We want the research we fund to be open and accessible, so it can have the greatest possible impact.
Transforming human health will take longer if research outputs – like publications, data, software and biological materials – aren’t managed, shared and used in ways that realise their full value.
We’ve been leading efforts to make research more open for over 20 years, ever since we worked to make sure the results of the Human Genome Project were released immediately into the public domain.
In recent years, the research community has made significant progress. But there are still challenges. For example, many researchers are concerned that the time and effort taken to share outputs puts them at a competitive disadvantage, without bringing enough benefits. Addressing challenges like this is at the heart of our work.
We were the first research funder to introduce a mandatory open access policy. All journal articles, book chapters and monographs that present the findings of the research we fund must be made freely available. Since then, more than 150 global research funders have followed our lead.
In November 2018, following a six-month review, we announced that we're updating our open access policy to align with Plan S. The changes will apply from 1 January 2021. Read:
We held a series of webinars on our new open access policy in autumn 2020 – see the slides.
There are many challenges around sharing research outputs, from how best to use confidential patient data in research, to how to share data when under the pressure of a public health emergency like coronavirus or Ebola. Our open research team works with other teams across Wellcome and with partners to address these challenges.
From 1 October 2020 to 30 September 2021, we’re piloting an outputs management plan support service.
The service will be available to Wellcome-funded researchers whose outputs management plans have been flagged – by committee members, peer reviewers or Wellcome staff – as requiring more detail. We will contact the researchers recommended for this service at the time of award.
Through the service, the open research team, in collaboration with institutional data stewards, will provide bespoke advice to researchers to help them build on their plan. For example, how, where and when research outputs should be shared, in line with best practice.
We encourage research outputs to be shared in line with the FAIR principles (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable). Through the Research on Research Institute, we are supporting FAIRware – a cross-funder initiative to design and develop software tools to assess the extent to which datasets, software and other research outputs are being shared in line with these principles.
Clinical trials data is a valuable resource for researchers, who can use it to advance medical science by building on previous findings and exploring new questions.
We support the sharing of this data in several ways.
Researchers who lead the way in making their research open aren’t always given the recognition or incentives for doing so.
To help improve this we:
We offer a number of funding opportunities to support open research.
For more information, contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.