Gates Foundation open access policy

In alignment with Plan S, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation open access policy requires all peer-reviewed research and underlying data sets, funded in whole or in part by the foundation, to be: 

  • made freely available at the time of publication, with unrestricted access and reuse
  • openly licenced under a CC BY licence

The policy applies to all funded research consisting of manuscript submissions and data deposits made from 1 January 2021.

It does not apply to:

  • review articles
  • other works of synthesis or opinion/analysis where grantees are invited to contribute on a specific topic
  • monographs or book chapters

How do I comply?

You must make your work open access via publishing open access in a journal or publishing platform or self-archiving a version of the work (green open access). 

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 findings 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.

Publishing open access in a journal or publishing platform (gold open access)

Check the publishing open access information page to find out if you are eligible to publish OA in a journal or publishing platform (gold OA), and to make an application for funding.

If the chosen journal is not part of an institutional publisher agreement, the foundation shall pay reasonable fees required by a publisher or repository to effect immediate, open access. This includes article processing charges (APCs) and other publisher fees.

  • For special issues and supplements, only the APCs are covered by the foundation.
  • Effective as of 1 January 2021, the Foundation shall only pay these fees for articles publishing in fully Open Access journals.

Self-archiving (green open access)

Publish in a subscription journal and take responsibility for self-archiving the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM), including making this version freely available from Europe PMC or another openly accessible repository, at the time of publication under a CC BY licence.

More information

Further guidance on the policy and achieving compliance is available on our Plan S funder policies page.


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