The Wellcome Trust is dedicated to making as much research as possible open the anyone who wants it — so dedicated, in fact, that it plans to start withholding grant funds from researchers who do not make their research freely available, says The Guardian's Alok Jha. Additionally, the funding organization will discount any papers that are not freely available from any researcher's work record when assessing future applications for funding, Jha adds. "[Wellcome Trust's] 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," Jha says. "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."
The organization has required all researchers it funds to make their research freely available since 2006, but the compliance rate is only about 55 percent. The proposed penalty is meant to raise that compliance rate. Upon the awarding of a grant, PIs will be required to sign an agreement saying all papers resulting from said grant are to made freely available, Jha reports. If the work is not made available open access within six months of publication, the final grant payment — about 10 percent of the total sum — will not be paid out, he adds.