Meeting Wellcome Trust Requirements for Open Access at Oxford

    • If the research underpinning your publication is funded in whole or part by the Wellcome Trust, you need to make it open access within 6 months of publication.
    • The WT policy applies to peer-reviewed research articles and non-commissioned review articles, which should be made available through PubMed Central (PMC) or Europe PMC.
    • The WT encourages – and where it pays an open access fee, requires – authors and publishers to licence research papers using the Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY) so they may be freely copied and re-used (for example, for text- and data-mining purposes or creating a translation), provided that such uses are fully attributed.
    • The WT provides a block grant to the University of Oxford to pay open access charges. Note the fund does not cover commissioned (invited/solicited) reviews or conference proceedings, or other costs such as page and colour charges.
    • From 1 April 2017, new requirements for publishers mean Wellcome funding cannot be used to pay Article Processing Charges (APCs) for papers submitted to non-compliant publishers.
    • Check their list of 58 publishers who have committed to providing the required services.
    • Claims procedure and form: go to our Wellcome block grant page to download an application form and send it to the publisher’s APC or article-charges request form.
    • The policy also applies to scholarly monographs and book chapters, which should be made available through PMC Bookshelf or Europe PMC, with a maximum embargo of six months.
    • Wellcome are introducing a new OA policy for research articles submitted for publication from 1 January 2021.
    • In cases where journals only allow open access after 12 months, not 6, authors will need to pay an Open Access fee to meet WT and journal requirements.
    • To get the fee paid from the Wellcome Trust’s grant to Oxford:
    • go to our Wellcome block grant page to download an application form and send it to with the publisher’s APC or article-charges request form.
    • Note the fund does not cover commissioned (invited) reviews or conference proceedings, or other costs such as page and colour charges.
    • The University also asks for a copy to be deposited in the University’s research archive ORA.  Please deposit a copy of your article (the final peer-reviewed version) through your Symplectic account. Help and information is available at
  • When does the WT Open Access policy apply?

    • What kind of papers are covered by the WT Open access policy? Does the policy also include monographs and book chapters?

      Since 2006, the Trust’s open access policy has required that all original, peer-reviewed research papers funded in whole or in part by the Trust be made available via the Europe PubMed Central repository as soon as possible, and in any event within six months of the date of publication. (Note the WT’s block grant does not cover open access charges for commissioned (invited) reviews or conference proceedings, or other costs such as page and colour charges.)

      The Wellcome Trust policy was extended in October 2014 to include all scholarly monographs and book chapters written by its grant-holders as part of their Trust-funded research.  For more information see their guidance Ensuring compliance for monographs and book chapters.

      Academic Divisions, OUP and the University of Oxford OA Steering Group are involved in discussions with the Wellcome Trust to work through the implications of policy for Oxford researchers.

    • The project itself was not funded by the WT but I have a WT Investigator award/ I am a WT Fellow/ my salary is funded by WT/ work at a WT Centre or at a Major Overseas Programme. Does the policy still apply?

      Even if a project itself has not been directly funded by a WT grant, the policy also applies in the following cases:

      •  For all papers by WT Investigator Award holders, WT Fellows and any individual whose salary is funded by the WT, if they are published during the award period.
      •  For all papers based on research conducted at WT Centres or Major Overseas Programmes and hence supported by the core award.

      The policy does not apply where a WT funded researcher has provided assistance to a project without appearing as a co-author.

    • I am a co-author on a paper where the principal author is not required to comply with any OA policy. Does the WT OA policy still apply?

      If you are WT funded as described in question 2, and are a co-author, the WT OA policy requires the paper to be made available according to its policy.

    • What kind of open access does the policy require?

    • What does the WT policy require in terms of how and when a paper is made available to the public?

      An electronic version must be made freely available from PubMed Central and any other PMC International sites, e.g. Europe PMC, as soon as possible and in any event within six months of the official date of publication.

    • Is it sufficient to self-archive the paper in an open repository, e.g. the Oxford Research Archive (ORA)?

      No, the WT policy also requires that the paper is freely available from PubMed Central or Europe PMC.

    • What kind of re-use must be allowed if an open access publication fee has been paid?

      The publisher must make the paper available under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY), which permits users to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt the work (including commercially) as long as they cite it.

      Further information can be found on on the Wellcome Trust page for the CC-BY license.

    • How do I comply?

    • What options are there for publishing a paper open access?

      There are two options which give open access:

      a)      the final published version of the paper made freely available on PMC/Europe PMC on the day of publication by the journal (usually a fee must be paid);

      b)      the final, peer-reviewed manuscript is deposited by either the author (subject to permission) or the journal and made freely available either immediately or no later than six months after the publishers official date of publication (no fee required).

    • How do I check whether a journal offers a WT-compliant option?

      You could use the SHERPA/FACT tool  to find information about whether a journal offers a compliant option.

    • How are publishing costs divided between authors/funders?

      The costs for open access should be divided between the authors belonging to different institutions if possible. If the work has been funded by more than one funder the costs should be borne proportionally as far as possible.

    • Other questions

    • Can I assume that the journal will make the paper publicly available if I have paid for open access?

      It is advisable to check that the paper is available in a way that complies with the WT policy.

    • How can I claim the costs for open access fees?

      Apply to the University to get the fees paid on your behalf from our block grant. Claims procedure and form since November 2015: Researchers should go to our Wellcome block grant page to download an application form, and send it with the publisher’s APC or article-charges request form (or the payment request link from the publisher site) to the Bodleian Libraries APC team for payment – email, or in hard copy to Open Access APC forms, Acquisitions Services, Collections and Resource Description (C&RD), Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford Osney One Building, Osney Mead, Oxford, OX2 0EW.

      Note the WT’s block grant does not cover commissioned (invited) reviews or conference proceedings, or other costs such as page and colour charges.

    • What happens if I do not comply?

      The WT apply sanctions if WT-funded researchers do not comply with their open access policy:

      •  If non-compliant papers are identified in and End of Grant Report, the final 10 % of the grant will be withheld until all papers comply.
      • No funding renewals or new grants can be activated until applicants ensure that Trust funded papers resulting from current or previous grants are compliant.
      • Non-compliant papers cannot be included in any applications submitted to the Trust and will be discounted from considerations of a researcher’s track record.
    • What is the difference between WT’s policy on open access and RCUK policy?

      • The WT applies sanctions in cases of non-compliance. The RCUK have not yet decided on any sanctions.
      • A paper must be freely available in PMC/Europe PMC within 6 months of publication to comply with WT policy. It is not sufficient to make papers available in other open repositories.
    • Where can I find out more information about meeting Wellcome Trust’s OA requirements?