Complying with our open access policy

Guidance on how to comply with our open access policy.

Overview

Our open access policy applies to all original, peer-reviewed research publications that have been supported, in whole or in part, by Wellcome.

It 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. Read our detailed guidance below on how to comply with our new policy.

Until January 2021, researchers must continue to comply with our current policy.

Compliance for original research articles – from 1 January 2021

You must ensure all journal articles that report original, peer-reviewed research supported in whole, or in part, by Wellcome funding, comply with our open access policy.

This guidance provides practical advice on how to comply when the new policy comes into effect on 1 January 2021.

It includes:

Summary of the routes to compliance

There are three publishing routes you can follow to comply with Wellcome’s policy:

Route 1: Publish in a fully OA journal or platform.

Route 2: Publish in a subscription journal and take responsibility for making the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) freely available from Europe PMC at the time of publication.

Route 3: Publish in a subscription journal through a transformative arrangement that is available to you via your organisation.

Our preferred routes to compliance are routes 1 or 3. These options ensure that the final published version (which includes all copy-editing changes and a commitment to update the work with any corrections etc) is made OA at the time of publication.

Read more information about these routes.

Researchers must follow the steps below to ensure compliance with our open access policy.

1. Use the Journal Checker Tool

A Journal Checker Tool will be available from autumn 2020. You can use this to check if your preferred journal enables you to comply with our policy and, if so, which route you should use.

2. Apply a CC BY licence to journal submissions

To ensure you (or anyone supported/associated with the grant) can comply with our policy, you must apply a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) public copyright licence to all Author Accepted Manuscripts arising from submissions to peer-reviewed journals that report original research.

If you allow others to own copyright in AAMs, you must ensure that they apply the CC BY licence to all future submissions.

You must include the following text in all submissions:

We recommend that this text is also included in:

  • any cover letter that accompanies the submission
  • the funding acknowledgement section of the manuscript. 

We will update our grant conditions before January 2021, to include this requirement.

If a journal refuses to accept a submission which makes clear that any Author Accepted Manuscripts arising from the submission will already be licensed under a prior CC BY licence, you will need to reconsider where to publish your research. In such cases, let us know and we’ll update the journal’s details in the Journal Checker Tool.

3. Request an exception to the CC BY licence, if required

Our policy requires all journal articles to be published under a CC BY licence. As an exception, you can ask for individual articles to be published under a Creative Commons No-Derivatives licence (CC BY-ND), so that your research cannot be used to create derivatives works without your permission.

To apply for this exception, you should complete a CC BY-ND exception form. The form will be available on this page from December 2020. You will need to have your request approved before your paper is submitted for publication.

If we’ve approved a CC BY-ND licence, include the following text in the journal submission:

If a journal refuses to accept a submission that is already licensed CC-BY-ND, you will need to reconsider where to publish your research. In such cases, let us know and we’ll update the journal’s details in the Journal Checker Tool.

Detailed information on the routes to compliance


Route 1: Publish in a fully open access journal or platform

For example, eLife, PLOS Biology or Wellcome Open Research.

Using this route, the publisher takes responsibility for making the Version of Record for the article freely available from Europe PMC at the time of publication, under a CC BY licence.

We are willing to fund fair and reasonable article processing charges (APCs) for papers published via this route where the journal:

Read about how to get open access funding to cover open access publishing costs for research papers.

Route 2: Publish in a subscription journal and you, as the author, takes responsibility for making the AAM freely available from Europe PMC

Where a publisher has not implemented publishing models to transition away from subscriptions, you can still publish in any subscription journal and make a copy of the AAM freely available from Europe PMC at the time of publication, under a CC BY licence.

By applying a CC BY (or CC BY-ND, if approved) public copyright licence to all journal submissions, you retain the right that allows you to deposit a copy of the AAM in Europe PMC in this way This ensures that you can continue to publish in a journal and comply with our policy.

Use the author manuscript submission system Europe PMC plus to deposit your AAM.

When complying by this route, no APC is payable to the publisher.

Route 3: Publish in a subscription journal that is part of a transformative arrangement

You can do this if a transformative arrangement it’s available to you through your organisation. An example of such an arrangement is the Wiley OA Agreement.

Under this route, the publisher takes responsibility for making the Version of Record for the articles freely available in Europe PMC at the time of publication, under a CC BY licence.

From 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2024, UK organisations in receipt of Wellcome open access funding can use these funds for publication costs associated with transformative OA arrangements.

The Journal Checker Tool will let you know if a transformative arrangement for your preferred journal is available to you through your organisation.

4. Acknowledge Wellcome's support

Make sure that all your Wellcome-funded papers:

5. Make data and software available to other researchers

Make sure your paper includes a statement explaining how other researchers can access any data, original software or materials underpinning the research.

