Wellcome Trust to launch open access research site

Scientists funded by the Wellcome Trust will be able to publish their findings ahead of peer review on a new digital platform from this autumn

July 6, 2016
The Wellcome Trust has criticised big publishers for failing to put papers in the right open access depository
Source: istock
The Wellcome Trust has criticised big publishers for failing to put papers in the right open access depository

One of the world’s largest research charities is to launch an open access platform to allow its grant winners to publish their scientific outputs.

The Wellcome Trust, the world’s second largest charitable foundation, will open the new publishing platform, Wellcome Open Research, from this autumn, it announced on 6 July.

The new publishing outlet will mean that research outputs will become available faster and in ways that support reproducibility and transparency, the London-based biomedical research charity said.

Wellcome-funded researchers will also be able to rapidly publish a wide variety of outputs from standard research articles and data sets through to null and negative results, it added.

The platform’s model of immediate publication followed by “transparent invited peer review”, with inclusion of supporting data, will enable researchers to reanalyse, replicate and reuse data, thereby improving the reliability of research published, the charity also said.

Robert Kiley, Wellcome’s head of digital service, commented that one of the long-term aims of the platform was to “start a shift in research and researcher assessment away from journal-based measures and towards direct assessment of the output itself, whether it be an article, or in another form such as a dataset or software tool”.

“This model shifts towards wholly open research publishing, and will bring benefits to researchers and institutions, as well as to society more broadly,” he added.

The launch of the new site follows criticism of big publishers by the trust, which has an £18 billion endowment, over claims that they had failed to make Wellcome-funded research available in open access repositories.

Elsevier and Wiley were singled out for regularly failing to put papers in the right open access repository and properly attributing them with a creative commons licence, with Wellcome threatening to withdraw the funds used by researchers to publish in certain types of journal if the practice continued.

Under the new arrangement, articles uploaded to Wellcome Open Research that pass peer review will then be indexed in major bibliographic databases and deposited in the open access repositories PubMed Central and Europe PMC.

Wellcome Open Research will disseminate results almost immediately, ensuring critical advances in urgent areas of research are not held up by lengthy journal processes, the charity said.

This transparent peer review process will encourage constructive feedback from experts focused on helping the authors improve their work, rather than on making an editorial decision to accept or reject an article, it added.

Rebecca Lawrence, managing director of F1000, which has developed the new platform, said that it would be a “publishing model that truly focuses on serving authors and their associated research communities, removing many of the problematic barriers faced during the traditional publishing process”.


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