About WHO

WHO open-access policy: frequently asked questions for recipients of WHO funding


  • What is open access?
  • Why does WHO have a policy on open access?

What is open access?

Open access is the name given to the process of providing free online access to and unrestricted reuse of digital content. In the case of research, open access typically means providing online, free availability to research papers without restrictions on use, which are commonly imposed by publisher copyright agreements. Open-access publishing describes the publication of a peer-reviewed article on the internet without any requirement for readers to pay a fee to read it, i.e. free access. In addition, the right to reuse the article is subject to a special type of open licence (usually a Creative Commons licence) that grants the reader the right to reuse all or parts of it without having to seek additional permission, subject to appropriate attribution of the original source.

Why does WHO have a policy on open access?

WHO has introduced an open-access policy in order to improve access to information, which is a fundamental part of its mission. Open-access policies have also become increasingly common in the area of research and have been largely adopted by research funders and universities, many of whom support the work of WHO. The WHO policy is in line with those of other research funders.