In keeping with its core values of transparency and scientific collaboration to accelerate the development of new treatments, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) is adopting a formal policy requiring that all articles resulting from work it has funded be published in a preprint repository then an open access forum.

“Free and immediate access to novel findings allows scientists to build on others’ work without undue burden or delay,” said MJFF CEO Todd Sherer, PhD. “This is not only aligned with our mission to eliminate roadblocks that slow scientific progress, but also is our obligation to our donors, mostly Parkinson’s patients and families, who contribute the capital that drives critical research forward.”

Open access publishing has been an important trend in scientific research over the past two decades. The open access journal Public Library of Science (PLOS) was founded in 2000, the same year as MJFF. Preprint repository bioRxiv, hosted by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, launched in 2013 to speed sharing of results from studies in the biological sciences while papers undergo peer review; medRxiv for medical and clinical science followed in 2019. And more research funders such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are requiring grantees to publish findings from funded work with immediate access rights.

The change in its publication policy is the latest expression of MJFF’s commitment to collaboration, transparency and patient benefit throughout its short history. The Foundation has established multiple pre-competitive consortia for data-sharing and scientific problem-solving; convenes awardees leading its portfolio of 770 active grants for regular assessment meetings and workshops to discuss progress, challenges and strategies to advance fieldwide goals; makes data from its sponsored studies — such as the landmark Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (ppmi-info.org) and the online Fox Insight study (foxden.michaeljfox.org) — available to qualified researchers; and invests in the creation and efficient distribution of more than 100 laboratory tools to speed discovery and validation.

The Foundation will cover the cost of open access publication, including the publication of articles resulting from past MJFF research grants. Researchers who initiate a grant contract under the new policy will be required to comply with the policy to remain eligible for future MJFF funding.

“Until now, published work from the medical research community has been held behind a paywall, unavailable except for a substantial fee, to any individual not associated with an academic institution or hospital,” said Nobel Laureate Randy Schekman, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. “With this new open access policy, Parkinson’s disease families will now have access to the cutting-edge knowledge generated from research labs and clinics that are supported by funds from The Michael J. Fox Foundation. I am so pleased that the patient advocacy community has pushed for this change, and as a result, we may soon see this open access policy applied by the federal government to all publicly funded research.”

MJFF typically accepts funding proposals in spring and fall through multiple requests for applications (RFAs). Later this week we’ll launch four RFAs focused on target advancement, therapeutic development, biomarker identification and validation, and environmental risk factors of Parkinson’s disease. Visit michaeljfox.org/funding for information on our funding programs.

As the world’s largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson’s disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson’s patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers. In addition to funding more than $900 million in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. Operating at the hub of worldwide Parkinson’s research, the Foundation forges groundbreaking collaborations with industry leaders, academic scientists and government research funders; increases the flow of participants into Parkinson’s disease clinical trials with its online tool, Fox Trial Finder; promotes Parkinson’s awareness through high-profile advocacy, events and outreach; and coordinates the grassroots involvement of thousands of Team Fox members around the world.

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