The Wellcome Trust welcomes the policy statement from HEFCE and the other three UK higher education funding bodies that requires research outputs (journal articles and conference proceedings) arising from their funding to be made open access in order to be eligible for submission to the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework.
Commenting on the policy announcement, Dr Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust, said: "We believe that providing access to research outputs maximises the resulting benefits to society. This development - which follows the RCUK open access policy - means that virtually all UK-based researchers in receipt of public funding are now operating under an open access mandate."
The funding councils' policy also recognises that subject repositories are an acceptable place of deposit. This feature is especially welcome, as the Trust (along with 24 other research funders) supports the life sciences open access subject repository Europe PubMed Central.
The policy was developed following two public rounds of consultations, and inevitably there are some elements which may need to be reconsidered if the full benefits of this policy are to be realised.
Addressing some of the detailed points of the policy, Robert Kiley, Head of Digital Services at the Wellcome Trust, who leads on the implementation of the Trust's open access policy, said: "We understand the sensitivities in specifying that research outputs must be made available under a specific licence, but have concerns that by stipulating that a "non-commercial, no-derivatives" licence is acceptable, the ability for other researchers to make use of that content will be significantly restricted."
The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The Trust's breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests.