Open research

We want the research we fund to be open and accessible, so it can have the greatest possible impact. 

Our position

Transforming human health will take longer if research outputs – like publications, data, software and biological materials such as cell lines – aren’t managed, shared and used in ways that unleash their full value.

We’ve been leading efforts to make research more open for over 20 years, ever since we worked to make sure the results of the Human Genome Project were released immediately into the public domain.

In recent years, the research community has made significant progress. Around 80% of all Wellcome-funded research publications are now openly available. And resources like the Protein Data Bank and the European Nucleotide Archive have become the main way for data about protein structures and DNA sequences to be shared.

But there are still significant challenges. For example, many researchers are concerned that the time and effort taken to share outputs puts them at a competitive disadvantage, without bringing enough benefits. Addressing challenges like this is at heart of our work. 
 

What we’re doing

Open access to publications

We were the first research funder to introduce a mandatory open access policy: all journal articles, book chapters and monographs that present the findings of the research we fund must be made freely available. 

Since then, more than 150 global research funders have followed our lead. 

We:

Data sharing

There are many challenges in sharing data, from how best to use confidential patient data in research, to how to share data when under the pressure of a public health emergency like Ebola or Zika.

Our open research team works with other teams across Wellcome and with partners to address these challenges.

We’ve already developed a policy and guidance for our researchers on data sharing and management best practice.

We’ve also commissioned reviews on how to improve: 

Clinical trials data 

Clinical trials data is a valuable resource for researchers, to advance medical science by building on previous findings and exploring new questions. 

To support the sharing of this data, we:

Incentives for researchers 

Researchers who lead the way in making their research open aren’t always given the recognition or incentives for doing so.

We ran a survey with our researchers to find out:

We want to empower researchers and other innovators to pilot and evaluate new approaches to openness. 

For example, we:

We also recognise that funding processes traditionally emphasise journal articles, rather than other research outputs, such as datasets and software. 

We’re exploring ways to address this, along with other funders who have similar concerns.

Funding opportunities

We're aiming to announce new funding opportunities for open research in late 2017.  

We’re hoping to support researchers and other innovators to develop and pilot cutting-edge approaches to open research.

We also provide small amounts of funding to support meetings, workshops and events related to open research. For more information, please contact the open research team at openresearch@wellcome.ac.uk
 

Who's working on it

More information

A full list of our published reports and data sets can be accessed on Figshare. Below are links to several key resources.

Contact us

If you have any questions, contact the team

Topics

Data sharing

Sharing data helps researchers to access and build on new information and knowledge.

Influencing policy

Science policy affects a broad range of issues, ranging from data sharing and gene editing, to intellectual property and regulation.

Open access

Open access ensures that original research publications are available to everyone to read and re-use for free.