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UK to Enforce Paper Sharing

The United Kingdom's Wellcome Trust announces that it will begin sanctioning researchers who do not submit manuscripts to the public UK PubMed Central database.

By | June 29, 2012

image: UK to Enforce Paper Sharing Wikimedia, Vmenkov

WIKIMEDIA, VMENKOV

In 2006, the United Kingdom's Wellcome Trust has requested that researchers submit all published manuscripts to a public repository known as UK PubMed Central within 6 months of appearing in a peer-reviewed journal. But after discovering that only 55 percent of eligible papers are being submitted, Director Mark Walport wrote a letter (available in full on ScienceInsider) announcing that the funding agency will be cracking down on this policy.

“This is simply unacceptable and so with immediate effect we will be tightening up enforcement of our policy," he said in a press release.

Effective immediately, the agency will require that institutions with Wellcome funding confirm in their final grant reports that any relevant papers published since October 2009 have been posted; otherwise the grantees will risk losing their final grant payment. Trust-funded researchers must also make sure that all Wellcome-funded research papers are posted before they will be eligible for funding renewals or new grant awards. Finally, any eligible publications that are not posted will not count towards a researcher's “track record” in the eyes of the agency when reviewing new grant applications.

This is a change from the way the agency used to work, Wellcome Trust Media Relations Manager Craig Brierley told ScienceInsider. Wellcome has "frequently reminded" grantholders to post their papers, she said, but until now, "there were no defined sanctions."

The policy is similar to that of the US National Institutes of Health that requires papers be posted on PubMed Central within 12 months of publication. According to a March report, this policy has a compliance rate of around 75 percent.

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