The Wellcome Trust Open Access policy


A short summary of The Wellcome Trust's open access policy. For full details, you can read the whole policy and related FAQs. The policy only applies to Wellcome-funded research output.

What is the policy?

  • All Wellcome Trust award holders need to comply with this policy for papers published since 1st October 2009.
  • Electronic copies of any research papers that have been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, and are supported in whole or in part by Wellcome funding, should be made available through PubMed Central (PMC) and Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC) ASAP, or within six months of the publisher's date of final publication.
  • For original research papers submitted after April 1st 2013, where it pays an open access fee, Wellcome requires authors and publishers to licence research papers using the Creative Commons Attribution licence, (CC-BY), so they may be freely copied and re-used (e.g. for text- and data-mining purposes or creating a translation), provided that such uses are fully attributed.

What types of publication does the policy cover?

  • Peer-reviewed, original (primary) research publications that have been supported, in whole or in part, by the Wellcome Trust.
  • From October 1st 2013, the policy will also include scholarly monographs and book chapters authored and co-authored by Trust grant-holders that arise as part of their grant-funded research. This applies to all new grant-holders (i.e. those who received a grant on or after 1 October 2013), and from October 2014 to all existing grant-holders. Although the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC-BY) is strongly preferred, Wellcome will accept non-commercial and/or no derivatives licences for monographs and book chapters.
  • Read more in Wellcome's Monograph and Book Chapter FAQ. If you are not sure whether your work is covered by the policies, you can email Wellcome for assistance.
  • There is a different deposit route for monographs and book chapters which can be found here.

What types of publication are not covered?

  • The policy does not apply to editorials, reviews or conference proceedings. The extended policy for monographs and book chapters will not apply to textbooks, ‘trade’ books, general reference works or works of fiction, or to collections edited, but not authored, by Trust grant-holders.

My research is covered by the policy. What are my options?

  • This depends on the OA routes your publisher offers:
    • Gold OA (see below) is a paid option (through an APC or Article Processing Charge) which can be funded from a grant Wellcome have awarded to Birkbeck through COAF. If your publisher offers a compliant paid open access option, Wellcome prefers you to choose this. If a publisher only offers paid open access, you must choose this.
    • Green OA (see below) is free, in this case through Europe PMC. This should only be pursued if your publisher does not provide a paid Open Access option.
    • View your options in a decision tree for articles and monographs.

How can I determine what a publisher's OA options are?

  • The SHERPA project has developed FACT (Funders & Authors Compliance Tool) to show if a publisher meets the Wellcome Trust's open access requirements. Simply choose your funder, search for a journal/publisher, and see if their policies comply.

What if a publisher doesn’t provide OA options?

  • Wellcome recommends the following options :
    • Grant a licence of copyright to a journal instead of assigning it.
    • Agree to a journal's normal arrangements only on the condition that it be specifically agreed that deposition in PMC/Europe PMC can take place.
    • Reconsider where to publish. An exceptional circumstance. Research shows that over 95% of journals in which Wellcome Trust-funded authors publish offer open access options.

If your publisher offers Gold OA...

What are my Gold OA options?

  • Open Access journal - Complete open access journals which deposit the published version of the paper in PMC with immediate availability.
  • Open Access article - Traditional subscription journals which offer a paid option for individual articles (known as the hybrid model). They deposit the published version in PMC with immediate availability.

How do we pay for Gold OA?

  • The college receives an annual grant from The Wellcome Trust/COAF to pay APCs, and research account codes are set up annually for the departments that receive Wellcome funding: Biological Sciences, Psychological Sciences, History, Classics and Archaeology and History of Art. Anyone wishing to claim against the grant should contact their ASM for Research or Sharon Bell in the Research Grants and Contracts Office (RGCO). The RGCO does not arbitrate what can and cannot be funded, nor place any restriction on access to the funds as long as the applicants and outputs are covered by the policy, and the publisher’s Open Access option is Wellcome-compliant.

Can I use the fund to make old research Open Access?

  • You can use the grant to enable OA for any qualifying research output published on or after October 1st 2009.

Can I use the grant if my work is not Wellcome-funded?

  • Only authors of Wellcome-funded research can utilise the grant.

What if we don’t comply?

  • Three sanctions will apply to all original Trust-funded research papers published from 1 October 2009 onwards:
    • Where non-compliant papers are identified in an End of Grant Report, the Trust will withhold the final 10 per cent of the 'total transferable funds' budget on the grant until all papers comply.
    • You will be required to ensure that Trust-funded papers resulting from current or previous grants are compliant before formal notification of any funding renewals or new grants can be activated.
    • You will not be permitted to include any non-compliant Wellcome-funded publications in any application submitted to the Trust, and such papers will be discounted from consideration of your track record.

If your publisher only offers Green OA -

    What are my Green OA options?

      • Archive your own manuscript - You can deposit a copy of the final, peer reviewed manuscript in Europe PMC. This must be made freely available as soon as possible, and no later than six months after the official date of final publication.
          • Publisher archives your manuscript - Some publishers (like Nature) will archive the final, peer-reviewed manuscript for you, though this usually requires you to opt in.

            What about BIROn?

            • Wellcome prefers authors to use Europe PMC as their Green option. However, we already harvest Europe PMC for Birkbeck research outputs, so if your work is deposited on PMC under the terms of the policy, we will also deposit it on BIROn, complete with full-text (under CC-BY).

            Who can I contact?

            • General Open Access enquiries should be directed to Paul Rigg in the library e-services team.
            • Research funding enquiries should be directed to in Research Grants & Contracts.