Publishing in hybrid, open access journals

Wellcome has updated its guidance for researchers to help them comply with our open access policy and support them when some journals have discouraged them from making their Author Accepted Manuscripts open access.

'We are disappointed that some publishers are implementing processes that seek to discourage our researchers from exercising their right to make their Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) open access. We urge these publishers to stop these practices and instead focus their efforts on developing Plan S-aligned publishing options. 

'Where publishers embrace this transition, we will fund fair and reasonable publishing costs. Moreover, under this model, the Version of Record will be made open access, and as such the author will not need to make use of their right to share the AAM.

'In the meantime, when faced with an obligation to agree pay an Article Processing Charge (which we will not fund) we encourage our researchers to either contact the journal to request a waiver to this fee, or to consider submitting their manuscript to a different journal. 

'Equally, if a publisher seeks to re-route a submission to a different journal – because of our open access policy – the researcher should either contact the publisher and ask them to reconsider this decision or take their submission elsewhere.'

Robert Kiley, Head of Open Access at Wellcome

Notes to editors 

Wellcome has been made aware that publishers have been using two approaches to discourage researchers from making their AAM's open access.

Approach 1: Require the author to agree to pay an APC at point of submission

In this case, publishers have modified their workflows to require Wellcome-funded researchers to agree to pay an Article Processing Charge (APC) at the point of submission. Until the author has 'agreed' to pay this fee the manuscript cannot be submitted.

As Wellcome funds can't be used to cover these APCs, if researchers (or their organisations) are unable to fund these fees they should not commit to paying them at the point of submission. Instead, researchers should either contact the journal to determine if a waiver can be granted or consider alternative publishing venues.

Approach 2: Submissions re-routed to fully open access journals

In the second case, articles submitted to hybrid journals are being re-routed to open access journals owned by that publisher. 

If the researcher is content with this, they should proceed with that submission. However, if they prefer their submission to be considered by their first-choice journal, publishers should respect this. 

If a publisher is not prepared to consider a manuscript because of the authors’ rights to make their AAM's open access, then they should notify cOAlition S of this decision such that this information can be encoded in the Journal Checker Tool