Wellcome Trust will penalise scientists who don’t embrace open access

29/06/2012 – 11:08 am
Tony McCall

Wealthy medical charity says it will withhold researchers’ final grant payments if they fail to make their results open access.

The Wellcome Trust plans to withhold a portion of grant money from scientists who do not make the results of their work freely available to the public, in a move that will embolden supporters of the growing open access movement in science. In addition, any research papers that are not freely available will not be counted as part of a scientist’s track record when Wellcome assesses any future applications for research funding.

The trust is the second largest medical research charity in the world, spending more than £600m on science every year. Its director, Sir Mark Walport, is a firm supporter of open access to scientific research as a way to ensure scientific results are available to as wide a range of people who might benefit from them as possible. He has said that publishing research papers should be considered a cost of a research project in the same way as a piece of lab equipment.

His calls have echoed growing unrest from academics around the world who want to release the results of public and charity-funded scientific research from behind the paywalls of academic publishers, which charge UK universities hundreds of millions of pounds between them to access the information.

Many supporters of open access advocate the “gold” model, where researchers pay an upfront fee to a journal for their paper to be made available online, free of charge, as soon as it has been published. One alternative is “green” open access, where a journal will make a paper freely available after a specified embargo period.

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author: Alok Jha
source The Guardian (28/06/12)

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