Open Access at the Wellcome Trust

Case Study

At the Wellcome Trust, Lantern has enabled Open Access mandate compliance monitoring at a scale not previously possible. It's having an impact on the openness of the research they fund all over the world.


the need to automate and make scaleable open access mandate compliance checking


a variety of teams use Lantern to analyse publication datasets, and take follow-up action on articles which need it.


improved ability to enforce their mandate, and an impact on open access publication for Wellcome-funded research

"Wellcome Trust is a charitable foundation that exists to improve health for everyone. Our funding supports over 14,000 people in more than 70 countries. We support curious, passionate people all over the world explore ideas in science, population health, medical innovation, the humanities and social sciences and public engagement."

Hannah Hope, Open Research Co-ordinator, Wellcome Trust

Wellcome has had an open access policy since 2005, requiring that research articles resulting from Wellcome funding are made freely available. This policy applies to all grantees and funding is provided to support the cost of making articles open access.

They have an Organisation Account with Lantern, which means they have a Wellcome-branded user interface, custom fields and compliance calculations. You can visit their interface at

Why Automate?

Before Lantern was developed, Wellcome had no automated way of compliance checking. The Open Research team in Wellcome's London offices went through a manual process of searching for DOIs and PubMed IDs in Europe PMC, to gather essential information. This included whether the article was in Europe PMC at all, and whether the appropriate Creative Commons licence was visible.

On one occasion Wellcome published a raw dataset of articles, and crowd-sourced the checking and data enhancement from the community. Though this was highly effective, they recognised immediately the need for an automated and scalable solution. They turned to us at Cottage Labs and ultimately Lantern, as we had also been working on this same problem in collaboration with the Public Library of Science (PLOS).

How is Lantern Used?

"The key feature of the software is that it is able to pull content from multiple sources ... each of which provides a different element of the compliance picture"

Lantern is used by a variety of people within Wellcome Trust. Grant Managers use it to ensure that publications listed in grant reports are all compliant; they can only close the grants once they are. The Open Research team upload identifiers every month to keep an up-to-date picture of how much of the Trust’s publication portfolio is compliant with their policy. Meanwhile, the Insight and Analysis team run customised datasets on an ad hoc basis as needed for their work.

Once a year Wellcome run a full detailed bulk analysis for all articles for which they have paid an article processing charge. You can see the analysis for 2015-16 here.

Of particular value to Wellcome is Lantern's ability to pull content from multiple sources - for example, CrossRef to identify DOIs, DOAJ to determine if article is in a full OA or hybrid journal, EuropePMC to check availability - each of which provides a different element of the compliance picture.

The use of Lantern has supported Wellcome in raising the rate of compliance with its open access policy to just over 80%. When Lantern identifies articles which do not meet their policy, they work directly with the academics, institutions and publishers to enable free access to their research.

They also combine the results from the Lantern with additional information provided by grantees to understand trends and costs within the scholarly publishing market.

"We couldn't do this work regularly without the tool as the time it would take would be too great"


Prior to using Lantern, Wellcome did not have the means to do any of this analysis in a meaningful way. They have used Lantern to measure the compliance with their open access mandate, which has a global impact on access to critical biomedical and health research.

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