funders may be found on our OA funding support webpage.


The information on this page reflects research funders’ open access policies to the best of our knowledge. Authors are advised to check open access requirements on funder websites in case of any changes to policies or funding.