Our open access policy applies to all original, peer-reviewed research publications that have been supported, in whole or in part, by Wellcome.
The policy does not cover:
If you’re funded by Wellcome and want to make an unsolicited review article or a study protocol open access, we will meet the cost of the Article Processing Charge (APC) where the publisher provides a Wellcome-compliant paid open access option.
Since 1 October 2013, our open access policy has included scholarly monographs and book chapters authored and co-authored by Wellcome grantholders that arise as part of their grant-funded research.
The policy does not apply to PhD theses by Wellcome-funded students. But we expect PhD theses to be made freely available from the EThOS repository as soon as possible.
From 1 January 2021 our open access policy is changing [PDF 158KB]. Read our explainer about what will be different and why, and our frequently asked questions [PDF 282KB] for more information about the changes.
As an author of a Wellcome-funded research article, you should take the following steps to ensure your work complies with our open access policy:
Step 1: Check that our policy applies to the type of paper you plan to publish.
Step 2: Check that your journal of choice has a publishing policy compliant with our grant conditions. Wellcome-funded authors can use the SHERPA Funders’ and Authors’ Compliance Tool (SHERPA FACT) to check this.
Step 3: This depends on the Wellcome-compliant open access option the journal offers:
Step 4: Ensure that Wellcome funding, including the grant reference number, is acknowledged on all papers.
You’re unlikely to be able to comply with our grant conditions if the journal does not have an open access option or does not allow self-archiving in PMC/Europe PMC within six months of publication.
If this is the case, you have three options:
Copyright agreements can take many forms, but the following is an example of the sort of wording that could be included in an agreement with a journal that would still allow you to comply with our grant conditions:
“Notwithstanding any of the other provisions of this agreement, the journal acknowledges that the researcher will be entitled to deposit an electronic copy of the final, peer-reviewed manuscript for inclusion in PubMed Central (PMC), and for this manuscript to be mirrored to all PMC international sites, such as Europe PMC.”
Manuscripts deposited with PMC (and Europe PMC) may be made freely available to the public, via the internet, within six months of the official date of final publication in the journal.
When self-archiving in Europe PMC, no APC is payable to the publisher.
In 2013, we extended our open access policy to include monographs and book chapters, specifically:
The author or publisher of research funded by Wellcome should deposit the monograph or book chapter for inclusion in PMC Bookshelf and Europe PMC using the monograph and book chapter deposit form.
This extended policy came into effect for all grantholders in October 2014 and now applies to all grantholders, past and present.
The one exemption to this is if the contract to publish a book was in place before October 2014.
It may be unclear whether your work is being published in a journal or as part of a book series. Some journals indexed in MEDLINE are marketed as book series. However, as all publications indexed by MEDLINE have been submitted for indexing as journals by the publisher, we consider them to be journals.
Articles published within such a series should be deposited in PubMed Central and licensed under the Creative Commons, Attribution licence (CC-BY).
To ensure your scholarly monograph or book chapter complies with our open access policy, you should make it available from PMC Bookshelf and Europe PMC as soon as possible. It must be within six months of the publisher's official date of final publication.
Where an open access publishing fee is levied, works must be available without embargo and licensed in ways which support their re-use.
Open access monographs and book chapters will be freely available in both html and PDF format via the repositories.
Wellcome grantholders or publishers of research funded by Wellcome should use this deposit form to deposit a monograph or book chapter for inclusion in the PubMed Bookshelf and Europe PMC.
The following information is needed to complete the form:
We work hard with authors and publishers to ensure that a researcher's ability to choose the publisher they feel is most appropriate isn't compromised by trying to comply with our policy.
We believe adopting a strong open access mandate will give existing publishers a strong rationale to develop open access book publishing mechanisms. This will encourage new, fully open access book publishers to emerge.
Publishers that already offer an open access option for scholarly monographs include:
Other publishers, such as Oxford University Press and Rutgers University Press, don’t yet have an open access policy for monographs but are happy to discuss options with Wellcome-funded grantholders.
If you’re thinking of publishing a monograph or book chapter with a publisher that doesn’t have an open access option, please email email@example.com. We'll work with you and the publisher to see if it's possible to publish your work open access.
The awards made to institutions for open access through the Charity Open Access Fund (COAF) cannot be used to cover the cost of open access fees associated with Wellcome-funded scholarly monographs and book chapters.
For more information, see how to get open access funding.
It is possible to use third-party images in open access publications, but this is a new area for many authors, publishers and image providers. There are challenges working out how images can be reused and licensed within open access content.
You should ask for permission to use the image(s) as usual.
It’s important to inform the owner of the image that your work will be published open access. However, the choice of how the image itself is licensed remains with the image’s owner.
Ideally, the image will be published under the same licence as the rest of your work, but this is not essential – the image can be licensed separately.
Wellcome’s open access fund can’t be used to pay image fees. If it’s essential to use a third-party image, you can use the flexible funding allowance (FFA) provided on your Wellcome grant to meet this cost.
If you’re applying to a funding scheme that doesn’t get the FFA, you can ask for this cost in your grant application.
‘Scholarly’ books are defined by their content and their intended audience.
Content - they represent the results of original academic research, presented in accordance with recognised academic conventions, eg with rigorous inclusion of bibliographic references.
Audience - scholarly books are written by, and aimed at, those who are actively engaged with or interested in academic research, rather than a general readership.
Scholarly books are sometimes identifiable by the publisher, imprint, or series, or by the way in which they are described and marketed by publishers. They’re unlikely to be stocked by general booksellers.
Your publisher should:
Most publishers publish a print copy and an epub version of the book to sell. Some publishers offer the epub for free.
Some publishers offer royalties on print and e-book sales of open access books. This is something you can discuss during the negotiation.
Our open access policy applies to the following research papers, monographs and book chapters:
Wellcome-funded researchers should ensure that the provision of data, materials or technical assistance to external users is acknowledged in resulting research papers, in line with best practice in that field. But these papers would only fall under the our policy where a Wellcome-funded researcher appears as a co-author.
Research papers, monographs and book chapters arising from the Medical Humanities Small Grants scheme are not required to comply with our policy. We’ll consider requests to make such outputs open access on a case-by-case basis. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for advice.
We monitor research papers authored by our funded researchers to make sure they comply with our policy. We do this when researchers apply for funding, and when they submit their end-of-grant reports.
When research papers aren't compliant, we won't: