The expansion of open access is not only being advanced by authors and readers, major research funding agencies are also playing a large role in the growth of open access publications. Recently, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute made a major announcement that will influence where scientists submit their research for publication and how academic journals handle accepted manuscripts.
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is the second largest medical research foundation in the world and in 2019 supported more than 4000 scientists with over $750 million US dollars. Following in the footsteps of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute announced a new open access to publications policy that will require all research output funded by the Institute to publish in journals that make research articles freely available on the publication date under a Creative Commons Attribution License. The new policy was designed based on the requirements of Plan S.
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s new requirements will take effect on January 1, 2022 and the Institute has noted that it will not pay open access fees in ‘hybrid’ journals that provide open access to paying authors while charging for access to other content. As with Plan S, this has increase pressure on journals and publishers to increase their open access content.
Given the size of the endowment of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the volume of research it funds, all academic publishers must be aware of the new policy to avoid missing out on publishing potentially groundbreaking research.
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