Publisher requirements

Publishers who want to provide open access publishing services for Wellcome and Charity Open Access Fund (COAF) grantholders through peer-reviewed journals based on article processing charges (APCs) must commit to providing a service that meets our requirements. 

Our open access policy states that when Wellcome funds are used to pay an APC, the article must be deposited, at the time of publication in PubMed Central (PMC). It will then be mirrored to Europe PMC. 

All deposited articles must be made available under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) Licence. COAF follows the same policy.

Wellcome and COAF’s open access policies and requirements are designed to maximise the availability and reuse of publications. We hope that publishers will continue to support us and our grantholders in this endeavour.

We recognise that relationships in the publication process are not straightforward – we have grant-funding relationships with researchers, who then establish relationships with publishers. This can lead to confusion about what Wellcome and COAF expect from publishers. 

Our requirements clarify the service that publishers who receive Wellcome or COAF funds need to provide.

Wellcome and COAF publisher requirements

Our publisher requirements came into force on 1 April 2017. 

In March 2017, our COAF partners agreed to adopt the requirements as a prerequisite for publishers receiving COAF funding for APCs.

1. The publisher, on behalf of the author, must deposit the final peer-reviewed version of the article in XML and PDF formats with PubMed Central (PMC) immediately upon issue publication, without embargo1. The final version will include all the changes that arise from the peer-review, copy-editing and proofing processes.

This requirement covers all Wellcome-attributed peer-reviewed journal articles for which an APC is paid and the funding correctly acknowledged by the author. Details of the specific technical requirements for depositing articles in PMC can be found on the PMC website.

2. To formalise this, publishers should sign a PMC Participation Agreement and must agree that articles can be mirrored to other PMC International sites, such as Europe PMC and PMC Canada, and included in the PMC Open Access Subset.  

3. Material changes made to the article on the publisher site must be mirrored in the content deposited with PMC. Specifically, the publisher must make available to PMC any of the following significant updates to a published article:

  • a notice of a correction
  • a retraction
  • an expression of concern
  • a licence change.

4. If a publisher’s PDFs normally carry a CrossMark, this must be included on the PDF deposited with PMC.

5. The publisher must ensure that any technical problems identified by PMC in the data files deposited by the publisher are resolved promptly.


This requirement will not apply if the article is published in a journal which has not yet been accepted for inclusion in PMC. This is provided that the publisher has formally applied for that journal to be included in PMC, and that the article is freely available on the publisher's website with a CC-BY licence.

1. All articles which arise from Wellcome funding, and have been published under an APC publishing model, must be made available under the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC-BY).

2. Any publisher who offers a choice of licences to Wellcome-funded authors must make it clear that if an author chooses a licence other than CC-BY, the published article will not be compliant with Wellcome's Open Access policy and so Wellcome will not cover the cost of the APC.

3. All articles deposited with PMC must include a licence statement. This must be included in the XML of the article deposited with PMC, and be provided in human and machine-readable formats, in line with PMC's License Tagging guidelines.

4. The Version of Record (including HTML and PDF) of the article must be made freely available on the publisher's site immediately on publication, under the same licence as that selected by the author.

5. If the publisher releases an early view of the article before the final version, the early view version must be made freely available on the publisher's site under the same licence as that selected by the author at the time of acceptance.

1. As a minimum requirement, all invoices relating to APCs incurred by publishing Wellcome-attributed research must include the article title. Ultimately, we would like all invoices to include a much richer set of metadata than is usually currently provided. But we recognise this is not yet possible for all publishers.

2. In addition to the article title, publishers are encouraged to include the following information on their invoices:

  • DOI
  • funder information
  • license information
  • author names and affiliation information
  • funder identifiers
  • ORCID iDs.

We welcome the work Crossref are doing in terms of encouraging registration of DOIs before publication and would urge all publishers to follow these guidelines and, specifically, to make the above metadata available on publisher-specific 'DOI holding pages'.

3. Publishers must have a publicly available policy setting out their approach and criteria for refunding APC payments.

Indicating your compliance with these requirements

Publishers who can comply with our requirements should email with the following information:

  • publisher name
  • contact name
  • assertion that the publisher can meet these requirements.

Where possible, we encourage publishers to also publish this information on their website so that all researchers are aware of it. In such cases, publishers should provide Wellcome with the URL where this information is disclosed.

If you cannot publish this information on your website, please ensure clarity in your email by using the following language: "We, [publisher name], confirm that we can meet the Wellcome Trust 'Publisher requirements as defined at: [URL of Wellcome publisher requirements]".

We will maintain a list of publishers who comply with our requirements and make this publicly available through the Sherpa FACT service.

Monitoring service provision and compliance

From 1 April 2017, Wellcome or COAF funding cannot be used to pay APCs for articles submitted to non-compliant publishers.

We will work with institutions to assess whether publishers which have committed to providing this service have done so in practice.