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Statement on Open Access to Research Publications from the National Research Foundation (NRF)-Funded Research


The National Research Foundation (NRF) was established through the National Research Foundation Act (Act No.23 of 1998). As an independent statutory agency, the organisation promotes and supports research in South Africa largely through the country’s Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), National Research Facilities and Science Councils with a view to generating knowledge and promoting high-level research capacity within the National System of Innovation (NSI).

Supporting scientific research through public funding is important for growing the knowledge economy, promoting innovation and stimulating appropriate development. The publication of NRF-funded research outputs contributes to the knowledgebase of the country. Open access to this knowledge base facilitates:

  • Dissemination of knowledge;
  • Utilisation/uptake/application of this knowledge
  • Accelerated transformation and globalisation of science; and
  • Rapid transformation of this knowledge into innovative and developmental applications for the benefit of society.


The NRF recognises the importance of Open Access to science and research while at the same time appreciating that Open Access will continue to evolve in response to societal needs, achieving overarching policy harmonisation and new innovative publishing business models.

From 01 March 2015, authors of research papers generated from research either fully or partially funded by NRF, when submitting and publishing in academic journals, should deposit their final peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been accepted by the journals, to the administering Institution Repository with an embargo period of no more than 12 months. Earlier Open Access may be provided should this be allowed by the publisher. If the paper is published in an Open Access journal or the publisher allows the deposit of the published version in PDF format, such version should be deposited into the administering Institutional Repository and Open Access should be provided as soon as possible.

In addition, the data supporting the publication should be deposited in an accredited Open Access repository, with the provision of a Digital Object Identifier for future citation and referencing.

The NRF encourages its stakeholder community, including NRF’s Business Units and National Research Facilities, to:

  • Formulate detailed policies on Open Access of publications and data from its funded research;
  • Establish Open Access repositories; and
  • Support public access to the repositories through web search and retrieval according to international standards and best practice.

The NRF requires its relevant Business Units and National Research Facilities to actively collaborate with relevant governmental departments and public higher education and research institutions to facilitate Open Access to publications generated from publicly funded research. The NRF requires its stakeholder community to actively seek collaboration with the international scientific community to facilitate the Open Access of publications generated from publicly funded research across the world.

Press Release