Re: Wellcome Trust statement on open access

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Thu, 4 Nov 2004 21:53:59 +0000

The Wellcome Trust's support for OA is very timely, generous, and, well,
welcome! Yet the Trust could generate so much more OA for the money --
and OA also in disciplines far beyond the remit of Wellcome Trust funding
-- if only, in addition to supporting open access journal publishing and
central self-archiving, it also supported institutional self-archiving.

Central and institutional self-archiving -- as long as the archives
are OAI-compliant, hence interoperable -- are completely equivalent,
functionally. But they are not equivalent in their power to generate
more OA, as concluded by this study commissioned by U.K. Joint Information
Systems Committee (JISC), which recommended distributed institutional
self-archiving and central harvesting, rather than central

    Swan, A., Needham, P., Probets, S., Muir, A., O'Brien, A., Oppenheim,
    C., Hardy, R. & Rowland, F. (2004) Delivery, Management and Access
    Model for E-prints and Open Access Journals within Further and
    Higher Education.

If Wellcome-funded authors were (as proposed below) required to
self-archive their Wellcome-funded research articles, the effect of
the Wellcome policy would be so much greater if Wellcome did not (as
now) specify only the option of self-archiving them in PubMed Central,
but also the option of self-archiving them in their own institutional OA
archive. That way, the practice of self-archiving would propagate across
each Wellcome author's institution and its disciplines.

Any Wellcome funding help to their authors' institutions in creating OA
archives (if they do not already have them) would also generate far more
OA than just paying the OA publishing charges per article.

Prior Amsci Topic Threads:

    "E-Biomed: Very important NIH Proposal" (1999)

    "NIH's Public Archive for the Refereed Literature:
     PUBMED CENTRAL" (1999)

    "Central vs. Distributed Archives" (1999)

    "PubMed and self-archiving" (2003)

    "Central versus institutional self-archiving" (2003)

    "What Provosts Need to Mandate" (2003)

    Written evidence for UK Select Committee's
    Inquiry into Scientific Publications (2003)

    "UK Select Committee Inquiry into Scientific Publication" (2004)

    "University policy mandating self-archiving of research output" (2003)

    "Mandating OA around the corner?" (2004)

    "The UK report, press coverage, and the
    Green and Gold Roads to Open Access" (2004)

    "Implementing the US/UK recommendation to mandate OA Self-Archiving" (2004)

    "AAU misinterprets House Appropriations Committee Recommendation" (2004)

    "Victory for the NIH open access plan in the House" (2004)

On Thu, 4 Nov 2004, Robert Terry wrote:

> Research publishing and Open access Latest developments from the Wellcome
> Trust: November 2004
> The Wellcome Trust has been a strong advocate for funding agencies to
> provide the means and incentives to facilitate greater open access to
> the research literature. This includes providing financial support for
> publishing in open access journals, and encouraging deposition of a
> final version of a peer reviewed manuscript in public access archives,
> such as PubMed Central (PMC).
> The Trust is now working in partnership with the National Library of
> Medicine (NLM) to establish a European site for PubMed Central (the
> free to access, digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal
> literature, wholly funded by the National Institutes of Health in the
> United States). In the future, we are proposing that Wellcome Trust
> grantees will be required to deposit an electronic version of their
> peer reviewed research articles in PubMed Central (or the European PMC,
> once established) no later than six months after the date of publication.
> In addition, the Trust will provide grantees with additional funding
> to cover the costs of page processing charges levied by open access
> publishers, such as Public Library of Science and BioMed Central. There
> will also be additional funding to cover the cost of converting files
> into the metadata schema required for deposition in PubMed Central. These
> initiatives were set out in a letter to all UK university vice-chancellors
> [see] on 1 November 2004
> and a question and answer sheet provides more information on them [see
> For a press release on this see []
> Background
> The Wellcome Trust is actively promoting the 'open access' model of
> science publishing, to help ensure that scientific research findings
> are shared as widely and as rapidly as possible.
> The findings of medical research are typically communicated through
> specialist publications. Journal publishers arrange for articles to be
> checked by experts in the field ('peer review'), then publish papers
> in print and on the web. To access the papers, other scientists need
> to take out a subscription to the journal or pay a fee to access an
> individual article.
> The major drawbacks of this system are that subscriptions can be very
> expensive and represent an obstacle to the timely sharing of information
> through the scientific community and more broadly.
> An alternative approach is 'open access'. All articles are freely
> available on the web, either by being deposited in an open access
> repository or by being published in an open access journal with income
> being derived from contributors, who would pay to have articles published,
> rather than subscribers. Overall, we believe these approaches are
> beneficial for medical research: quality can still be preserved through
> peer review and the overall costs of publishing could well be cheaper.
> We have commissioned two reports examining the pros and cons
> of open access, and its potential financial implications. We
> have also developed a position statement, now under review, [see
>] which formally sets out
> our views. An article which first appeared in the Times Higher Education
> Supplement summarises the key issues from a funder's perspective [see
Received on Thu Nov 04 2004 - 21:53:59 GMT

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