Funding and sustainability: the
Wellcome Trust perspective
Chris Bird
Wellcome Trust
[email protected]
The Wellcome Trust
• a global charitable foundation dedicated
to achieving extraordinary improvements
in human and animal health
• we support the brightest minds in
biomedical sciences and medical
humanities in the UK and overseas
• a long-term commitment to research and
capacity building in Africa – aim to enable
research targeted to local health needs
• a passionate commitment to maximising
access to research outputs (including
research papers and data)
The Trust’s open access policy
“All research papers – funded in whole or in part by the
Wellcome Trust – must be made freely accessible from
the PubMed Central and UKPMC repositories as soon as
possible, and in any event within six months of the
journal publisher’s official date of final publication”
Building sustainability: Funding
• Publication costs are part of
the research costs
• Provide funding to institutions
to cover OA funding
• WT spend on OA publishing is
around £4m a year
• If 100% of WT research was
published via “gold”, it would
represent approx. 1.5% of our
annual research spend
• 1.5% of £650m = £9.75m
Building sustainability: supporting
open access infrastructure
• providing dedicated funding to institutions
to meet OA costs
• building the Europe PubMed Central
• working with publishers to ensure their
processes enable and support compliance
• raising awareness of the benefits of OA in
the research community
• announcing a new top-tier, open access
e-journal with the Howard Hughes Medical
Institute and the Max Planck Society
“Ground-breaking science, selected by
experts, published without delay, open
for greater influence”
• a collaboration between world-class funders and the
research community to improve research communication
• an editorial process that reduces revision cycles and
accelerates the publication of new findings
• an open-access journal for highly influential work, from
basic to translational, applied, and clinical research
• a showcase for innovation in the presentation and
assessment of research
• A platform to maximize the reach and influence of new
research and to advance the careers of researchers
Supported by
Strengthening our policy
• compliance rate around 55% - still
disappointingly low
• to address this, we have decided to:
– introduce specific sanctions to increase
researcher compliance
– ensure where we pay an open access
fee, license terms ensure full re-use
(including commercial uses)
• political support is growing
 UK government commitment – Finch
group, new RCUK policy
 internationally – encouraging
developments in Europe and the US
(accessed 15 May 2012)
Compliance with Wellcome mandate?
Significant increase from 2006 – but still work to do…
% of papers in PMC
Compliance (%)
% of papers in PMC
Compliance – around 55%-60%
New policy: sanctions for non-compliance
1. In End of Grant Report all papers listed must
be OA. If not the final payment on the grant
(typically 10%) will be withheld
2. Non-compliant publications will be
discounted as part of a researcher’s track
record in any renewal of an existing grant or
new grant application
3. Trust-funded researchers will need to ensure
that all publications associated with their
Wellcome-funded research are OA before
any funding renewals or new grant awards
will be activated
Sanctions aimed at changing behaviour
Open access – policy requires CC-BY
OA policy now specifies that
research, for which an OA fee is
paid, must be licenced using CCBY
Will introduce this requirement from
April 2013
• Working with RCUK on this
• Early indicators are that
publishers will offer this licence
CC-BY: why?
CC-BY now the de facto OA licence
We believe that the full research and economic benefit
of published content will only be realised when there are
no restrictions on access to, and reuse of, this
Wellcome Trust funding in Africa
• Major Overseas Programmes in
Kenya, Malawi and South Africa
• Capacity building initiatives:
– African Institutions initiative - £30m to
support 7 pan-African consortia
– WT and DFID Health Research
Capacity Strengthening initiative in
Kenya and Malawi
• Other major research funding
 Joint Global Health Trials initiative
(with DFID and MRC)
 H3 Africa (with NIH)
 Malaria Capacity Development
 Major longitudinal, cohort studies
Research and collaboration in Africa
• Overall volume of research activity remains small – investment as
%GDP very low, even in more resource-rich countries
• Huge variation in research output – South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria
dominate in terms of numbers (but others e.g. Malawi relatively strong
in terms of output quality)
• Collaborative networks reflect historical legacies (e.g. anglophone
countries good links to US and UK), but not clear how great a priority
this is for the G7 partners in current economic climate.
Where we are…
• research could make a major contribution to addressing
health and development challenges facing African nations
• some areas of strength – e.g. strong biomedical, public
and clinical research
• but almost all research funded internationally, often with
lack of collaboration in-country:
lack of national and local (researcher) ownership
risk of distorted national research agenda
research evidence not used to inform health policy
• we need…
high quality training opportunities in research
excellent research environments
competitive health research funding opportunities within African
countries at a national level
partnerships between development and research funders
OA and Africa – some perspectives 1
• Gold OA is vital to ensure researchers can immediately
access and use published research findings, wherever they
are based in the world
• but we must ensure that researchers in resource-poor
settings are not restricted in their ability to publish their work
• publication has a cost - we believe strongly that funders
must recognise and resource these costs as integral part of
funding research
• in considering possible models to enable African
researchers to realise the benefits of gold OA, we must
recognise the context and constraints, for example:
– the lack of institutional infrastructure, support and awareness
– current publication practices (e.g. much research never published)
OA and Africa – some perspectives 2
Focus on what we as a funder can control / help with:
1. Access to funding
2. Capacity to administer funding
3. Policy flexibility (the “quality issue”)

PPT slides - BioMed Central