The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funds thousands of health and research scientists to solve many of the worlds most dire issues. Until this point, the reports and data the foundation funded were sometimes published in magazines, sold online and generally out of reach for the general public. This is set to change.
The Gates Foundation has announced that starting in 2017 it will require that the researchers it funds publish only in immediate open-access journals. In order to setup a proper pipeline for scientists the Foundation is mandating that current grantees can publish in subscription-based journals as long as their paper is freely available within 12 months. But after that, the journal must be open access, meaning papers are free for anyone to read immediately upon publication. Articles must also be published with a license that allows anyone to freely reuse and distribute the material. And the underlying data must be freely available.
“By reinforcing the global health community’s commitment to sharing research data and information, we can accelerate the development of new solutions to tackle infectious diseases, cut maternal and child mortality, and reduce malnutrition in the world’s poorest places,” wrote Trevor Mundel, president of the foundation’s Global Health Division, on the group’s website on 20 November.
The Gates Foundation spends roughly $900 million dollars a year on research. This equates to 1400 papers a year that soon will be available for anyone to read right away. Only 30% of the existing reports actually are open-access right now, so within a few years this number will increase to 100%, which will be a boon for free digital access.