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The new policy will apply to any article that is submitted for publication from 1 January 2020 and that includes original, peer-reviewed research. There are five key changes:

  • All Wellcome-funded articles must be made freely available through PubMed Central (PMC) and Europe PMC at the time of publication. (Previously a six-month embargo period was allowed.)
  • All articles must be published under a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY). (Previously this licence was only required when an APC was paid.)
  • Wellcome will no longer fund OA publication costs in subscription journals (‘hybrid OA’).
  • Where there is a significant public health benefit to preprints being shared widely and rapidly, such as a disease outbreak, these preprints must be published:

           o     before peer review

           o     on an approved platform that supports immediate publication of the complete manuscript

           o    under a CC-BY licence.

  • Wellcome-funded organisation must sign or publicly commit to the principles of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment  (or an equivalent). (Oxford University has signed DORA).

How to comply with the policy

There are two ways for researchers to comply:

  1. Publish in a fully OA journal or platform. These journals or platforms will deposit the final, peer reviewed version of record directly into PubMed Central and publish all articles under a CC-BY licence. Wellcome will provide funding to cover any reasonable publication costs charged by fully OA journals and platforms that provide these services.
  2. Publish in any subscription journal that allows you to:
  • self-archive the Accepted Author Manuscript (AAM) in Europe PMC at the time of publication (no embargo  is permitted); and
  • specify that this work is available under the CC-BY license.

Until 1 January 2020, Wellcome-funded researchers should continue to comply with the current policy. Before the policy comes into effect, Wellcome will provide further guidance and information on how to check if specific journals are compliant with the policy.

Researchers should continue to Act on Acceptance for REF compliance.

Further information and FAQs are available: