Leading biomedical charity the Wellcome Trust is to set up a free online journal for scientific publications to compete with existing academic journals and boost wider access to research.
Wellcome’s policy has for some years been towards open access publishing, whereby researchers’ institutions pay for publication and access to the paper is unrestricted. This is a different model from most prominent scientific and medical journals, where publication is free for authors and their institutions, but payment is required to access and read the papers.
The charity says that public and charity-funded scientific research should be made public, and that it will take new steps to ensure that results from their own funded research will be made quickly and freely available; the new online open access journal will be called eLife.
The UK government has been broadly supportive of these aims, with Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts commenting: "We will watch the Wellcome Trust's new initiatives with interest…There are some real potential benefits from improving access to academic research". The government has already established a National Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings to make recommendations.