Gates Foundation Announces Open Access Policy

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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is requiring all research it supports to be published in open access outlets.

When colleges and universities do research, the studies typically appear in journals. Most of these publications charge readers for access.

But that’s starting to change.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which funds research nationwide, recently announced a new open access policy. Under the policy, all research the Foundation supports must be available to the public free of charge. That usually means published in open access journals.

The Gates Foundation has also promised to cover publication costs if journals are open access.

“Those costs can be significant,” says Robert Buhrman, who oversees research at Cornell University. “And the fact that they’re willing to cover that basically removes any objection I would have from this mandate.”

Buhrman says many faculty members actually prefer to publish open access. But with the fees, not everyone can. He says the Gates announcement lets research do its real work.

“It’s basically you’re donating that information to the world, and how the world chooses to use it is up to them,” he says.

The policy affects all new grants after January 2015.

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