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Open access policy

Position statement in support of open and unrestricted access to published research

The mission of the Wellcome Trust is to improve health by supporting bright minds in science, the humanities and social sciences, and public engagement.

The main output of this research is new ideas and knowledge, which the Trust expects its researchers to publish in high-quality, peer-reviewed journals.

The Wellcome Trust believes that maximising the distribution of these papers - by providing free, online access - is the most effective way of ensuring that the research we fund can be accessed, read and built upon. In turn, this will foster a richer research culture.

The Wellcome Trust therefore supports unrestricted access to the published output of research as a fundamental part of its charitable mission and a public benefit to be encouraged wherever possible.

Specifically, the Wellcome Trust:

  • expects authors of research papers to maximise the opportunities to make their results available for free*
  • requires 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 Trust funding, to be made available through PubMed Central (PMC) and Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC) as soon as possible and in any event within six months of the journal publisher's official date of final publication
  • expects Trust funded researchers to select publishing routes that ensure the work is available immediately on publication in its final published form, wherever such options exist for their journal of choice and are compliant with our policy
  • will provide grantholders with additional funding, through their institutions, to cover open access charges, where appropriate, in order to meet the Trust's requirements
  • encourages - and where it pays an open access fee, 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 (for example, for text- and data-mining purposes or creating a translation), provided that such uses are fully attributed.
  • affirms the principle that it is the intrinsic merit of the work, and not the title of the journal in which an author's work is published, that should be considered in making funding decisions.

Specific details of how authors are required to comply with this policy can be found in the authors’ FAQs.

Information for publishers can be found in the publishers’ guide [PDF 37KB].

This policy will be kept under review.

*Important note: The Trust is extending its open access policy to include scholarly monographs and book chapters authored or coauthored by Trust grantholders that arise as part of their grant-funded research.

The extended policy applies to grantholders who were awarded a grant on or after 1 October 2013. From October 2014 the extension will come into effect for all grantholders. For more information please see the Monograph and Book Chapter FAQ.

**This requirement applies only to original research papers submitted for publication from 1 April 2013, where Trust funds have been used to meet an article processing charge. Please refer to the CC-BY FAQ for more information.

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