Wellcome Trust's Open Access policy from 1 January 2021 requires all original, peer-reviewed research articles that are supported in whole, or in part, by Wellcome to be:

  • made freely available through PubMed Central (PMC) and Europe PMC by the official final publication date


  • published under a Creative Commons attribution licence (CC BY), unless we have agreed, as an exception, to allow publication under a CC BY-ND licence.

Three routes of how researchers can comply are outlined below:

Route 1: Gold

Publish in a fully OA journal or platform. Authors should apply for funding via Symplectic as usual.

Route 2: Green

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 with a CC BY license (see Copyright licence section below)

Route 3: Transformative

Publish in a subscription journal with a Gold open access option (known as hybrid journals) that are included in Imperial’s transformative agreements with publishers*.

*These are listed on our Publisher agreements and discounts page, or subscription journals that have transformative journal status (the Library will pay fair and reasonable open access costs as permitted by the Wellcome Trust).

The Journal Checker Tool enables researchers to quickly identify journals or platforms that provide routes to compliance with Wellcome Trust via fully open access journals and platforms, through self-archiving (either via the publishers’ own policy or the Rights Retention Strategy (RRS) or through transformative arrangements. If multiple routes to compliance are available, the JCT provides basic instructions on what to do next on the particular route chosen by the researcher. Where no route to compliance is available, the JCT offers suggestions about how to edit the search to find a combination that enables compliance.


available to staff and students with funding from the Wellcome Trust.

Author criteria:

member of staff is at Imperial College London and meets one of the following:

  • Research has been funded in whole or in part through a Wellcome Trust grant (either during the award, or after the funding period has ended).
  • Researcher is a Wellcome Trust Investigator / Award holder / Fellow, or any other individual in receipt of salary support from the Wellcome Trust appears as a co-author during the period of their award (this applies even where the specific research project is not Wellcome Trust funded).
  • Research has been carried out from Wellcome Trust Centres/Africa & 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.

Publication types:

Journal articles that report original, peer-reviewed research.

Copyright licence:

Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY) where an open access fee has been paid. In addition, you must include the following CC BY licence and statement to all journal submissions. For information about the different licenses, see our Creative Commons licenses page, or The anatomy of a Creative Commons License.

'This research was funded in whole, or in part, by the Wellcome Trust [Grant number]. For the purpose of Open Access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.'

As an exception you may apply a Creative Commons CC BY-ND licence by completing a CC BY-ND exception form. You will need to have your request approved before your paper is submitted for publication. Current examples of the CC BY licence and statement in Wellcome-funded research publications can be viewed via Europe PMC.

Please note some researchers and organisations have encountered issues when attempting to comply with the policy via the self-archiving route using Rights Retention. Wellcome have released a statement on Publishing in hybrid, open access journals. Notably, some journals are accepting submissions with a prior CC BY Licence, but on acceptance are imposing terms and conditions via a publishing agreement, or otherwise, that prevents the author from meeting the OA requirements. In this situation, Wellcome advise authors to follow these steps:

  • If the journal provides a paid open access option for individual articles, seek to publish via this route and request a waiver from the journal for the article processing charge (APC). NOTE: Wellcome funds can’t be used to pay the APC.
  • If the waiver requested in Step 1 is not given, then request a publishing agreement amendment via the journal editorial office. You can use this template: Wellcome_RRS_addendum (docx).
  • If the requests outlined in Step 1 and Step 2 above are both rejected by the journal, contact Wellcome at openaccess@wellcome.org. Wellcome Trust provides more information under Detailed information on Route 3 in it's guidance on how to comply with our open access policy.

Wellcome Trust deposit requirements: 

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 (previously this was a maximum embargo of six months).

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 the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), or meet criteria that may be provided by cOAlition S
  • Publishers offer a transformative arrangement, accessible to Wellcome-funded researchers.
  • Have an agreement with NIH to deposit the version of record in PMC which can be shared with Europe PMC


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.

Making data and software available to other researchers:

All research articles supported in whole, or in part, by Wellcome must include a statement explaining how other researchers can access any data, original software or materials underpinning the research. This is in line with our data, software and materials management and sharing policy.

Imperial deposit requirements:

the accepted manuscript should be uploaded to Symplectic at time of APC application. This will be made live in Spiral once repository staff have checked the publisher’s policies and applied the appropriate embargo period (if required).

Source of APC funding:

Grant holders should apply for open access funds via Symplectic.

Full policy:

wellcome-open-access-policy-2021.pdf (new policy January 2021)

To apply:

Log in to Symplectic and click on Deposit your work

Non- compliant papers:

Researchers and organisations who do not comply with this policy will be subject to appropriate sanctions. These may include Wellcome:

  • not accepting new grant applications
  • suspending funding to organisations in extreme cases.