As of January 1, 2015 an Open Access policy will be effective for all new funding agreements made with researchers.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 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.
During a two-year transition period, publishers will be permitted to apply up to a 12 month embargo period on the accessibility of the publication and its underlying data sets. This embargo period will no longer be allowed after January 1, 2017.
The Open Access policy contains the following elements:
- Publications Are Discoverable and Accessible Online. Publications will be deposited in a specified repository(s) with proper tagging of metadata.
- 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.
- Foundation Will Pay Necessary Fees. The foundation would pay reasonable fees required by a publisher to effect publication on these terms.
- 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.
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.
The Gates Foundation has an endowment of $42.3 billion and as of September 2014 had awarded a total of $31.6 billion in grants.
In 2012 and 2013, it funded more than 2800 research articles in and of those 30% were published in open access journals.