UK Funder Explains Clamp-Down On Open Access Violators

Richard Van Noorden | | April 9, 2014

Wellcome Trust's Robert Kiley discusses sanctions to ensure that grants lead to freely available papers.

Since 2006, the giant medical-research charity Wellcome Trust has asked the researchers it funds to make their articles free to read online. Last year, it turned up pressure on scientists to comply, or see their funding withheld. It seems to have worked: compliance with open-access requirements has improved (see' Funders punish open-access dodgers').

Robert Kiley, head of digital services at the Wellcome Library in London, talked to Nature about how the funder ensures compliance and why its open-access policy encourages making papers open immediately upon publication. It will pay publishers money, if required, for this 'gold' open-access, as opposed to a so-called 'green' route, in which researchers deposit their accepted manuscripts online, but may have to wait to make them open until after publication. Some say gold open access is unnecessarily expensive, particularly in the case of 'hybrid' journals — those that still charge subscriptions to libraries, but also take fees to make individual articles free to download.