Wellcome Trust and Charity Open Access Fund (COAF)


Current Policy
What do I do at Oxford?
Note COAF is ending on 30 September 2020.

Oxford University researchers funded by Wellcome or a COAF charity are eligible to apply to our Wellcome/COAF block grant for the payment of open access fees for articles acknowledging their grant from one or more of the participating charities:

  • Blood Cancer UK (prev. Bloodwise), British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UKParkinson’s UK, Versus Arthritis, Wellcome.
  • COAF policy (since 1 Oct 2014):  peer-reviewed research articles and non-commissioned review articles funded wholly or in part by a COAF charity must be freely available in PubMed Central (or EuropePMC) within 6 months of publication.
  • If an Article Processing Charge (APC) is paid, the journal must make the final published version immediately available in PMC, publish it with a CC-BY licence, and from 1 April 2017 also meet new publisher requirements.
  • Articles submitted to non-compliant publishers cannot use Wellcome funds to pay APCs.  See list of compliant publishers.
  • The fund does not cover commissioned (invited) reviews, conference proceedings, letters, page/colour charges so you need to use other funds such as your grant. See What COAF covers.
  • The policy applies to researchers in Wellcome Trust Centres.
  • The block grant year runs from 1 October – 30 September.
  • Full details are on the Wellcome’s COAF page and the open access policies of the partner charities:

*Versus Arthritis was formed by a merger of Arthritis Research UK and Arthritis Care in 2018.

Monographs & book chapters

Wellcome policy also applies to scholarly monographs and book chapters. See ‘Complying with our Open Access policy’ .

New Wellcome OA policy from 1 January 2021 (revised 31/05/19)

The new Wellcome OA policy will affect articles submitted from 1 January 2021. Key points: research articles freely available in PMC/Europe PMC at publication; CC-BY licence (plus CC-BY-ND as exception). 6-month embargo no longer permitted. No funding for OA publication costs in hybrid journals. Authors to retain copyright. New Wellcome OA policy FAQ.

How Wellcome is tackling four key concerns about its new OA policy (Feb 2019).

New Cancer Research UK OA policy from 1 January 2022.

CRUK’s forthcoming new policy will apply to articles accepted for pubication from 1 January 2022 and will require immediate OA (zero embargo).

Last updated: 19 May 2020.

Before article submission to journal:
  1. Check SHERPA/FACT to ensure journal is compliant (article freely available in EuropePMC within 6 months).
  2. If considering gold (paid) route, your publisher must be on list of Wellcome list of compliant publishers to be eligible for APC funding from our block grant.
  3. If you publish on Wellcome Open Research, publication costs are funded directly by Wellcome.

When article accepted for publication

Revised claim process from 3 June to 30 September 2020 

Oxford’s Block Grant from the Charity Open Access Fund (COAF) has now been fully spent for 2019-2020. This requires a change of procedure for the payment of Article Processing Charges (APCs) for researchers funded by Blood Cancer UK, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Parkinson’s UK and Versus Arthritis. From now on, these researchers should, until further notice, first contact their funder for permission to take the paid route. This may involve obtaining and paying the invoice, and then sending the claim to the funder for reimbursement.

There is no need to fill in Oxford’s APC application form as unfortunately the Bodleian’s APC Team is unable to process these payments centrally on behalf of researchers.

We will keep you informed about changes to this revised workflow, as we enter the new financial year on 1st October.

COAF contact details


Wellcome Trust: no change to procedure.

Please note that the Wellcome block grant has also been spent, but we hope to receive an additional allocation. This means that Wellcome-funded authors should continue with the usual procedure when article accepted for publication:

  1. Please contact the Bodleian APC team before confirming selection of gold (paid) route with journal, to check funds are available and the journal is funder-compliant: email apc@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.
  2. Complete an application form and send it to the APC Team at apc@bodleian.ox.ac.uk with the publisher’s APC or article-charges request form.
  3. Please also Act on Acceptance & deposit a copy in ORA.
  1. Departments should not pay the invoice on behalf of the grant holders and claim reimbursement. The APC Team request the invoice and arrange payment from Oxford’s COAF Block Grant where eligible.
  2. Date of publication or payment must fall within current COAF block grant year, 1 October 2019 to 30 September 2020.
  3. COAF preference is for Gold open access. If journal does not offer this, author should deposit a copy of the final, peer reviewed manuscript into Europe PMC within 6 months of publication. See the Europe PMC plus user guide.
  4. If you have any questions about paying APCs from the COAF fund, contact apc@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.