Massive Research Funder, HHMI, Forces Open Access Policies

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) today announced significant changes to its publishing policy; It is now requiring researchers it funds to make their research articles freely available at the time of publication.

One of the world’s largest companies in funding medical and biological research announced on 1 October that it will be making changes to its current policies which allows a delay of up to one year before the article becomes free to read. New changes in its policy will require researchers and laboratories funded by HHMI to make their research articles freely available under a Creative Commons License as soon as it is published. This new Policy will take effect on January 1, 2022.

HHMI which is based in the U.S., spends nearly $1 billion annually on biomedical research and is the second U.S. funder to insist on immediate open access. This company supports nearly 5,000 researchers, producing around 2,500 papers a year.

The newly announced policy aligns with the principles of Plan S, which was developed by the cOAlition S organizations, a group leading the open access movement in Europe and elsewhere. Plan S takes effect in January 2021. With today’s announcement, HHMI is joining other participants in cOAlition S, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome, in the drive towards open access publishing.

Other major publications such as springer have also announced that they will join the Plan S in few years. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), doesn’t yet offer OA publishing of the kind that would satisfy HHMI and Plan S.

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