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How It Works

How it Works

Rapid & Transparent Publishing

Gates Open Research provides all Gates-funded researchers with a place to rapidly publish any results they think are worth sharing. All articles benefit from rapid publication, transparent peer review and editorial guidance on making all source data openly available.

Our Publishing Process

For Articles


Article Submission

Submission is via a single-page submission system. The in-house editorial team carries out a comprehensive set of prepublication checks to ensure that all policies and ethical guidelines are adhered to.

Publication &
Data Deposition

Once the authors have finalised the manuscript, the article is published within a week, enabling immediate viewing and citation.

Open Peer Review
& User Commenting

Expert reviewers are selected and invited, and their reports and names are published alongside the article, together with the authors' responses and comments from registered users.

Article Revision

Authors are encouraged to publish revised versions of their article. All versions of an article are linked and independently citable. Articles that pass peer review are indexed in external databases such as PubMed, Scopus and Google Scholar.

For Posters, Slides and Documents

1 - 2 days


Submitting posters, slides and documents is easy. It only takes a couple of minutes with our single-page submission system, and there are no author fees.


Posters and slides are immediately visible on Gates Open Research to share with the wider community, documents are published after the in-house check. Publication is fully open access.


Published posters, slides and documents receive a DOI (digital object identifier) and become citable after a very basic check by our in-house editors.

For more information on the Gates Foundation’s Open Access policy, and illustrations of Gates Open Research’s publishing process, please
please see our webinar
1. Aims and Scope
  • What is Gates Open Research's scope? +

    Gates Open Research publishes scholarly articles reporting any basic scientific, translational, applied and clinical research (including quantitative and qualitative studies) that has been funded (or co-funded) by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

    Each publication must have at least one author who has been, or still is, a recipient of a Gates Foundation grant.

    Articles must be original (not duplications). All research, including clinical trials, systematic reviews, software tools, method articles, and many others, is welcome and will be published irrespective of the perceived level of interest or novelty; confirmatory and negative results, as well as null studies are all suitable. See the full list of article types we accept for more information.

    All articles are published using a fully transparent, author-driven model; the authors are solely responsible for the content of their article. Invited peer review takes place openly after publication, and the authors play a crucial role in ensuring that the article is peer-reviewed by independent experts in a timely manner. Articles that pass peer review are indexed in PubMed and elsewhere.

    In addition to scholarly articles, Gates Open Research publishes other research outputs, collectively called documents, such as end-of-grant reports or guidelines, that vary in formats and often differ from traditional scholarly publications. It also publishes posters and slides. Documents, posters and slides are not peer reviewed and do not appear in bibliographic databases such as PubMed.

    Gates Open Research is an Open Research platform: all content is published open access under a CC-BY license; the publishing and peer-review processes are fully transparent; and authors of articles are asked to include detailed descriptions of methods and to provide full and easy access to the source data underlying the results in order to improve reproducibility.

2. Publishing Model and Processes
  • Checks before publication +

    Article submissions to Gates Open Research undergo a rapid initial check undertaken by the in-house editorial team before being published with the status ‘Awaiting Peer Review’. There is no Editor (or Editor-in-Chief) to make a decision on whether to accept or reject the article, or to oversee the peer-review process. Gates Open Research has a small Advisory Board of leading experts across the fields covered by Gates research grants, who provide strategic input.

    The editorial team will ensure that the authors are eligible to publish on Gates Open Research and that articles represent scholarly communications that adhere to author guidelines and the ethical and editorial policies, including data policies. The team will also check that the article is intelligible and written in good English so that it is suitable for peer review, and that its content can be fully assessed by invited peer reviewers and readers. If a submission fails the initial checks it will be returned to the authors to address the issues, and if they are not resolved satisfactorily the article will not be accepted.

    Posters and slides are not initially checked by the editorial team and are published immediately on submission, although a DOI is not assigned until they have been checked for scope and correct metadata. Documents submitted to Gates Open Research undergo a basic screen before publication to ensure that they meet criteria and format requirements for Documents.

  • Peer review process for articles +

    Peer review of articles published in Gates Open Research takes place after publication; once the article is published, expert reviewers are formally invited to review. The peer review is administered on behalf of the authors by the editorial team, and authors are asked not to contact the reviewers directly.

