Wellcome Trust open access policy

Information about the Wellcome Trust's open access policy, effective as of January 1 2021.


Policy scope

The Wellcome Trust open access policy applies to all original research articles, monographs and book chapters submitted for publication after 1st January 2021 which are supported in whole, or in part, by Wellcome.

Other article types, such as systematic reviews, scoping reviews and meta-analyses are not in scope of the policy although Wellcome funding for these may still be available if published in a DOAJ-listed, fully open access journal (see funding information below).

Textbooks, ‘trade’ books, general reference works or works of fiction, or collections edited, but not authored, by Wellcome grantholders are outside the scope of the policy.

Research articles must:

Monographs and book chapters must:

All research outputs must acknowledge Wellcome Trust funding, with individual grant numbers. See 'How to acknowledge Wellcome funding in research outputs' for information on how to do this.

Read the policy in full

Journal articles

How do I comply with the policy?

You can comply with the policy using the following routes:

  • Publish open access via a journal or publishing platform that makes the Version of Record immediately available on its website. Ensure that your publisher will deposit the article into Europe PMC on your behalf
  • Publish closed access in a subscription journal and deposit the Author Accepted Manuscript into Europe PMC as soon as possible. The deposited manuscript must be made open access immediately on publication without an embargo period
  • If there is no other route available, you may comply by depositing the preprint version into Europe PMC

What licence shall I choose?

In the majority of cases, the open access Version of Record should be published under a CC BY licence. If you are taking the repository route, the CC BY licence should be applied to the Author Accepted Manuscript. 

In exceptional circumstances, Wellcome may give permission for a CC BY-ND licence to be used. Permission must be granted in advance of publication using the No Derivatives Licence Exception Form.

For more information about licensing, please visit our copyright pages.

Will Wellcome pay for open access charges?

You will be able to have your APC paid using our Wellcome block grant if you are

  • publishing in a fully open access journal or platform, or;
  • publishing in a hybrid (subscription) journal which has been designated as a ‘transformative journal’ An individual journal counts as ‘transformative’ if it meets certain criteria set by Coalition S, and you can check a journal’s ‘transformative’ status using the Plan S Journal Checker Tool.

Many hybrid journals are now included in ‘transitional agreements’ with publishers, meaning that University of Sheffield corresponding authors are able to publish open access at no cost to themselves. In these cases, you will not have to use the Wellcome block grant. You can find a list of the transitional agreements that the University of Sheffield has signed up for.

Contact OAEnquiries@sheffield.ac.uk if you have any questions about eligible journals or to arrange payment from the Wellcome Open Access block grant.

Wellcome will not pay for other charges associated with publication, such as page or colour charges.

What do I do if my chosen journal is not fully open access, transformative or part of a transitional agreement?

In this case, you will not be able to have open access charges paid via the Wellcome block grant. Your route to compliance will be via depositing the Author Accepted Manuscript into Europe PMC (see advice below).

How do I comply by making the Author Accepted Manuscript available via Europe PMC? 

The University of Sheffield’s Research Publications and Copyright Policy will allow you to comply with the Wellcome requirements by making the Author Accepted Manuscript of your research articles available via Europe PMC without an embargo and with a CC BY licence. Under this policy, we ask that you notify the publisher at the point of article submission by including the following text in the acknowledgement section of your manuscript. 

“For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission”

It is important that you do not then sign a contract with the publisher that conflicts with these terms (eg agreeing to an embargo, or a more restrictive licence), as you may then be in breach of publisher terms and conditions when you deposit. If you receive such a contract from a publisher, please contact OAEnquiries@sheffield.ac.uk for advice.

Where permitted by Wellcome, the No-Derivatives (CC BY-ND) licence' may be stated instead. Use this form before submission to apply to use the CC BY-ND licence. You will also have to inform the Library Open Access Team that you are using an alternative licence under the Research Publications and Copyright Policy.

You should then deposit the Author Accepted Manuscript into Europe PMC as soon as possible after article acceptance. We recommend that if you are depositing your AAM, that you email helpdesk@europepmc.org to inform them first, as this will avoid confusion. You should also deposit the Author Accepted Manuscript into White Rose Research Online via myPublications in order to comply with the REF open access policy.

How can I comply by making a preprint available via Europe PMC?

A preprint is the article version that precedes formal peer review and publication in a peer-reviewed scholarly journal. To comply with the Wellcome open access policy by posting a preprint version of the article, it must be published under a CC BY licence on a preprint server indexed in Europe PMC. The preprint can be posted during the publication process but should be uploaded to a preprint server prior to the acceptance of the article in a journal. This route to compliance only needs to be followed if you are unable to make the Author Accepted Manuscript available, although Wellcome in general strongly encourages the posting of preprints

How can I check which route to compliance I should take?

The Plan S Journal Checker Tool allows you to check which route to compliance you should take and whether you are eligible for block grant funding or a transitional agreement. However, please be aware that the information this tool provides is not always easy to interpret. We advise you to make use of our list of transitional agreements alongside the Journal Checker Tool and double check with us at OAEnquiries@sheffield.ac.uk if you have any questions that are not answered on this page.

Do I need to make my research data available?

The Wellcome Trust ‘Data, Software and Materials Management and Sharing policy can be found on our Research Data Management webpages

Monographs and book chapters

How do I comply with the policy?

Monographs and book chapters must be made openly available through Europe PMC or NCBI Bookshelf  with an embargo of 6 months or less and with a creative commons licence. This can either be the Version of Record or Author Accepted Manuscript version. If the publisher does not deposit on your behalf, you can deposit into Europe PMC and NCBI Bookshelf using this form.

What licence should I select for my publication?

Although Wellcome recommends a CC BY licence, other Creative Commons licences are also acceptable (eg CC BY-NC, CC BY-ND, CC BY-NC-ND).

Third party material such as images, for which the author is not the copyright holder, can be licensed separately.

Are there any exemptions to the policy?

Textbooks, ‘trade’ books, general reference works or works of fiction, or collections edited, but not authored, by Wellcome grantholders are outside the scope of the policy.

Will Wellcome pay for open access charges?

Funding is available from Wellcome to cover open access charges, but it is administered separately from the open access block grant.

If you wish to apply for open access funding for your monograph or book chapter, email openaccess@wellcome.org with the details listed on this page. It is likely that your department will need to pay the charges and reclaim the money from Wellcome. The Library is unable to do this, as we are only able to pay for journal articles with our Wellcome block grant.

How can I comply via a repository?

If you wish to comply by making the author accepted manuscript of your book or chapter available through Europe PMC, please ensure that the publisher will allow you to make it available within 6 months of publication, with a creative commons licence.

Further information

Further information is available on the Wellcome open access webpages or contact OAEnquiries@sheffield.ac.uk

Ask a question

Email: library@sheffield.ac.uk

Phone: +44 114 222 7200

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