To support its updated open access policy which came into effect in January 2021, Wellcome developed guidance for its funded research organizations on how to implement responsible and fair approaches for research assessment. The core principles of this guidance requires Wellcome-funded organizations publicly commit to:

  • Assessing research outputs and other research contributions based on their intrinsic merit;
  • Discouraging the inappropriate use of proxies or metrics – such as the title or impact factor of the journal in which the work was published.

Specifically, Wellcome-funded research organizations are asked to meet three requirements. During regular Wellcome audits of the organization, these requirements may be asked to be demonstrated:

  • Statement of commitment to implementing the [DORA] principles on their website – this should be clear and accessible;
  • Plan for implementing the principles, or a clear process in place for developing a plan (with a specified delivery date);
  • Process in place for monitoring and reporting on progress in implementing the principles.

In addition, Wellcome has developed guidance for members of its advisory panels, stressing that when assessing applicants’ CVs they should:

  • Focus on the content and quality of publications, rather than their number or the impact factors of the journals in which they were published;
  • Take into account the diverse range of possible research outputs. Outputs vary between disciplines, and may include not just research articles but also data, reagents, software, intellectual property and policy changes;
  • Be sensitive to legitimate delays in research publication, and personal factors (parental or other types of leave, part-time working and disability) that may have affected the applicant’s record of outputs.

Grant application forms have also been modified such that they no longer specifically ask researchers to cite their research publications, but instead to list their outputs which may include (but are not limited to):

  • Peer-reviewed publications and preprints;
  • Datasets, software and research materials;
  • Inventions, patents and commercial activity.