How to get open access funding

Wellcome-funded researchers can access funds to cover open access publishing costs for research papers. 

How you get this funding depends on whether the institution in which you’re based receives funding from the Charity Open Access Fund (COAF).

COAF-funded institutes

Wellcome and six other members of the Association of Medical Research Charities established the joint Charity Open Access Fund (COAF) on 1 October 2014.

Awards have been made to 36 UK universities and research institutes to meet open access publishing costs for original research papers arising from research funded by one or more of the COAF partner charities.

If you’re based at one of these institutes, please contact your institution directly. If you need to know who to contact at your institution, please email

Non COAF-funded research institutes

If you’re at an institution that doesn’t receive COAF funding, please email the following details to

  • your current employing institution
  • title of the paper
  • Wellcome grant reference number
  • journal title
  • proposed date of publication
  • cost of the open access fee.

Monographs and book chapters

Awards made to institutions through COAF don’t cover the cost of open access publication fees for Wellcome-funded scholarly monographs and book chapters.

To be reimbursed for these costs, please email the following details to

  • your current employing institution
  • title of the monograph or book chapter
  • Wellcome grant reference number
  • publisher name
  • proposed date of publication
  • cost of the open access fee.

We will supplement your research grant and your institution will be able to claim reimbursement for these additional costs in the usual way.

We will also provide open access funding when a research grant has ended.

You can’t use open access funding to cover costs for page charges and/or costs for colour prints for your original research papers.

Getting funding for part Wellcome-funded papers

Where a paper is from research supported by more than one funding agency, all of which have open access mandates, then the open access publication costs should be split proportionately in line with the funders’ relative contributions. This should be agreed by the paper’s authors.

Universities should charge the proportional costs to the appropriate funder.

If research funders don’t mandate open access, or if Wellcome is the lead funder on a piece of research, we’re willing to meet the full open access fee.

Using Wellcome funds to meet pre-payment schemes offered by publishers

Organsations can enter into pre-payment schemes and use Wellcome funds to reimburse the costs of article processing charges (APCs) paid through publishers’ schemes.

Organisations must:

  • ensure Wellcome-funded authors are able to publish in their journal of choice, provided the journal is compliant with our open access policy
  • carefully consider and manage the level of APCs required, based on previous use - institutions must not limit any Wellcome-funded researcher’s choice of where to publish because they have unspent credits with a particular publisher
  • not enter into any deals that would compromise their ability to report transparently on the actual cost of the APC incurred for each Wellcome-funded research paper.
  • only claim actual, incurred APCs - funds held in a pre-payment account but not yet used to meet the cost of an APC for a Wellcome-funded research paper can’t be treated as expenditure incurred against the grant.

We recognise this is an emerging and fast-moving area, and will keep this policy under review.