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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 as high-quality, peer-reviewed research articles, monographs and book chapters.

The Wellcome Trust believes that maximising the distribution of these publications - 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, monographs and book chapters 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 PMC as soon as possible and in any event within six months of the journal publisher's official date of final publication. Similarly, monographs and book chapters must be made available through PMC Bookshelf and Europe PMC with a maximum embargo of six months.
  • 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 publisher of choice and are compliant with our policy
  • will provide grantholders with additional funding 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. CC-BY is also the preferred licence for monographs and book chapters.
  • affirms the principle that it is the intrinsic merit of the work, and not the title of the journal or the publisher with which an author's work is published, that should be considered in making funding decisions.

Specific details of how authors of research articles are required to comply with this policy can be found in the authors’ FAQs, and further information for authors of monographs or book chapters can be found in the monograph and book chapter FAQ.

Information for publishers, including service requirements if an open access fee is paid, can be found in the publishers’ guide [PDF 290KB].

This policy will be kept under review.

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