See our data, software and materials management and sharing policy.

If you have any questions contact openaccess@wellcome.ac.uk.

Compliance for original research articles – before 1 January 2021

This guidance is for articles submitted for publication up to 31 December 2020.

The policy does not include:

  • editorials
  • letters
  • correspondence
  • conference proceedings
  • review articles
  • study protocols.

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.

As an author of a Wellcome-funded research article, you must 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:

If the journal asks you to pay an article processing charge (APC) for publishing your article, they will directly deposit the article in PMC and Europe PMC on your behalf immediately upon publication and we will meet the associated costs. Where Wellcome funds are used to meet the cost of the APC the article must be licensed using the Creative Commons, Attribution licence (CC BY).

If the journal does not offer a compliant paid open access option, you can still comply with the policy by depositing a copy of the author’s accepted manuscript in Europe PMC. You should make this freely available no later than six months after the date of publication. You can use the author manuscript submission system Europe PMC plus to self-archive your papers.

Some publishers will archive a manuscript on the author’s behalf. Authors usually have to opt-in to this service, but will not have to pay a fee.

Step 4: Ensure that Wellcome funding, including the grant reference number, is acknowledged on all papers.

When there’s no open access option

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:

1. Grant a licence of your copyright to a journal instead of assigning copyright.

Such a licence would have to allow the journal to publish but still allow you to make your research available through PMC/Europe PMC. In this way, you should be able to retain ownership of your copyright and still allow publication in a journal. This could be achieved, for example, through using the SPARC Author Addendum to Publication Agreement.

2. Agree to a journal's normal arrangements on the condition that it is specifically agreed that deposition in PMC/Europe PMC can take place.
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.

3. Reconsider where to publish.

This is unlikely as research we’ve done shows that over 95% of journals in which Wellcome-funded authors publish offer open access options.

When self-archiving in Europe PMC, no APC is payable to the publisher.

More information

Compliance for monographs and book chapters

We recognise that key research findings may be published as scholarly monographs or book chapters. We want the visibility and impact of these research outputs to be maximised.

What’s covered by our policy

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.

We will make funds available for the payment of publishers’ open access monograph and book chapter processing charges.

Differentiating between journals and book series

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).

If you’re unsure, you can check the publication status or email openaccess@wellcome.ac.uk.

How to comply with our open access policy

To ensure your scholarly monograph or book chapter complies with our open access policy, you must make it available from NCBI 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 charged, works must be available without embargo and licensed in ways which support their re-use. CC BY is strongly preferred, but if this isn't available we will accept non-commercial and/or no-derivatives licences such as CC BY-NC or CC BY-NC-ND.

Funding is available to cover publishers' open access monograph and book chapter processing charges.

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 NCBI Bookshelf and Europe PMC.

You need the following information to complete the form:

  • relevant Wellcome grant number or grantholder's name
  • full text monograph or book chapter files, plus associated metadata files if available
  • licence details of the publication
  • embargo release date, if applicable.

Open access monographs and book chapters will be freely available in both html and PDF format via the repositories.

Publishers with a compliant open access option for monographs

We work 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:

If you’re thinking of publishing a monograph or book chapter with a publisher that doesn’t have an open access option, please email openaccess@wellcome.ac.uk. We'll work with you and the publisher to see if it's possible to publish your work open access.

Meeting open access costs

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.

Using third-party images in open access publications

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.

A number of major image providers have made their collections open access, for example the National Gallery of Art, the Getty, Wellcome Images and Yale Center for British Art.

Image fees

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 ask for the cost of reasonable image fees in your grant application.

How we define ‘scholarly’ monographs or book chapters

‘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, for example 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.

Identification

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.

What to expect from publishers when paying a fee to make your book open access

Your publisher should:

  • offer the same peer review and marketing services for open access books as they do for non-open access books
  • deposit your work in PMC Bookshelf on your behalf, to help you comply with our open access policy.

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.

More information

The scope of being funded 'in whole or in part'

Our open access policy applies to the following research papers, monographs and book chapters:

  • research that has been funded in whole or in part through a Wellcome grant (either during the award, or after the funding period has ended)
  • where a Wellcome Investigator Award holder, Wellcome Fellow or any other individual in receipt of salary support from Wellcome appears as a co-author during the period of their award (this applies even where the specific research project is not Wellcome-funded).
  • research at Wellcome Centres and Africa and Asia Programmes which has been supported through the Core Award, even if the research has been primarily supported by grants from one or more other funders. 

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.

Monitoring compliance

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:

  • issue formal notification of any funding renewals or new grants until applicants have made sure that their Wellcome-funded research papers – resulting from current or previous grants – are compliant
  • accept new grant applications from a researcher where we identify non-compliant research papers in an end-of-grant report, until the papers are made compliant.