Our research policies


Our research policies are intended to encourage research activity of the highest quality carried out to the highest standards. We are a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities who audit our processes and policies every 5 years to ensure compliance.

Animal research policy

Arthritis is a painful, disabling condition affecting more than 1 in 6 people in the UK and we are dedicated to finding treatments to take the pain away from sufferers so they can live active, longer, happier and healthier lives.

We are committed to increasing our understanding of how arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions develop and how best they should be treated. To achieve this we fund a broad range of medical research, from research in laboratories to research involving human volunteers, from computer modelling to understanding the benefits of self-care programmes for people with arthritis. Where there are no alternatives, we fund medical research which uses animals.

Medical research using animals has made a vital contribution to advances in medicine and surgery which have brought major improvements to the health of people. Research using animals will continue to be essential to tackle many of the unsolved problems in understanding and treating musculoskeletal conditions. The UK has one of the most rigorous systems in the world for regulating animal research.

The UK requires permissions from both central Government and local ethical reviews to conduct research involving animals. As part of this approval process, each medical research project using animals must be examined and ways to improve adoption of the 3Rs are considered. These are:

  • Replace the use of animals with alternative research methods and where possible avoid the use of animals altogether.
  • Reduce the number of animals used.
  • Refine how animal-based experiments are carried out to minimise any suffering and to improve animal welfare.

We are fully committed to these principles and all our research abides by rules set out by the Home Office. Under this system, animals can only be used when there is no alternative. Versus Arthritis is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities and signs up to their position on animal research along with their Concordat on Openness in Animal Research, and as such we have committed to be open and clear about our use of animals in research in our external communications.

Policy on management of interest

On this page, you can find our policy of management of interests (PDF 68KB). The purpose of this document is to minimise the potential for conflicts of interest to arise and protects the charity and those who work for it from any perception, real or otherwise, that the external interests and affiliations of members of the Subcommittees of the Charitable Purposes Committee and supporting panels, groups and networks might interfere with their ability to work unbiasedly on behalf of the charity.


This policy relates to:

  • All areas of business and to all members (permanent and guest) of the Disease, Treatment and Health Subcommittees of the Charitable Purposes Committee, as well as members of ad hoc panels, the college of experts and the patient insight network.
  • Research Study Group chairs and members of the study groups.
  • The management of conflicts of interests of external written peer reviewers (who are non-Subcommittee members).

Industrial support policy

Principles of the Industrial Support Policy

  • To ensure that Versus Arthritis are aware of collaborations between the researcher and industrial partner.
  • There are no unreasonable restrictions to the proposed research.
  • The parties involved act with integrity and transparency at all times.
  • To ensure that any collaboration will support the aims and objectives of Versus Arthritis and benefit individuals with musculoskeletal conditions.

Applicants are also encouraged to read the guidelines from AMRC (PDF 385KB).

Observational data and sample collection

This policy presents the principles that guide our support of clinical observational data and sample collection.

These principles encompass collection and maintenance of data and samples for both proposed new collections and established collections and are intended to serve as a guide for those wishing to apply for support or such studies to us.

It is important that all potential applicants for support consider carefully the scope of their application and its relevance to our mission and strategic focus.

As well as the criteria set out below, we will consider carefully the overall cost of each study, whether it has support from other funders and the plan for longer term sustainability.

Preliminary enquiries regarding the scope and suitability of a study for potential support from us can be made via the clinical studies groups and the research and programmes directorate.

Observational data and sample collection policy (PDF 245KB).

Open access policy

Versus Arthritis is the charity dedicated to stopping the devastating impact that arthritis has on people’s lives. We are committed to ensuring the published results of the research we fund are made as free and widely available as possible. Open access is an important means of maximising the impact of our funded research; it helps to share knowledge amongst the scientific community and enables our supporters to access the research they fund.

Open access options and costs

You can make your paper open access by publishing in an open access journal. Many publishers impose an article processing charge (APC) for this service. Versus Arthritis provides financial support to pay these charges.

  • From 1 October 2014, Versus Arthritis has contributed to the Charity Open Access Fund (COAF). The fund is a partnership between medical research charities and is available to a number of institutions. Authors should apply through their host institution to access this fund.
  • Authors based at an institution not supported by COAF, can apply direct to Versus Arthritis for open access funding if their host institution is unable to meet the costs of APCs.
  • Alternatively, authors can comply with \versus Arthritis policy by self-archiving their publication in Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC) within six months of publication.

Versus Arthritis policy

We recommend authors select publishing routes that ensure the work is freely available immediately on publication in its final published form.

  • Where APCs are paid through the COAF, authors and publishers must licence papers using a Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY). This is so they may be freely copied and re-used (e.g. for text and data mining purposes), providing such uses are fully attributed.
  • Where APCs are paid direct by Versus Arthritis, we recommend that authors and publishers licence papers using a CC-BY licence.
  • Electronic copies of any research papers accepted for publication that are wholly or partially funded by Versus Arthritis must be made available via Europe PMC as soon as possible and no later than six months after publication.

What type of publications does the policy apply to?

  • Versus Arthritis open access policy applies to original research papers submitted for publication.
  • Where APCs are met through COAF, funding is available for original research papers and non-commissioned reviews.
  • Where APCs are met by Versus Arthritis, funding is available for original research papers only and does not cover additional page charges or colour plate charges.
  • Our open access policy does not extend to editorials, letters, commissioned reviews, scholarly monographs, conference proceedings or book chapters.

Further information

Guidance to support researchers in complying with this policy can be found in our step by step guide to making your paper open access.