    The peer review process is entirely open and transparent: each peer review report, plus the approval status selected by the reviewer, is published with the reviewer's name and affiliation alongside the article. Peer review reports are published after a quick editorial check and the peer review status of the article is updated with every published report.

    Posters, slides and documents published on Gates Open Research do not undergo any invited peer review; readers can provide comments through the Comment facility.

  • The author's role during peer review of articles +

    Authors are responsible for identifying suitable reviewers who are experts in the field and can provide unbiased reports on their article. Before publication, authors are asked to suggest at least 5 potential reviewers, who must meet our basic criteria for reviewers. Authors can suggest reviewers who they know are experts in their fields, we also provide a tool that algorithmically suggests potential reviewers who have published on the topic presented in the article. The editorial team will continue to ask authors to suggest more reviewers until at least two peer review reports have been published.

  • Reviewer criteria +

    When selecting reviewers, authors must apply the following criteria:

    1. Scientific expertise: reviewers must have demonstrated expertise in the key topics of the study presented and/or the methods used. They must have published at least three articles as a lead author in a relevant topic, with at least one article having been published in the last five years.
    2. Level of experience: reviewers must have reached a certain level of qualification (in the life sciences, usually a PhD or MD) and have a formal appointment at a recognised institution or organization.
    3. Independence: reviewers must not be working at the same institute as the authors, should not be close collaborators of the authors or in other ways personally, financially or professionally associated with them. Reviewers must declare any conflicts of interest on the published report.
  • The reviewer's role +

    Reviewers are given guidelines specific to each article type. They are generally asked to assess whether the research is scientifically sound, that is:

    • whether the work is discussed appropriately in the context of the current literature;
    • whether suitable methods have been used;
    • whether sufficient information and source data have been provided to allow others to repeat every step of the work;
    • whether the conclusions are supported by the findings.

    In addition to their written report, reviewers also select one of three statuses:

    • Approved: No or only minor changes are required. This means that the experimental design, including controls and methods, is adequate; results are presented accurately and the conclusions are justified and supported by the data.
    • Approved with Reservations: The reviewer believes the paper has academic merit, but has asked for a number of small changes to the article, or specific, sometimes more significant revisions.
    • Not Approved: The article is of very poor quality and there are fundamental flaws in the article that seriously undermine the findings and conclusions.

    The approval status is shown on the article, together with the reviewer's name and affiliation, and the detailed report supporting the status they selected.

    If an author decides to revise the article to address the reviewers' comments, all reviewers are invited to provide additional reports on the new version; reviewers are especially encouraged to re-review if they had originally given an ‘Approved with Reservations’ or ‘Not Approved’ status, as they are asked to assess whether the work has been sufficiently improved to achieve a better approval status.

    Reviewers who have been invited to assess a specific article may find these at-a-glance reviewer guidelines helpful, including an explanation of the benefits of reviewing for Gates Open Research.

  • Revisions and updates of articles +

    We strongly encourage authors to address the reviewers' criticisms by publishing revised versions and/or by adding author comments to the peer review reports.

    All versions of an article are publicly available and can be independently cited, but the latest version will be displayed as the default on Gates Open Research. A short summary of the revisions is displayed at the start of each new version.

    All articles are ‘living’, even after peer review is complete: authors can publish an updated version of their articles at any time if there have been small developments relevant to the findings.

  • Peer review status and indexing +

    The peer review status of an article is clearly indicated at all stages:

    • Immediately on publication, and until the first peer review report is published, the article is labelled AWAITING PEER REVIEW - as part of the article title and in the Open Peer Review summary box on both the article HTML and PDF.
    • As soon as a peer review report is published alongside the article, the current approval status is displayed. As additional reports are received, the approval status is updated.
    • Once an article receives two ‘Approved’ statuses, or two ‘Approved with Reservations’ statuses and one ‘Approved’ status, it will be indexed in various bibliographic databases.
3. Licenses
  • The licenses that apply to articles and other research outputs data and peer review reports +

    Gates Open Research articles and other types of content (posters, slides and documents) are published under a CC BY license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and leaves the copyright of the article with the current copyright holder (usually the author or their institution). As the specific version of the CC BY license applied to specific content may change due to periodic updates, the license is shown below the article abstract or the document preview.

