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Wellcome Trust Open Access Policy

Wellcome’s new policy applies to articles submitted for publication from January 2021. The new policy aligns with ‘Plan S’, a set of principles intended to accelerate the transition to open access business models while harmonising signatory funders’ policies.

Quick link: How to claim open access fees from Wellcome.

The Wellcome Trust's current Open Access Policy states: "Published outputs that arise from our funding must be open and accessible to everyone."

The Trust’s open access requirement extends to all research articles, scholarly monographs and book chapters which are supported in whole or in part by Wellcome Trust funding. See Wellcome Trust guide to compliance.

To meet the new policy requirements there are three options:

  1. Route 1. Publish in a fully Open Access journal indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals. The journal must deposit the final published version in PMC and publish the article under a CC BY licence. Many OA journals require a fee in order to publish, if this is the case Wellcome will cover the open access fee via a Block Grant issued to institutions (the Trust will not pay for page, colour, or other editorial fees)
  2. Route 2. Publish in a subscription journal (also known as hybrid) and deposit the accepted manuscript in PMC directly, by date of publication, with a CC BY licence. You must include text in your submission to enable this route (see below)
  3. Route 3. Publish in a subscription (hybrid) journal that is part of a ‘transformative’ open access deal. Wellcome-funded researchers may need to ensure they are corresponding author to benefit from these deals. Visit the St Andrews publisher memberships page for current deals. Where there is no transformative deal in place, compliance via Route 2 above may still be possible.

From 1 January 2021, when submitting articles, you should ensure the following:

  • That you have considered the route to compliance as described above and informed co-authors and collaborators. A ‘Journal Checker Tool’ is available to assist researchers in choosing compliant journals.
  • Inform the Open Access team if you opt for Route 1 so that Article Processing Charge (APC) payment options can be discussed (see below).
  • Ensure submissions include a CC BY licence along with text explaining your obligations under the Trust’s OA policy. More information and example text to include in your submission is provided here:
    '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.'
  • Always ensure that your Wellcome Trust grant is acknowledged in your paper, including the grant reference number.

See the Wellcome Trust guide to compliance which covers details of the policy and how to meet the requirements. If in doubt, contact for advice in advance of your submission.

How to claim Wellcome Trust open access fees

Criteria for use of the block grant once Route 1 is decided.

1. Confirm that the journal you plan to publish in is fully Open Access and meets Wellcome requirements

Use the Journal Checker Tool, which will show whether a specific journal publisher’s policy complies with Wellcome requirements or contact

  • If the tool shows the journal is compliant, proceed to Step 2
  • If the journal is not compliant reconsider the Routes listed above

2. Claim open access fees

Send the following details to

  • Your name, School and email address
  • Journal and publisher
  • Article title or working title; if available, the accepted manuscript file, manuscript ID, or DOI
  • Date of acceptance of your article, if the article is already accepted
  • Wellcome Trust Grant ID and PI name
  • Other funder(s) acknowledged in the paper

Please note that page and colour plate charges cannot be claimed under this scheme, and research publications are not VAT exempt.

3. Confirming compliant option

The Open Access Support team will check the chosen journal meets the Wellcome criteria, i.e. we will check if they apply a CC BY licence, and deposit into Europe PubMed Central. Please ensure you have contacted Open Access Support so that we can verify that the publisher's option complies with the Wellcome requirements.

Researchers will be contacted with appropriate billing details to generate the invoice needed to pay the APC, depending on the payment mechanism. In some cases, e.g. where there is urgency, it may be possible to arrange credit card payment.

4. Reporting to Wellcome Trust

The Open Access Support team in Research and Innovation Services is required to report each year to the Wellcome trust on use of the fund. We must provide details on compliance including PMC IDs and correct use of CC BY licences.