Publication Policy


Since 2013, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s (BMGF’s) Knowledge Integration (Ki) team has been collecting study data about healthy birth, growth and development (HBGD) from principal investigators (PIs) around the globe and aggregating the information into a single repository (Ki repository). By applying team science tools and processes, the Ki team and its collaborators use the aggregated data for secondary analyses that are designed to answer key HBGD questions. Answering HBGD questions related to maternal and newborn complications, stunting, wasting and neurocognitive development helps the Foundation to identify new investments, including interventions and solutions that will enable all children to lead healthy and productive lives.

The Foundation and its Ki team also encourage the publication of results derived from their secondary analyses. Publication in peer-reviewed journals improves the dissemination of analysis results and helps to ensure the findings have a beneficial impact on global health.

This Ki publication policy is intended to ensure the responsible and proper use of the data that the Ki team manages, consistent with the Foundation’s data-sharing agreements. The policy is based on published guidelines by major scientific and medical editorial organizations, a literature review of published work by other collaborative scientific consortia, and the specific requirements of the Foundation and the Ki initiative. This publication policy includes specific guidelines about authorship and acknowledgement to ensure inclusiveness, fairness and transparency.

Ki Publication Guidelines for Authorship and Acknowledgements:

  1. Scope: This authorship and acknowledgement policy relates to all journal publication submissions, inclusive of publicly viewable preprints, containing results that were generated using the Ki repository data.
  2. Purpose: The purpose of this policy is to ensure that all publication submissions that made use of aggregated Ki repository data meet obligations to other parties (e.g., Ki team and collaborators, the PIs who contributed study data and BMGF staff closely involved in guiding the analysis,), including principles of authorship and acknowledgement. Supporting materials related to the manuscript publication (i.e., scientific conference abstract submissions, lecture slides, posters and theses) must follow the same authorship and acknowledgement guidelines as apply to journal publications, but do not require submission to the Foundation for review.
  1. Compliance with standards: Manuscripts will be consistent with publishing standards, including standards for authorship and disclosure of conflicts of interest as specified by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) or the Council of Science Editors (CSE).
  1. Authorship criteria: Attribution in publications is primarily defined by the various contributions of the authors and informed by established publishing guidelines (see 2 and 3, above). All named authors must have had substantial participation in one or more of the following efforts:, analysis design, data analysis, interpretation of results and/or writing the paper. The expectation is that the lead author) and co-authors will discuss attribution and authorship at an early decision point.
  1. Lead author responsibilities: Manuscripts covered by the Ki Publication Policy will usually have secondary analysis or modeling methodology as their primary focus. In this context, the lead author designation is reserved for the individual who has played the major role to formulate the scientific content of the paper and guide the analyses, interpretation, preparation and submission of the manuscript. The lead author is responsible for identifying co-authors based on authorship roles and criteria above and securing their agreement to participate in manuscript preparation. For the manuscript preparation, and towards the goal of ensuring the most accurate interpretation of analysis findings, BMGF and its Ki team members encourage the lead author to invite each PI whose study data was used in the analysis to participate in the manuscript writing process. PIs may also be requested to recommend additional members of their study team to participate in manuscript writing (as co-authors) or to be listed in the Group Author name. Special care should be taken to include investigators located at institutions in LMICs that led the original study implementation. The lead author is expected to work out the terms of collaboration with co-authors and contributing PIs regarding the opportunity to contribute to editing, interpretation, and final approval of the final manuscript and for data-contributing PIs and their managers being listed in the Group Author name (see 7, below).
  1. Co-author responsibilities: The supporting co-authors include those individuals who provided significant support to the secondary analysis in terms of performing analyses, interpreting the results and editing the content.
  1. Group author: A Group Author name should be used in the byline of all manuscripts containing results that were generated using the Ki repository data and include the names of PIs whose data were used in the manuscript analysis. The lead author should designate a Group Author name: we suggest using “Members of the Ki Community.” The Group Author should include all PIs who contributed data for the work and agreed to have their name included. Data managers and other study team members who were directly involved with data transfer to the Ki repository may also be included in the Group Author if they have agreed to have their names included. A complete Group Author listing of all names obtained from all the PIs, affiliations and funding sources should be included in the article text, such as in supplementary information. Use of a Group Author has the significant benefit of attribution for PIs who contributed data: any individual name included in the Group Author listing for a publication will retrieve the citation in MEDLINE and PubMed. Additional information is available at ICMJE and the National Library of Medicine (overview of authorship).The Ki Communication Lead will ensure all PIs whose data were used in the published analysis have received a copy of the manuscript to be submitted to the journal. The Ki Communication Lead will also request the PIs grant permission for their names to be included in the Group Author section. Additionally, PIs will be asked to provide the names of additional colleagues from the primary study team who should be included in the group author name and to provide information about affiliations and funding support. An example of the use of a Group Author name can be found here.
  1. Manuscript preparation and submission: Under the leadership of the lead author, manuscript preparation should take place via a series of team-based discussions, revisions and reviews until the manuscript is acceptable to all co-authors. Manuscripts must be provided to the Ki Communication Lead at least 20 business days prior to journal submission. The manuscript sent to the Ki Communication Lead should be the final draft that all co-authors have had the chance to review.
  1. Ki data scientists and consultants: In general, Ki scientists and consultants may not apply consulting fees towards manuscript preparation unless there is an explicit BMGF request to do so. The funded preparation of manuscripts will be defined by a strategic requirement for the paper, based on a request from either a BMGF Program Strategy Team or from Ki’s Quantitative Sciences team.
  1. Preprint server: In order to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery, authors are required to upload all manuscripts reporting work supported by the Foundation to a preprint server such as bioRxiv or arXiv prior to, or concurrent with, submission to a journal.
  1. Acknowledgements: All manuscripts that make use of the Ki repository will include an acknowledgement of funding support with the following statement: “This study was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The article contents are the sole responsibility of the authors and may not necessarily represent the official views of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation or other agencies that may have supported the primary data studies used in the present study.”The acknowledgement section will also include the phrase: “The authors wish to recognize the principal investigators and their study team members (see “Group Author” listing) for their generous contribution of the data that made this report possible and the members of the Ki team who directly or indirectly contributed to the study.”
  1. Author institutional affiliation: Authors should identify their primary institution according to their educational or employer setting. Authors should not use the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as their affiliation unless employed there.
  1. Open access: Consistent with the Foundation’s Open Access policy that applies to all Foundation agreements signed after January 1, 2015, the publication of any and all peer-reviewed results that make use of the Ki repository must be: (1) published Open Access so that the results are freely accessible online without a paywall or embargo period and (2) permit all users of the publication to copy, redistribute or build upon the material in any medium or format.  Full text of the Foundation’s Open Access policy can be found here.
  1. Chronos: The lead author should use the Foundation’s Open Access publishing service, Chronos, which helps researchers identify Open Access journals and pays the costs associated with Open Access publications.
  1. Reporting: Upon publication, the lead author should submit a copy of the final paper to the Ki Communication Lead. The published papers will be posted to the Ki website to facilitate broad distribution across the HBGD community.
  1. Contact: To meet the requirements of the Ki Publication Policy or for any questions, please contact the Ki Communication Lead.


Download the Ki publication policy.