A Paradigm Shift in Scholarly Publishing?

A Paradigm Shift in Scholarly Publishing?

Author: ChemistryViews

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced a new policy requiring grant recipients to share their research as preprints, and eliminating support for article-processing charges (APCs) in favor of promoting open access (OA). A preprint is a version of a scientific manuscript that is publicly shared in a preprint archive prior to formal peer review and publication in a scientific journal. An example is ChemRxiv, which is jointly owned and managed by the American Chemical Society (ACS), the Chinese Chemical Society (CCS), the Chemical Society of Japan (CSJ), the German Chemical Society (GDCh), and the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). APSs are fees charged by some journal publishers to make scientific articles freely available online to all readers, a system known as OA.

The move by the Gates Foundation, effective from January 1, 2025, underscores the foundation’s commitment to immediate access and global reuse of research results while reducing spending on APCs. While this decision differs from some existing OA initiatives, such as the cOAlition S, it aligns with the foundation’s goal of advancing equitable access to scientific knowledge by encouraging the sharing of preprints and exploring alternative OA models. The cOAlition S is a group of mostly European research funders and organizations that support OA academic publishing, and has endorsed the group’s Plan S, by which funders mandate that grant holders publish their work through an OA route.

The impact of the Gates Foundation’s policy shift is multifaceted, with potential implications for both publishing practices and access to scholarly information. While the mandate to share research as preprints may increase accessibility, concerns linger about potential disparities between a preprint and the final published version, known as the version of record, as well as the sustainability of alternative OA models. Despite the uncertainties, the foundation’s decision signals a significant departure from traditional publishing norms and underscores the evolving landscape of scholarly communication.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the world’s largest funders of biomedical research, with a budget of US$8.6 billion in 2024. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and F1000 are launching a new verified preprint service called VeriXiv which will set new standards for preprint checking. As part of Taylor & Francis, F1000 publishes several open research platforms, collaborating with partners including the Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and the European Commission.



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