Wellcome Trust open access policy

From 1 January 2021, the Wellcome Trust open access policy has changed. In alignment with Plan S, the new open access policy requires all research articles which arise from Wellcome funding to be:

  • made freely available at the time of publication
  • openly licenced under a CC BY licence

The Wellcome Trust open access policy applies to:

  • Any published research outputs submitted for publication after 1 January 2021.
  • Peer-reviewed publications fully or partially funded by Wellcome Trust.
  • Wellcome Trust require electronic copies of any original research papers that have been accepted for publication in a peer reviewed journal to be made freely available through PubMed Central (PMC) and Europe PMC by the official final publication date.
  • It does not apply to PhD theses by Wellcome-funded students, but the funder expects PhD theses to be made freely available as soon as possible.

How do I comply?

There are three publishing routes you can follow to comply with Wellcome’s policy:

What about long-form publications?

All original scholarly monographs and book chapters authored or co-authored by Wellcome grant holders as part of their grant-funded research, must be:

  • made freely available through NCBI Bookshelf PubMed Central (PMC) and Europe PMC as soon as possible and no later than within 6 months of the official final publication date
  • published under a Creative Commons licence where a fee has been paid to the publisher to make the work open access. The funders preferred licence is a Creative Commons attribution licence (CC BY), however, researchers may choose to publish their work under any of the Creative Commons licences including non-commercial and non-derivative licences (CC BY-NC or CC BY-NC-ND).

Wellcome Trust have funding available to cover publishers' open access monograph and book chapter processing charges. This is separate from the Open Access block grant administered by Library Services for funded journal articles.

Authors can request funding for monographs and book chapters by emailing the following details for openaccess@wellcome.org:

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

On receipt of this information Wellcome Trust will supplement your research grant and enable you claim reimbursement for these additional costs.

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

This funding cannot be used to cover any non-open access publication costs, including page and/or colour charges.

More information

Further guidance on the policy and achieving compliance with Plan S funder policies.

Open access publishing options for monographs and book chapters.


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