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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Open Access Policy

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Our open access policy is changing effective January 1, 2021 to align with Plan S principles as the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation is a member of cOAlition S. You can preview our updated policy to see how it will change to expand the reach and availability of our funded research. Later this Fall, we will provide detailed guidelines on how to comply with the new policy.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is committed to information sharing and transparency. We believe that published research resulting from our funding should be promptly and broadly disseminated. We have adopted an Open Access policy that enables the unrestricted access and reuse of all peer-reviewed published research funded, in whole or in part, by the foundation, including any underlying data sets.

Our Open Access policy contains the following elements:

  1. Publications Are Discoverable and Accessible Online.  Publications will be deposited in a specified repository(s) with proper tagging of metadata. 

  2. Publication Will Be On “Open Access” Terms.  All publications shall be published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Generic License (CC BY 4.0) or an equivalent license. This will permit all users of the publication to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and transform and build upon the material, including for any purpose (including commercial) without further permission or fees being required. 

  3. Foundation Will Pay Necessary Fees.  The foundation would pay reasonable fees required by a publisher to effect publication on these terms. 

  4. Publications Will Be Accessible and Open Immediately.  All publications shall be available immediately upon their publication, without any embargo period.   An embargo period is the period during which the publisher will require a subscription or the payment of a fee to gain access to the publication. We are, however, providing a transition period of up to two years from the effective date of the policy (or until January 1, 2017).  During the transition period, the foundation will allow publications in journals that provide up to a 12-month embargo period.

  5. Data Underlying Published Research Results Will Be Accessible and Open Immediately.  The foundation will require that data underlying the published research results be immediately accessible and open.  This too is subject to the transition period and a 12-month embargo may be applied.



Our Open Access policy starting in January 1, 2021 will contain the following elements:

Scope
The policy is effective for all grants awarded from January 1, 2015 and will apply to all Funded Research consisting of manuscript submissions and data depositions made starting January 1, 2021.

This policy implementation change will not apply to:

  • Researchers submitting articles for publication before January 1, 2021. Our current policy will apply to those grantees.
  • Review articles and other works of synthesis or opinion/analysis where grantees are invited to contribute on a specific topic.
  • Researchers publishing monographs or book chapters.

Policy
Funded Research subject to the Open Access Policy should contain the following elements:

  1. Publication Will Be On “Open Access” Terms. All Funded Research including articles accepted for publication shall be published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Generic License (CC BY 4.0) or an equivalent license. This will permit all users to copy, redistribute, transform, and build on the material in any medium or format for any purpose (including commercial) without further permission or fees being required.

  2. Gates Grantees Will Retain Copyright. Grantees shall retain sufficient copyright in Funded Research to ensure that articles accepted for publication are deposited into an open-access repository and published under the CC BY 4.0 or equivalent license.

  3. Publications and Underlying Data Will Be Accessible and Open Immediately. All Funded Research including articles accepted for publication shall be available immediately at publication, without any embargo period. Each accepted article must be accompanied by a Data Availability Statement that describes where any primary data, associated metadata, original software, and any additional relevant materials necessary to understand, assess, and replicate the reported study fundings in totality can be found.

    The Foundation shall require that underlying data supporting the accepted article shall be immediately accessible and open upon article publication. Grantees are encouraged to adhere to the FAIR principles to improve the findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reuse of digital assets.

  4. The Foundation Will Pay Necessary Fees. The foundation shall pay reasonable fees required by a publisher or repository to effect immediate, open access to the accepted article. This includes article processing charges and other publisher fees. For special issues and supplements, only the article processing charges are covered by the foundation. Effective as of January 1, 2021, the Foundation shall only pay these fees for articles publishing in Gold Open Access journals. Grantees can refer to the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) for a comprehensive list.

  5. Publications Will Be Available in a Repository. Accepted articles shall be deposited immediately upon publication in PubMed Central (PMC), or in another openly accessible repository, with proper metadata tagging identifying Gates funding. In addition to PMC, grantees are encouraged to deposit their accepted article in a subject specific or institutional repository of their choice.

    For accepted articles in journals not listed in the DOAJ, the grantee is required to deposit the accepted manuscript in PubMed Central with a CC BY 4.0 license so that it is available concurrent with the first version published by the journal.

  6. Preprints Of Submitted Manuscripts Are Encouraged. While not needed to fulfill the Open Access policy requirements, Grantees are encouraged to deposit Funded Research consisting of their submitted manuscript, and its subsequent versions, on a preprint server under a CC BY 4.0 license.

  7. Compliance Is A Requirement of Funding. This Open Access policy applies to all Funded Research, whether the funding is in whole or in part. Compliance will be continuously reviewed and authors will be contacted when they are non-compliant.

    Grantees must include the following acknowledgment in manuscripts submitted for publication:

"This work was supported, in whole or in part, by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation [OPPID]. Under the grant conditions of the Foundation, a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Generic License has already been assigned to the Author Accepted Manuscript version that might arise from this submission."

Email questions to openaccess@gatesfoundation.org

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