Wellcome Trust statement on open access

From: Peter Suber <peters_at_earlham.edu>
Date: Wed, 1 Oct 2003 13:26:11 +0100

Reposted from: https://mx2.arl.org/Lists/SPARC-OAForum/

A position statement by the Wellcome Trust in support of open access publishing

The mission of the Wellcome Trust is to "foster and promote research with
the aim of improving human and animal health." The main output of this
research is new ideas and knowledge, which the Trust expects its
researchers to publish in quality, peer-reviewed journals.

The Trust has a fundamental interest in ensuring that neither the terms
struck with researchers, nor the marketing and distribution strategies used
by publishers (whether commercial, not-for-profit or academic) adversely
affect the availability and accessibility of this material.

With recent advances in Internet publishing, the Trust is aware that there
are a number of new models for the publication of research results and will
encourage initiatives that broaden the range of opportunities for quality
research to be widely disseminated and freely accessed.

The Wellcome Trust therefore supports open and unrestricted access to the
published output of research, including the open access model (defined
below), as a fundamental part of its charitable mission and a public
benefit to be encouraged wherever possible.

Specifically, the Trust:
welcomes the establishment of free-access, high-quality scientific
journals available via the Internet;

will encourage and support the formation of such journals and/or
free-access repositories for research papers;

will meet the cost of publication charges including those for
online-only journals for Trust-funded research by permitting Trust
researchers to use contingency funds for this purpose;

encourages researchers to maximize the opportunities to make their
results available for free and, where possible, retain their copyright, as
recommended by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition
(SPARC), the Public Library of Science, and similar frameworks;

affirms the principle that it is the intrinsic merit of the work, and
not the title of the journal in which a researcher's work is published,
that should be considered in funding decisions and awarding grants.

As part of its corporate planning process, the Trust will continue to keep
this policy under review.

Definition of open access publication1

An open access publication is one that meets the following two conditions:
1. The author(s) and copyright holder(s) grant(s) to all users a free,
irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual (for the lifetime of the applicable
copyright) right of access to, and a licence to copy, use, distribute,
perform and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative
works in any digital medium for any reasonable purpose, subject to proper
attribution of authorship2, as well as the right to make small numbers of
printed copies for their personal use.

2. A complete version of the work and all supplemental materials,
including a copy of the permission as stated above, in a suitable standard
electronic format is deposited immediately upon initial publication in at
least one online repository that is supported by an academic institution,
scholarly society, government agency, or other well-established
organization that seeks to enable open access, unrestricted distribution,
interoperability, and long-term archiving (for the biomedical sciences,
PubMed Central is such a repository).


1. An open access publication is a property of individual works, not
necessarily of journals or of publishers.

2. Community standards, rather than copyright law, will continue to provide
the mechanism for enforcement of proper attribution and responsible use of
the published work, as they do now.

The definition of open access publication used in this position statement
is based on the definition arrived at by delegates who attended a meeting
on open access publishing convened by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute
in July 2003.
Received on Wed Oct 01 2003 - 13:26:11 BST

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