Wellcome announced a revised open access policy (PDF) to apply to research articles submitted for publication from 1 January 2021.

The main changes to current policy are:

1. All Wellcome-funded research articles must be made freely available through PubMed Central (PMC) and Europe PMC at the time of publication, with no embargo.

2. All articles must be published under a Creative Commons attribution licence (CC-BY).

3. Wellcome will no longer cover the cost of OA publishing in subscription journals (‘hybrid OA’). Funding will be provided to cover ‘reasonable article processing charges’ for articles published in full OA journals or platforms that are:

  • Indexed in DOAJ, or meet criteria that may be provided by cOAlition S
  • Have an agreement with NIH to deposit the version of record in PMC which can be shared with Europe PMC

Reasonable has yet to be defined, but Wellcome expect to see if there are value-added services, charges may be higher where this is not the case.

4. Where there is a significant public health benefit to preprints being shared widely and rapidly, such as a disease outbreak, these preprints must be published:

  • before peer review
  • on an approved platform that supports immediate publication of the complete manuscript
  • under a CC-BY licence.

This is a new requirement which will make sure that important research findings are shared as soon possible and before peer review.

5. Wellcome-funded organisations must sign or publicly commit to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), or an equivalent. Wellcome may ask organisations to show that they’re complying with this as part of our organisation audits. This is a new requirement to encourage organisations to consider the intrinsic merit of the work when making promotion and tenure decisions, not just the title of the journal or publisher.

6. To enable researchers to meet the new requirements, we would expect that implementation of the UK Scholarly Communications Licence would permit authors to make their accepted manuscript available in Spiral with no embargo, and under the CC BY licence.

There will be sanctions applied to grant applications or institutional funding where there is not policy compliance.

(Information adapted from Wellcome is updating its open access policy)

What researchers need to know

1. Publishing in a full open access journal will mean their publication is compliant with the revised policy.

2. Publishing in a subscription journal will mean their publication:

  • is compliant if the journal publisher allows deposit of the accepted manuscript on publication in Europe PMC with a CC BY licence
  • is not compliant if the journal publisher does not allow deposit with no embargo and/or does not allow deposit with a CC BY licence

3. The College is already a signatory to DORA and has begun implementing practices and approaches to support research assessment that is not based on the journal title or publisher.

4. In the event of a public health emergency, Wellcome will contact researchers in the relevant field to ask them to make pre-prints available. Existing platforms can be used, and Wellcome will investigate making Wellcome Open Research available if no relevant pre-print service can be found.

5. Monographs and book chapters will not be subject to the revised policy.

6. Wellcome does expect grantholders to be aware of the publishing costs for different journals, and to ‘only use’ journals they consider ‘represent value for money’.

7. Wellcome authors can check before they submit their papers to journal via the Funders and Authors Compliance Tool (Sherpa FACT).