May 21, 2022

Wellcome is Going to Review its Open Access Policy

From a Wellcome Announcement:

2018-03-05_15-57-59We’re going to do the first full review of our open access policy. Robert Kiley, Head of Open Research, explains the motivation behind the review, and how and when it will happen.


Given significant changes in publishing research article over the past dozen or so years, we think the time is right to look again at our OA policy. We want to ensure that it is fully optimised to help us deliver our mission to improve human health.


The costs of delivering our OA policy are increasing. In part this is a consequence of more Wellcome-attributed research being published OA – compliance with our policy is over 75% – but it is also due to increases in OA article processing charges (APCs).

In 2015-16 Wellcome spent £5.7 million delivering this policy, and we know from COAF data, that 71% of APCs go to funding hybrid OA; articles which are published in a subscription journal but can be made OA on the payment of a fee.

Significantly, the COAF data also reveals that the average APC for a hybrid OA article (£2,209) is 34% higher than the average APC for an article in a fully OA journal (£1,644).


The overarching aim of our OA policy is to ensure that knowledge and discoveries which arise from our funding are shared and used in manner that maximises the benefit to health. This objective remains our north star.

Beyond this however, we’ve defined three additional objectives. Specifically, the OA policy should:

  • support a transition to a fully OA world, where no research is behind a paywall
  • be as clear, unambiguous and straightforward as possible to comply with
  • ensure that the costs of delivering this policy are fair and proportionate.


We plan to carry out this review over the next six months. We will announce its outcome before the end of 2018.

Read the Complete Announcement

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.