Knowledge is Power: Sharing Information Can Accelerate Global Health Impact

Trevor Mundel | Impatient Optimists | November 20, 2014

...Given the Gates Foundation’s focus on improving health for the world’s poorest people, we put a high priority not only on the research necessary to deliver the next important drug or vaccine, but also on the collection and sharing of data so other scientists and health experts can benefit from this knowledge.  For example, we have been a longtime funder of the Institute for Health Metrics & Evaluation (IHME), which generates high-quality, up-to-date information on dozens of diseases worldwide, by country, age, and gender. This data equips government policymakers and others with crucial information that helps ensure health systems are aligned with evolving patterns of disease.

We also believe strongly in the value of post-market safety surveillance to ensure that new drugs and vaccines are safe and effective. By collecting data on new health solutions once they hit the market, doctors and public health officials can better understand the real-world benefits and risks.

But there is more we can and should do – particularly when it comes to sharing the research the foundation funds. That is why we are adopting an Open Access (OA) policy to enable the unrestricted access and reuse of all peer-reviewed published research funded by the foundation, including any underlying data sets. This change will take place over a two-year period, and effective January 1, 2017, will require that all publications resulting from foundation funding, and all data underlying the published research, be available immediately upon publication...