Wellcome and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation join the Open Access coalition

To ensure that research findings are shared widely and are made freely available at the time of publication, Wellcome and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have today (Monday) joined cOAlition S and endorsed the principles of Plan S.   

Initiated by the European Commission and Science Europe, cOAlition S partners are committed to ensuring that all research outputs supported by their funding are available through open access. 

In parallel with this announcement, Wellcome has also published details of its new open access policy, which will come into effect on 1 January 2020.   

This will require all research articles that arise from Wellcome funding to be made freely available at the time of publication. Embargoes will no longer be permitted and funding for open access article processing charges in subscription journals (known as “hybrid OA”) will no longer be supported.   

Jeremy Farrar, Director of Wellcome, said: “Support for unrestricted access to the published outputs of research is a fundamental part of Wellcome’s mission to improve health for all. Our new open access policy will ensure that research can be accessed, reused and built upon by researchers from all over the world. We share this ambition with others and together we can move towards a world where no research is behind a paywall, to ensure that it can benefit as many people as possible.” 

Launched in September 2018, cOAlition S is built around the principles of Plan S. Among the existing partners are UK Research and Innovation and the European Research Council. 

The Gates Foundation will also update their Open Access policy – which is already broadly in line with the principles of Plan S – over the next 12 months. 

Trevor Mundel, President of Global Health at the foundation said: “We are excited to announce our support for the principles of Plan S. We believe that free, immediate and unrestricted access to research is essential to accelerating innovation, helping to reduce global inequality and empowering the world’s poorest to transform their own lives.”

The move comes as the publishing landscape continues to change, with new publishing models, increased use of preprints and changes in other funders open access approaches. At the same time, the cost of delivering open access has increased significantly.  

Wellcome and Gates have played a key role in the drive towards ensuring that research is openly accessible. Both organisations have launched their own publishing platforms (Wellcome Open Research and Gates Open Research) to enable their grantees to rapidly share and publish their results.  

Robert-Jan Smits, Open Access Envoy, European Commission, said: “With today’s decision to join cOAlition S, the Wellcome Trust and the Gates Foundation reconfirm their leadership and pioneering role on Open Access and as such make an important contribution to the objective of Plan S to accelerate the transition to full and immediate Open Access to scientific publications. Today is therefore a great day for European and global science”.

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