May 26, 2022

Open Access: Ford Foundation Will Now Require All Funded Projects to Use Creative Commons (CC-BY) Licensing

From the Ford Foundation:

The Ford Foundation announced today that it is adopting an open licensing policy for all grant-funded projects and research to promote greater transparency and accessibility of materials. Effective February 1, grantees and consultants will be required to make foundation-funded materials subject to a Creative Commons license [CC-BY 2014] allowing others, free of charge and without requesting permission, the ability to copy, redistribute, and adapt existing materials, provided they give appropriate credit to the original author.


The Ford Foundation plans to use the most recent Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), the most open license offered by Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization and Ford Foundation grantee dedicated to facilitating the sharing and use of materials through simple, standardized open licenses. For more information about the organization, visit their website.

Beginning February 1, project grants from the foundation will include a requirement that the grantee widely disseminate all copyrightable products funded by the grant—including white papers, research reports, and websites—and license them under the CC BY 4.0 license. In certain situations, such as when the expected product contains sensitive or confidential material, the Creative Commons license will not be a requirement. Additionally, the change will apply to all materials not subject to third-party ownership on the Ford Foundation’s website.

Read the Complete Announcement

In November 2014, we posted about the Gates Foundation announcing that by 2017 all funded projects publish in open access journals.

One month earlier (September 2014) the Hewlett Foundation announced that those who receive Hewlet project-based grants publish their final materials using a Creative Commons license.

Some Additional Comments From Timothy Vollmer at Creative Commons

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.