Guidance for publishers on how to develop open access processes

This information is to help publishers develop policies and processes that mean Wellcome-funded authors can continue to seek publication in a wide range of peer-reviewed journals.

Wellcome has a position statement on open access, which includes the specific obligations of institutions, grantholders and all others supported by grants.

Since 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 extended policy applies to all grantholders, past and present, who were awarded a grant on or since 1 October 2013.

For more information, please see Open access monographs and book chapters: a practical guide for publishers [PDF 1.1MB].

A researcher can comply with this policy in one of two ways.

1. Publish in a journal that offers a Wellcome-compliant open access option

Publishers who provide this option include BioMed Central and the Public Library of Science. They deposit the final published version of the paper to PubMed Central (PMC) and make it freely available on the day of publication.

Many traditional publishers have also introduced a paid open access option (also known as the hybrid open access model) so that individual articles can be made open access. Examples include Elsevier, OUP, Wiley, Springer, CUP and BMJPG.

2. Self-archive the author manuscript in Europe PMC

If a publisher doesn’t offer a Wellcome-compliant paid open access option, authors can still comply with our policy by depositing a copy of their final, peer reviewed manuscript in Europe PMC.

When the author manuscript is deposited it must be made freely available as soon as possible and not later than six months after the journal publisher's official date of final publication.

An author manuscript submission system – Europe PMC plus – is available on the Europe PMC website for Wellcome authors to self-archive papers.

Examples of publishers who support this model include the American Medical Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Nature Publishing Group.

When self-archiving, no fee is payable to the publisher.

With both approaches, authors must include in the manuscript the unique grant reference number in the relevant funding or acknowledgement section in any published work. This enables us to link the published outputs of research to the funding provided. Further guidance for authors is available.

We are currently working with publishers to clarify our expectations around the services they provide.

From April 2017, if Wellcome funds are used to pay an article processing charge (APC) to make an article by one of our grantholders open access, then we'll require publishers to commit publicly to providing a service that meets our requirements. We'll then maintain a list of compliant publishers.

More information for publishers about our new requirements

There are two ways Wellcome-funded researchers can access additional funds to cover open access publishing costs.

  1. Wellcome participates in the Charity Open Access Fund (COAF). Researchers based at the 36 institutions which receive a grant from COAF to cover open access publishing costs can use those funds to pay the costs.
  2. For those researchers who are based at other institutions, we will supplement individual grants to cover open access publishing costs if the grantholder requests it.

Publishers cannot directly invoice us for any Wellcome-funded papers they publish under an open access pays model.

Breast Cancer Now, Cancer Research UK, Blood Cancer UK, British Heart Foundation, Parkinson’s UK and Versus Arthritis are also members of COAF.

For information on paying open access fees for other Europe PMC funders, check their websites via Europe PMC.

A Research Information Network (RIN) and Universities UK report (March 2009), ‘Paying for open access publication charges ’, offers further practical guidance.

If the publisher offers a Wellcome-compliant paid open access option, we advise authors to select this rather than archiving the author manuscript.

Papers deposited under this route are:

  • deposited in their final form, including all the changes that arise through the copy editing process
  • made available at the time of publication
  • published under a CC-BY licence that allows others to re-use this content and so maximises the potential of the research we fund.

To further encourage the uptake of the author-pays open access option, publishers may want to consider:

Integrating publisher manuscript submission systems with the author-pays option. For example, on acceptance of a paper, authors could be asked to indicate how the research was funded. In cases where Wellcome is identified as the funder, the submission workflow could be routed to include an option to select the author-pays, open access option with the CC-BY licence.

Making the 'Acknowledgement' field a mandatory piece of metadata in the submission process. This would give publishers the opportunity to follow-up with authors who are Wellcome-funded, but don’t select the open access option.

This table provides a simple summary of when papers associated with Wellcome should be made available through Europe PMC.

 ScenarioExample TextDeposit to PMC/Europe PMC

Wellcome Trust is acknowledged as supporting the research which led to this research article.

‘This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust [grant numbers xxxx, yyyy]’

‘J Smith (or JS) is supported by the Wellcome Trust (012345)’

‘JS is a Wellcome Senior Fellow, and JB is supported by a Foundation Studentship from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College.’


Wellcome Trust is acknowledged in the Acknowledgement section of the article – but the acknowledgment is limited to using Trust data, equipment or facilities.

Data examples

‘This study makes use of data generated by the Wellcome Trust Case-Control Consortium’

‘We acknowledge use of the British 1958 Birth Cohort DNA collection, funded by the Medical Research Council grant G1234567 and the Wellcome Trust grant 012345.’

‘The independent study case samples were obtained from the UK DNA bank for Motor Neuron Disease Research, which was funded by the Motor Neurone Disease Association grant 123 and the Wellcome Trust grant 012345.’

‘The authors acknowledge use of DNA from The UK Blood Services collection of Common Controls (UKBS collection), funded by the Wellcome Trust (grant 012345’

Equipment/facilities examples

'The equipment was funded by the Wellcome Trust (Grant ref: 012345)'

‘This project was funded by the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) grant BB0123456, with equipment support from The Wellcome Trust grant 012345.’

‘We also thank J. Smith of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute's Sample and Genotyping Facilities for technical assistance.’



We recognise that key research findings are published as scholarly monographs or book chapters, and believe the visibility and impact of these research outputs should be maximised.

For this reason, in October 2013 we extended our open access policy to include monographs and book chapters, specifically:

  • the policy applies to all original scholarly monographs and book chapters authored or co-authored by Wellcome grantholders as part of their grant-funded research
  • the policy does not apply to textbooks, ‘trade’ books, general reference works or works of fiction, or to collections edited, but not authored, by Wellcome grantholders.

Grantholders are required to make these research outputs available through the PMC Bookshelf and Europe PMC repositories as soon as possible, with a maximum time limit of six months.

Wellcome has made funds available to pay publishers’ open access monograph processing charges.

These funds are not part of the COAF grant. Authors will request a grant supplement or reimbursement for their institution if their grant had ended.

If a monograph processing charge (MPC) is paid to make a Wellcome grantholder’s monograph or book chapter open access, we expect publishers to provide the following service:

  • The full text monograph or book chapter files must be deposited in PMC Bookshelf immediately upon publication, or sooner. More information on depositing Wellcome-funded research.
  • Once uploaded to PMC Bookshelf, the files will be converted and made available in HTML and PDF format. They will also be made available from Europe PMC and OAPEN. Publishers must allow this further distribution of the monograph or chapter files.
  • Where technically possible, the publisher should make the full text of the monograph or book chapter available in HTML and PDF on their website so that they are freely available for everyone to read. The monograph or book chapter must not require registration of any kind to be viewed.

Monographs and book chapters must be licensed in ways which support their reuse. The Creative Commons, Attribution licence (CC-BY) is the preferred licence. This information must be included on the copyright page of the monograph or volume within which the book chapter(s) is published.

The open access status, including a link to the open access version of the monograph or book chapter, must be clearly indicated on the product page, in your catalogue and on your publishing platform.

Its open access status should also be visible within discovery and distribution channels, such as Amazon and Google Books. In Google Books it should be possible to download the full PDF of the monograph or book chapter.

For links to other Europe PMC Funders' policies and FAQs, see the funders' pages on the Europe PMC site

Open access monographs and book chapters: a practical guide for publishers [PDF 1.1MB]