Plan S, an initiative spearheaded by the EU aims to give free access to all research publications funded by public agencies in open access journals from 2021. World Health Organisation is backing this initiative and all health research funded by the World Health Organisation will be free to read online.
The announcement makes WHO the first of the United Nations agencies to join the growing coalition of research funders and charitable foundations implementing
WHO has a long history of making health information and evidence widely accessible.
In 2002 it has launched the Hinari Access to Research for Health Programme, which today provides access to 15,000 medical journals for health workers and researchers in 120 countries. In 2014, WHO introduced a new policy on open access to ensure that journal articles and book chapters authored or co-authored by WHO staff members or produced by researchers funded by WHO were freely available in Europe PubMed Central.
In addition, a WHO research and training programme in tropical diseases already has its own publishing platform, called TDR Gateway.
The open access to science literature has been one of the many challenges facing health researchers in Africa and a barrier to achieving universal access to health information. With WHO joining Plan S, this situation will improve significantly.