Our policy on open access

20 Aug 2015

We believe that free access to and unrestricted re-use of published research is the best way to share and build upon new knowledge and ideas.

We’re dedicated to improving the lives of patients with all types of blood cancer, including leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Our life-saving work is focused on finding causes, improving diagnosis and treatments, and running groundbreaking clinical trials for all blood cancer patients.

Getting the most out of our research

We want to get the most patient benefit out of the investments we make in research. We believe that free access to and unrestricted re-use of published research is the best way to share and build upon new knowledge and ideas. It'll allow our researchers to build communities and share understanding so we can drive smarter, faster diagnosis and inspire new treatments and better care.

Our approach

We:

  • Require electronic copies of any original research papers that have been accepted for publication in a peer reviewed journal, and that acknowledge our funding in whole or in part, to be made available through Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC) as soon as possible and, in any event, within six months of the journal publisher's official date of final publication*.
  • Expect researchers we fund to select publishing routes that ensure the work is available immediately on publication in its final published form, wherever such options exist for their journal of choice and are compliant with our policy**.
  • Encourage – and where an open access article processing charge is paid to the publisher, require – authors and publishers to licence research papers using the Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY)*** so they may be freely copied and reused (for example, for text- and data-mining purposes or for creating a translation), providing that appropriate credit is given to the original authors.
  • Encourage researchers we fund to maximise the opportunities to make all their results accessible and available for free. This includes taking advantage of online open publishing platforms and repositories, and ensuring dissemination of negative or confirmatory results.
  • We maintain that it's the intrinsic merit of the work, and not the title of the journal in which an author's work is published, that should be considered when making funding decisions.

The Charity Open Access Fund

We provide designated funds to support the payment of article processing charges (APCs). We're working in partnership with a number of leading medical research charities to do this, by forming the Charity Open Access Fund (COAF).

This pilot fund will enable a greater number of publications supported by us to be made immediately available to the public at the point of publication. This fund will be available to a number of UK institutions.

Authors should contact their host institution to access this fund. Researchers who receive funding from us, but who aren't based at an institution that receives support from the COAF, may use any unspent grant money to pay for APCs or contact us to discuss their situation. Alternatively, authors can comply with our policy by self-archiving their paper in Europe PMC within six months of publication*, if the publisher permits.

More information

  • For further information about this policy, contact Dr Matt Kaiser.
  • For specific information about administration of the COAF, please contact openaccess@wellcome.ac.uk.
  • For more discussion about the wider context of open access, read our blog post.
  • Our open access policy was last updated on 1 May 2015 and will be kept under review.

    * We became a member of Europe PMC  on 1 May 2015, allowing publications funded by us to be self-archived by the author from this time. For research papers published between 1 October 2014 and 1 May 2015 and for which no open access fee was paid, the six-month timeframe can be waived, although we encourage authors to self-archive in Europe PMC as soon as possible. Research papers published after 1 May 2015 should be made available through Europe PMC as soon as possible and, in any event, within six months of the journal publisher's official date of final publication.

    ** Researchers can determine which publishers are compliant with this policy by referring to the SHERPA/FACT database and checking against the Wellcome Trust’s policy, which has the same stipulations.

    *** This requirement applies only to original research papers submitted for publication from 1 October 2014, where our funds have been used to meet an article processing charge. Please refer to Wellcome Trust’s CC-BY FAQs for more information.