The Library

Wellcome Trust open access policy

The Wellcome Trust open access policy takes effect from 1 January 2021 and it will adopt and align with the principles of Plan S. The policy applies to articles containing original research submitted for publication from 1 January 2021. The new policy will apply to all Wellcome-funded grant holders and the policy has three overarching principles:

  1. Wellcome-funded research articles will be made freely available through PubMed Central (PMC) and Europe PMC by the official final publication date (no embargoes)
  2. Authors to retain copyright to the research.
  3. Licensed in a way that allows the Wellcome-funded research output to be published under a Creative Commons attribution licence (CC-BY), unless Wellcome have agreed, as an exception, to allow publication under a CC BY-ND licence.

How do I comply?

All authors will have to check that their publication venue is compliant with the new open access policy and that it offers a compliant open access pathway.

The journal checker tool

Wellcome and other Plan S funders have launched the journal checker tool where authors can easily identify journals or platforms that will enable compliance. The tool is based on research funder and institution and it will cover the three different compliance routes:

  1. GOLD open access
  2. GREEN open access
  3. Transformative publishers and journals.

Compliant journals

Many journals are already compliant, and these currently include:

  • Fully OA journals: PLoS journals, BioMedCentral journals, BMJ Open, eLife, Wellcome Open research and all journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
  • Subscription journals which allow the authors accepted manuscript to be freely available in EuropePMC at the time of publication with a CC-BY license, for example, the Royal Society.
  • Hybrid journals in a transformative agreement that is committed to transition to fully OA within a certain timeframe. For a full, up-to-date list of publishers the University of Leicester has agreements with please visit our publishing deals and discounts page.

Will Wellcome pay Article Processing Charges (APCs) under this open access policy?

Yes. However, from January 2021, Wellcome will no longer pay for open access publication in subscription journals, unless that journal is part of a transformative publisher arrangement that is committed to the transition to full open access. Through the open access block grant awarded to the University, Wellcome will cover Article Processing Charges (APCs) for fully open access journals, plus hybrid journals in a transformative deal for a 3-year transition period until Dec 2024. The existing system of the open access annual block grant to the university will continue.

Will Wellcome pay for other publication charges, such as colour or page charges?

No. Wellcome will not cover the costs of any non-open access publication costs.

Non-compliance and sanctions

Researchers who do not comply will be subject to appropriate sanctions and an audit of end-of-grant reports and/or Researchfish submissions will take place. If articles have not been made open access, Wellcome will not accept new grant applications from the researcher if they are applying as the lead applicant.

Wellcome expect the University to help with the policy implementation. If a number of researchers from Leicester fail to comply with the policy, Wellcome will work with the institution to gain an understanding and resolve non-compliance issues. Wellcome state that they have the right to suspend grant payments to any organisation that is in receipt of their funding.

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