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The Wellcome Trust has a strong commitment to making the published outputs of research it has funded open access (OA). They updated their open access policy to align with Plan S principles from January 1st 2021. This page explains how to meet Wellcome OA requirements..

Original research and review articles

What changed?

The core principle of Plan S is that from 2021, all scholarly publications resulting from research funded by Plan S signatories, must be available on OA immediately on publication, under a CC-BY licence.

This is reflected in the updated Wellcome open access policy which applies to original, peer-reviewed research articles that are supported in whole, or in part, by Wellcome, submitted from 1 January 2021.

How to comply

Wellcome have produced guidance on how to comply with their open access policy, which steps you through the routes to open access.

Please be aware of the requirement to include a rights retention statement when you submit your article, and use the Journal Checker Tool to see your options for the journals you're considering to submit to. This guidance explains how to use the Journal Checker Tool.

Can I meet the Wellcome OA requirements by publishing under a different licence?

Wellcome may allow a CC-BY-ND licence by exception, which must be sought in advance. For more information please see their guidance on applying for an No-Derivatives (ND) Licence exception.

What costs will Wellcome fund?

Please see the 'Costs we'll provide section' in the Wellcome open access policy

Contact Wellcome for requests for eligible open access fees before submission for advice, via . You will need to let them know the journal that you are considering submitting to; the title of the paper; cost of the open access fee and the Wellcome grant reference number. Please copy your email to


Wellcome-funded researchers are strongly encouraged to post preprints of their work, and publish them under a CC BY licence on a platform that is indexed in Europe PMC.

Where there is a significant public health benefit to preprints being shared widely and rapidly, such as a disease outbreak, they require the posting of preprints. This requirement is relevant for the current pandemic. Wellcome outline this in their press release 31 January 2021 Sharing research data and findings relevant to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Monograph publications

The Wellcome Trust requires that original published monographs and book chapters arising from research they have funded be made freely available via the Europe PMC and the PMC Bookshelf repositories, as soon as possible and no later than within 6 months of the official final publication date. See Depositing your Wellcome-funded research.

Acknowledgement of funding

See How to acknowledge Wellcome’s support in your research publications.


If the publications do not meet the Wellcome Trust open access requirements, sanctions will apply, both for the researcher and their institution. For details, please refer to the section Monitoring compliance on the Wellcome Complying with our open access policy guidance.


The Wellcome Trust is one of the supporters of eLife, a non-profit open access online journal for biomedical and life sciences research.

Wellcome Open Research

Wellcome Open Research is a platform for rapid, open access publication and open peer review of any research funded by Wellcome. 


For all enquiries about open access, email the open access team.


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