A summary of Wellcome's open access policy and their requirements for researchers who receive funding from them.

Requirements overview

Requirement Detail
Acknowledge the funder Required
Data accessibility statement Required
Rights retention statement Advised for compliance
Specific licence


CC BY licence required

CC BY-ND on request only


CC BY licence 'preferred'

Other Creative Commons permitted

Embargo limit No embargo permitted
Deposit locations

Both forms: EPMC

Long-form: NCBI Bookshelf PubMed Central (PMC)

APC payment exclusions

No payment of hybrid journal APCs

No payment of page or colour charges

APC payment source

Oxford Wellcome block grant current status: Open for applications

Monograph/chapter payments are paid direct from Wellcome

Other notes

Preprints encouraged (preprints can be used for compliance - see detail)

Further policy detail

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What is covered by the policy

"All original, peer-reviewed research articles that are supported in whole, or in part, by Wellcome."

Policy exclusions

"Other manuscript types, such as reviews and editorials, are not included in the policy. Our funding cannot be used to pay the article processing charge for these papers."

Further criteria

EPMC deposit

"Researchers must make sure that the article, after peer review – either publisher Version of Record or the Author Accepted Manuscript – is made freely available in PMC and Europe PMC at the time of publication."

Preprint usage

"If you are unable to make the Version of Record or the Author Accepted Manuscript open access, then you may post a preprint under a CC BY licence. We will accept this as compliant with the policy in these situations." 

Rights retention text

"Should you wish to retain your right to self-archive, it is advisable to notify the publisher of this intention at the point of submission. If your institution has a rights-retention policy, they may provide standard language to use. View a list of institutions with rights-retention open-access policies. 

If your institution does not have a rights-retention policy, you can use the following language: 

'This research was funded in whole, or in part by the Wellcome Trust [Grant number xxxxx]. 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.'  

If the above rights-retention text is used, then it should also be included in: 

  • any cover letter that accompanies the submission 
  • the funding acknowledgement section of the manuscript 

When using this route to compliance, no article processing charges (APC) should be payable to the publisher. Wellcome open access funds cannot be used to pay article processing charges in subscription or hybrid journals."    

Licence requirement

"Published under a Creative Commons attribution licence (CC BY), unless we [Wellcome] have agreed, as an exception, to allow publication under a CC BY-ND licence."

Contact Wellcome for the CC BY-ND licence exception here: https://wellcome.org/grant-funding/guidance/open-access-guidance/applyin...

Paying for Wellcome short-form publications

See Applying to the block grants.

"We do not cover the costs of OA publishing in subscription journals. Grant applicants cannot ask for these costs in their grant application, and grantholders will not be allowed to use their grant funds to pay for these costs."

(All quotations taken from Wellcome policy pages on 07/02/2024)

What is covered by the policy

"Our open access policy applies to all original scholarly monographs and book chapters authored or co-authored by Wellcome grantholders as part of their grant-funded research. The policy does not apply to textbooks, ‘trade’ books, general reference works or works of fiction, or to collections edited, but not authored, by Wellcome grantholders."

Further criteria
Deposit requirements

"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"

"Be published under a Creative Commons licence where a fee has been paid to the publisher to make the work open access. Our preference is for 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)."

Paying for Wellcome long-form publications

"Email the following details to 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.

We will supplement your research grant and your organisation will be able to claim reimbursement for these additional costs in the usual way.

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

You can’t use this funding to cover any non-open access publication costs, including page and/or colour charges."

(All quotations taken from Wellcome policy pages on 12/09/2023) 

Who is covered by the policy?

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

  • For all papers by Wellcome Investigator Award holders, Wellcome Fellows and any individual whose salary is funded by the Wellcome, if they are published during the award period.
  • For all papers based on research conducted at Wellcome Centres or Major Overseas Programmes and hence supported by the core award.
  • The policy does not apply where a Wellcome funded researcher has provided assistance to a project without appearing as a co-author.

If you are Wellcome funded (see question above), and are a co-author, Wellcome's open access policy requires the paper to be made available according to its policy.

Yes, it applies to all recipients of a Wellcome grant regardless of their career status. However, this policy is for published outputs (like articles and monographs). It does not apply to PhD theses by Wellcome-funded students. Wellcome expects PhD theses to be made freely available from the EThOS repository as soon as possible.

Rights retention text and Wellcome

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Including the required text will assign a prior licence to any resulting author accepted manuscript.

The text needs to be included so that the publisher has “prior notice” of the CC BY licence assigned to the author accepted manuscript (AAM). If you later realised the text has not been applied, for whatever reason, then liaise with Wellcome directly.

In the instance of an anonymous deposit, researchers should include the rights retention text without the funder information:

"For the purpose of Open Access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) version arising from this submission."

They should then include their funder acknowledgement and declare funders to the publisher once the anonymity requirement has been lifted. This is likely on acceptance, but may vary.

Depositing and Europe PubMed Central (EPMC)

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The University’s Open Access Publications Policy asks that a copy of the paper is included in ORA in line with 'act on acceptance'. However, Wellcome also requires that a copy of your work be deposited into EPMC. The publisher may deposit into EPMC on your behalf. If not the author will have to ensure deposit.

You can deposit when the Reviewer Status section has 2 green ticks. The Wellcome Open Research FAQ indicate that 2 ‘Approved’ ticks equate to the completion of peer review, i.e. ‘acceptance’.

How do I know if an article has passed peer review?

"The peer review status of an article is clearly indicated at all stages:

  • Immediately on publication, and until the first peer review report is published, the article is labelled as AWAITING PEER REVIEW– as part of the article title and in the Open Peer Review summary box within the article HTML and PDF.
  • As soon as a peer review report is published alongside the article, the current approval status is displayed. As additional reports are received, the approval status is updated.
  • Once an article receives two ‘Approved’ statuses, or two ‘Approved with Reservations’ statuses and one ‘Approved’ status, it will be indexed in various bibliographic databases.’"

Information taken from Wellcome Open Research FAQs.

The policy requires articles to be made available on EPMC on the official final publication date – the date the AAM is made freely available on the publisher’s site isn’t regarded as the final publication date.

Payments and publisher agreements

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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.

Yes, the Journal Checker Tool requires three pieces of information: funder, journal title and institution. Including the institution means that any institution-specific arrangements will be taken into account.

Wellcome is monitoring the APC charges of publishers, but leaving the interpretation of “reasonable” up to researchers at the present time. Wellcome has made it clear that it cares about the quality of the research published, not where it is published.

That would depend on the publisher/journal and the licences it offered. If publishing in a hybrid (non-transformative) journal, the author accepted manuscript would need to have a CC BY licence and be made available upon publication via the Rights Retention Strategy.