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.
What we’re doing
Open access to publications
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.
Changes to our open access policy
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 ran the Open Science Prize in partnership with the National Institutes of Health and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, to kickstart new products and services that harness the power of open data
we want to empower researchers and other innovators to pilot and evaluate new approaches to openness through our funding opportunities (see Funding opportunities section below).
We also recognise that funding processes traditionally emphasise journal articles, rather than other research outputs, such as datasets and software. We’re exploring ways to address this, along with other funders who have similar concerns.
worked with the Open Research Funders Group to develop a blueprint that funders can use to incentivise and facilitate open research.
We offer a number of funding opportunities to support open research.
the Open Research Fund to support individuals and teams anywhere in the world to carry out groundbreaking experiments in open research. Awards can be up to £50,000 and the scheme is open to applications once a year.
the Learned Society Curation Awards for learned society publishers who want to explore new ways of signalling the significance of published research outputs in an open and transparent manner. Awards can be up to £200,000 and this is a one-off scheme.
the Wellcome Data Re-use Prizes to stimulate and celebrate the innovative re-use of research data. Winners receive a prize of £15,000 and the opportunity to publish their entry in Wellcome Open Research. Prizes run once or twice a year.
small amounts of funding to help researchers and organisations host meetings, workshops and events related to open research.
Research Enrichment – Open Research funding for Wellcome grantholders to make their research more open, accessible and reusable. This scheme has now closed. If you are a Wellcome grantholder, and have an innovative idea about making research outputs open, accessible or reusable, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Transparent communication of open access publishing services and prices
Information Power have developed a framework to help make the nature and prices of open access publishing services more transparent.
To test whether the framework is feasible to complete and useful to customers, Information Power will run a pilot in the first quarter of 2020. Ten publishers have agreed to participate, along with service providers such as Crossref. The results of the pilot will be openly shared.
FAIRware: a software tool to assess the FAIRness of research outputs
We're currently looking at the scope to develop a software tool that can assess whether research outputs produced by Wellcome-funded researchers are FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable).
We expect the project will involve the development of a:
checklist of FAIR requirements for each output type
software tool capable of reliably assessing the extent to which each output type meets the FAIR requirements.