    Data associated with Gates Open Research articles are made available, where possible, under the terms of a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0 license). This facilitates and encourages data re-use and helps prevent the problems of attribution stacking when combining multiple datasets each authored by multiple authors that use multiple different licenses.

    Peer review reports that are published with a given article are available under the CC BY license.

4. Indexing
  • When and where articles are indexed +

    All articles will appear in Google Scholar.

    Once an article has passed peer review (i.e. it has received at least two ‘Approved’ statuses, or one ‘Approved’ and two ‘Approved with Reservations’ statuses from independent and invited peer reviewers) it will be indexed in PubMed, PubMed Central, Europe PMC, Scopus, British Library, CrossRef, DOAJ and Embase. If an article is indexed, all versions, along with the peer review reports, are deposited.

5. Citing Publications, Datasets and Peer Review Reports
  • Citing an article +

    Articles in Gates Open Research can be updated and amended at any time post publication, but each version is independently citable with its own DOI (digital object identifier). The most recent version is displayed as the default. The citation can be found by clicking the Cite button on the article page.

    Every article is indexed by the CrossMark Identification Service™, which summarizes the history of an article and any linked publications. Clicking on the CrossMark logo in the HTML or PDF of the article provides up-to-date information on the latest article version, as well as new peer review reports and any associated articles (which will be linked [threaded] together).

    Standard citation approaches are insufficient for Gates Open Research articles because:

    • The reviewer status of an article will change after publication
    • An article may have multiple versions following revision or update by the authors

    After discussion with major indexing services and others, the traditional system of citation has been adapted to include an indication of the reviewer status and the version of an article.

    This citation includes two additional elements, placed in square brackets, immediately after the article title (to avoid them being accidentally removed on copying):

    1. Article version number, for example version 1 for the first version, and version 2 for the next version, and so on.
    2. Details of the peer review status, i.e. number of reviews that are ‘Approved’, ‘Approved with Reservations’, or ‘Not Approved’. The status will be ‘Awaiting Peer Review’ before the reviews are published.

    An article should be cited like this:

    Authors. Article title [version number; details of peer review status]. Gates Open Res Year, Volume: Publication number (doi)

  • Citing posters, slides and documents +

    Posters, slides and documents have a permanent DOI (digital object identifier). The full citation can be found by clicking the Cite button.

    Posters, slides and documents should be cited like this:

    Authors. Poster title. Gates Open Res Year, Volume: Publication number (poster) (doi)

    Authors. Slides title. Gates Open Res Year, Volume: Publication number (slides) (doi)

    Authors. Document title. Gates Open Res Year, Volume: Publication number (document) (doi)

  • Citing a dataset +

    Source datasets associated with Gates Open Research articles are deposited in repositories that meet certain criteria. Articles include a "Data Availability" section outlining where the source data can be found, including the permanent identifier the dataset(s) have been assigned by the repository and a reference with details of how to cite the dataset(s).

  • Citing a peer review report +

    Peer review reports on Gates Open Research articles are published under a CC BY license. A DOI is assigned to every peer review report, so it can be cited independently from the article. The full citation can be found by clicking the Cite button next to each peer review report on the article page.

    A peer review report should be cited like this:

    Reviewer name(s). Peer Review Report For: Article title [version number; details of peer review status]. Gates Open Res Year, Volume: Publication number (review doi)

6. Posting a Comment
  • How to comment +

    We encourage constructive debate on all research outputs published in Gates Open Research.

    To submit a comment about the article in general, either click the link to ‘Add a comment’ in the side bar or go to the end of the article page and click ‘Comment’. To comment on a particular reviewer report, click the link to read the report in the table in the side bar and then click ‘Respond’. You will be prompted to login to/register an account before you can comment. Comments are automatically labelled with your role, be it author, reviewer or reader.

    Similarly, to comment on a poster, slides or document, go to the bottom of the page of the specific research output you want to comment on and click 'Add your comment'.

    When you're ready to submit your Comment, please ensure you've accepted the Terms and Conditions and then click ‘post’.

Are you a Gates-funded researcher?

If you are a previous or current Gates grant holder, sign up for information about developments, publishing and publications from Gates Open Research.

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