The NRF has a statement of mandatory open access requirements for published research.

Policy Stipulations

Time Limits

An embargo of no more than 12 months from publication is permissible for publications. Earlier open access may be provided should this be allowed by the publisher.

Data should be offered for deposit as soon as possible after the end of data collection. An embargo period is allowed; this will normally be a maximum of two years from the end of data collection.

Data Plan

Note that the NRF provides public funds and that research data that originates from such funding (see also section 3 of the "Student/Generic Data Management Plan" by registering on UCT DMP ) should be deposited in accordance with the NRF Open Access Statement.

The data management plan("DMP") should indicate which data will be shared. Research data that have restrictions on sharing must be stated in the DMP and all consequent publications.

Grant holders are expected to consider confidentiality, ethics, security and copyright related to their data. Make note of data sharing limitations and explain efforts to overcome these where possible.

Access/Data Sharing

The data supporting the publication should be deposited in an accredited open access repository, with the provision of a digital object identifier (DOI) for future citation and referencing. See the Guidance section below for further information on the use of DOIs.

Metadata of the dataset should include the NRF award number and other attributes, such as a permanent identifier(eg. DOI) for future citation and referencing as required by the publisher/funders. Metadata should be made available irrespective of constraints that may exist in respect of data access.

Intellectual Property (IP)*

The grant holder undertakes to comply with the Institution’s policy on intellectual property disclosures (refer to the relevant clause in your agreement with the NRF).

Intellectual capital generated by NRF-funded research must be appropriately protected and exploited for the benefit of South Africa. This condition should not interfere with the intellectual property rights arrangements already made, provided that the majority of the benefits arising from the intellectual capital accrue to South Africa and its citizens. This condition is aligned with the Intellectual Property Rights Act 51 of 2008, which will override the conditions of the grant.

Support Services


From 1 March 2015, authors of research papers generated from research either fully or partially funded by the NRF, when submitting and publishing in academic journals, should deposit their final peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been accepted by the journals in the administering institutional repository (IR), which is OpenUCT for UCT NRF grantees. See the NRF Open Access Statement FAQs.

Data Centre

The NRF does not run a data centre. The principal investigator and higher education institution (HEI) are responsible for long-term access and preservation.


Article processing charges (short: APCs, aka publication fees) and all eligible direct costs need to be included in the grant application to the NRF.

*“Intellectual Property” means all intellectual property, whether or not registrable, including but not limited to copyright, patents, proprietary material, trademarks, design, know-how, trade secrets, new proprietary and confidential concepts, methods, techniques, processes, adaptations, ideas, technical specifications, and testing methods relating to the relevant research project funded by the NRF.

Where the Institution decides that the NRF-funded research outputs should not be protected under intellectual property rights, the Institution shall be obliged to make the necessary arrangements within its powers to ensure the availability of the research output data to the larger research community through existing specific research fields or other generic databases and to have complied with national legislation in this regard.