Wellcome backs campaign to break stranglehold of academic journals and allow all research papers to be shared free online One of the world’s largest funders of science is to throw its weight behind a growing campaign to break the stranglehold of academic journals and allow all research papers to be shared online. Nearly 9,000 researchers have already signed up to a boycott of journals that restrict free sharing as part of a campaign dubbed the ” academic spring ” by supporters due to its potential for revolutionising the spread of knowledge. But the intervention of the Wellcome Trust, the largest non-governmental funder of medical research after the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is likely to galvanise the movement by forcing academics it funds to publish in open online journals. Sir Mark Walport, the director of Wellcome Trust, said that his organisation is in the final stages of launching a high calibre scientific journal called eLife that would compete directly with top-tier publications such as Nature and Science, seen by scientists as the premier locations for publishing. Unlike traditional journals, however, which cost British universities hundreds of millions of pounds a year to access, articles in eLife will be free to view on the web as soon as they are published.