"For too long, funders have stood by as the results of scientific and medical research have been handed over to traditional publishers, who have then put those research articles behind subscription barriers," said Matthew Cockerill, Director of Operations at BioMed Central. "Subscription-only access to research does not meet the needs of researchers, funders, or the general public, all of whom benefit from the widest possible access to research findings, which is what Open Access delivers."
"Following on from the National Institutes of Health's similar initiative in the USA, Wellcome's move shows that the funders who spend hundreds of millions of pounds to carry out the research in the first place are no longer prepared to see their research results remain inaccessible."
The Wellcome Trust is the UK's biggest non-governmental funder of biomedical research with an annual spend of 400 million. The recipients of Wellcome's funding produce almost 3500 scientific articles each year. With such a major funding body backing Open Access, it is now expected that other funding bodies around the world will follow suit.
Wellcome's policy specifies that articles must be made freely available within, at most, six months of initial publication, but BioMed Central called on researchers to go further and to make their research accessible immediately on publication, by choosing an Open Access journal."
"Six months is a long time in science with the rapid pace of research, quick access to the latest results is vital. So, the best way for researchers to meet the spirit of the Wellcome policy is to publish in fully Open Access journals, such as those published by BioMed Central."