Open access block grant funding – information for research organisations

We provide block grant funding to the UK organisations we support, to enable publications resulting from our funded research to be made immediately and freely available to other researchers to access and re-use.

Find out what requirements organisations who receive block funding must meet.

What the block grant covers

The fund may be used to cover article processing charges (APCs) for:

  • Peer-reviewed original research articles, as required by our open access policy. The research reported must be funded, in whole or in part, by Wellcome.
  • Unsolicited review articles, where the author wants to make the review open access. The review article must acknowledge Wellcome as a funder. The publisher must provide a compliant open access option.

The block grant can only be used for APCs where the publisher has agreed to our publisher requirements.

The fund should be used to meet the costs associated with making a paper open access at the time of publication. Authors who want to make articles open access retrospectively (12 months or more after publication) should self-archive the accepted manuscript in Europe PMC. Email openaccess@wellcome.org if you need more advice.

The block grant can be used to cover articles based on research supported in whole or in part by Wellcome, even if that contribution is relatively minor.

Where the research is also supported by other funders who mandate open access and provide funds for it, then we expect those organisations to split the APC proportionally.

The fund can be used to cover APCs paid through publisher pre-payment schemes, but only if:

  • authors aren’t discouraged from publishing in their journal of choice
  • organisations don’t agree deals that compromise their ability to report on the actual cost of the APC for each funded research paper
  • only claim actual, incurred APCs – funds held in a pre-payment account, but not yet used to pay the APC cost for a Wellcome-funded research paper, can't be treated as expenditure incurred against the grant.

Where there is a transformative agreement in place (for example Springer Compact Microbiology Society or Wiley), the funds can be used to contribute towards the publishing element of the agreement. See Wellcome's support for Transformative Agreements [PDF 191KB] for further details. The savings that organisations make through these agreements should be reflected in the level of APC they charge to Wellcome.

    What the block grant doesn't cover

    The grant doesn't cover:

    • APCs associated with commissioned or invited review articles, conference proceedings, editorials, letters or commentaries.
    • Other charges associated with publication, such as page and colour charges.

    The block grant cannot be used to cover costs associated with publishing book chapters and monographs open access. We have a separate funding mechanism to manage payment of these costs for its funded researchers. Please email openaccess@wellcome.org for information.

    Conditions for use of the block grant

    Where an APC is paid from the grant, the publisher must:

    1. Deposit the final version of the article, on behalf of the author, in PubMed Central (PMC). The article should include all the changes from the peer-review, copy-editing and proofing processes. It must be made freely available at the time of publication – a link to the article on the publisher site is not sufficient. Details of the specific technical requirements for depositing papers in PMC can be found on the PubMed Central website.

    2. License the content under a Creative Commons Attribution-only (CC-BY) licence. Only APCs for articles published under the CC-BY licence can be charged to the grant.

    3. Where a final published paper is not in Europe PMC and/or not licensed under CC-BY, then researchers should contact the publisher. Read our 'Reporting requirements' below.

    The publisher must have agreed to the publisher requirements for the grant to be used for the APC. Use SHERPA FACT to identify which journals have signed up to the requirements.

    Management of the block grant: requirements for organisations

    Only open access costs incurred by the organisation within the period of the block award can be charged to the fund.

    Non-recoverable VAT associated with the APC can be charged to the grant.

    This is the list of the organisations receiving block grants.

    Any unspent funds cannot be carried over. These should be written back to Wellcome.

    Reporting requirements

    Organisations must inform Wellcome if the balance remaining on the grant falls below 10%.

    Organisations will be asked to provide an annual report at the end of the grant period, itemising each research paper for which an APC has been charged to the grant and the use of funds towards Transformative Agreements.

    The information in these annual reports will be made publicly available.

    Contact us

    Any queries relating to the block grants should be emailed to openaccess@wellcome.org.