On Monday 5 November, Wellcome and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – two of the largest charitable foundations in the world – announce today that they endorse the principles of Plan S and are joining cOALition S. They join a group of 13 national research funders from across Europe, the European Commission, and the European Research Council to implement a plan that will make full and immediate Open Access to research publications a reality as of 2020.
With a budget of approximately €1 billion per year, the UK-based Wellcome funds biomedical and health-related scientific research, supporting over 14,000 researchers in 70 countries. Wellcome has been a pioneer in supporting Open Access to research results and was the first research funder to introduce a mandatory Open Access policy back in 2005.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, based in Seattle, US, supports scientific research on the grand challenges in health and development. In 2017, the Foundation reported grant funding of around €1.2 billion. It has also taken decisive steps to expand access to high-quality scientific publishing: since January 2017, open access publishing is a mandatory element of every grant given by the Gates Foundation, across all programme areas.
With the addition of these two new members, cOAlition S expands to the US and boasts its first non-European funder, in addition to welcoming the contribution of its first non-public funders.
While the membership of cOAlition S continues to grow, work has also already started on the development of practical implementation guidance. A Task Force, co-chaired by John-Arne Røttingen, Chief Executive of the Research Council of Norway (RCN), and David Sweeney, Executive Chair of Research England (UKRI), has begun work and aims to have initial results available before the end of the year.