Wellcome gets tough on Open Access depositions

When one is active in an area (in this case Open Access) it's often difficult to see how important it is from outside. So I was delighted to get an internal email to all staff making it clear that it was MANDATORY for Wellcome grantees to publish their papers as Open Access. Here's excerpts from the mail:

As you may be aware, the Wellcome Trust's award terms and conditions require that all research papers arising from Wellcome Trust funded research must be made available on the PubMed Central website (http://ukpmc.ac.uk/) within six months of publication.

The Wellcome Trust have been monitoring compliance rates, and have been disappointed to find that these are currently very low.  As a result of this, they intend to more actively monitor compliance, and in future will be contacting researchers who have not had articles published as Open Access papers.

The University of Cambridge has been given a grant to cover costs associated with Open Access publishing.  If your journal charges for making your article available on PubMed Central, please refer to this website: http://www.bio.cam.ac.uk/sbs/funds/wt_claims.html for how to claim these costs back from my office.

Further information on the Wellcome Trust's Open Access policy can be found here: http://www.bio.cam.ac.uk/sbs/funds/wtinfo.html, or at the Wellcome Trust's website here: http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/About-us/Policy/Spotlight-issues/Open-access/Guides-and-FAQ/WTD018855.htm.

and the claims site announces:

Claiming Open Access Charges

This page describes how to claim back costs charged by publishers for placing papers on the UK PubMed Central website. Initially, you will have to pay the publisher’s Open Access charges. You can then claim these costs back as follows:

  1. Fill out a form (Open Access request form) with the requested information.
  2. Please return the form and an internal invoice ...
  3. Once we have this, the monies you have paid for Open Access charges will be re-imbursed to your account.

I have the privilege of being on the UKPMC advisory board and we've been thinking about how to make the policies and practices more widely known. UKPMC is doing roadshows (the first in Oxford last month) and I am sure they would welcome enquiries from institutions or individuals wanting more info.

We have to realise that Open Access will take hard work. It's not just building deposition systems and expecting them to get filled. It needs a commitment from the grant holder. It's simple:

  • If you receive a grant you have to publish the results as Open Access.

If you don't want to, no-one is forcing you to apply for grants.

(Well, yes they probably are, so you had better get used to the practice of publishing Open Access)

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2 Responses to Wellcome gets tough on Open Access depositions

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  2. Paul Davey says:

    As Engagement Manager for UK PubMed Central, it is one of my tasks to ensure that researchers (and other stakeholders) understand the benefits of depositing their research. Wouldn't researchers be disappointed to know that by not depositing, they are losing out on an opportunity to increase their visibility?

    The team I work with, at the British Library, Mimas at the University of Manchester, NaCTem and the European Bioinformatics institute - are developing UK PubMed Central so it can help researchers not only increase their visibility, but so they can undertake aspects of their research more efficiently and effectively. Much of the discussion has been about mandatory OA deposit, sometimes without addressing why this is required. UK PubMed Central is being developed in consultation with the research community (the road show which Peter alludes to above was actually the second in a series of focus groups and ethnographic studies we are undertaking in phase three of UKPMC's development programme). I would like to remind readers of the longer term merits and benefits of UKPMC: as mentioned already, it will increase the visibility of researchers; it will make relevant additional content easily accessible to the biomedical and health research communities; we are developing grant reporting tools which enable funding organisations and researchers to more easily track the outcomes of research grants; we are working on helping researchers find links to other content relevant to research articles (through text mining). We acknowledge we still have a task to make it easy for researchers and their PIs to understand what they need to do, how they pay etc. - and we will do this, regardless of whether the research was funded by Wellcome Trust, or any of the other seven UK PubMed Central funding organisations.

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