They Pledged to Donate Rights to Their COVID Vaccine, Then Sold Them to Pharma – Kaiser Health News

“Oxford University surprised and pleased advocates of overhauling the vaccine business in April by promising to donate the rights to its promising coronavirus vaccine to any drugmaker.

The idea was to provide medicines preventing or treating COVID-19 at a low cost or free of charge, the British university said. That made sense to people seeking change. The coronavirus was raging. Many agreed that traditional vaccine development, characterized by long lead times, manufacturing monopolies and weak investment, was broken….

A few weeks later, Oxford—urged on by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—reversed course. It signed an exclusive vaccine deal with AstraZeneca that gave the pharmaceutical giant sole rights and no guarantee of low prices—with the less-publicized potential for Oxford to eventually make millions from the deal and win plenty of prestige….”

Landesgeschichtliche Monographien in Deutschland 2019/2020: so gut wie kein Open Access – Archivalia

From Google’s English:  “Open Access (OA) is no longer just a topic in the field of journal publication. In the field of historical studies, there are almost no open access publications in Germany for monographs. The publication activity in the field of national history represents an important sub-area. Here things look very bad in terms of OA.

Using the websites of the historical commissions, regional archives, traditional regional historical associations, regional historical institutes, etc., I compiled the monographs published in 2019 or 2020 and at the same time looked for open access offers (for monographs). Only in exceptional cases have I researched the KVK or library catalogs. Corrections and additions are always welcome. A number of gaps are to be expected, especially since in many cases it was tedious to research the publications….”

White House appears to conclude review of EPA ‘secret science’ rule | TheHill

“The White House appears to have concluded its review of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that’s expected to limit the types of scientific research the agency can consider in its rulemaking process. 

The website for the White House’s Office of Management and Budget lists the rule’s review as concluded this week. 

The rule, which the agency has billed as a transparency measure, is expected to limit the EPA’s ability to consider studies that don’t make their underlying data public. 

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Critics argue that this could cause the agency to exclude important research like landmark public health studies that can’t release participants’ information. 

EPA spokesperson James Hewitt, however, declined to say whether the rule had been finalized and signed by Administrator Andrew Wheeler, saying “we have nothing to announce at this time” in an email to The Hill. 

“The American public deserve transparency and access to data that determine regulatory decisions and in a way that protects the privacy of individuals and other confidential information,” Hewitt added. …”

‘Our history is contained there’: loss of archive threatens Native American tribes | Native Americans | The Guardian

“In 1969, a clerical error resulted in the Samish Indian Nation in Washington state suddenly being dropped from the federal government’s list of recognized tribes. It took almost three decades of wading through piles of historical documents and painstaking litigation before its members were able to regain that recognition, along with the federal benefits and protections that come with it….

But the archive, which sits on a 10-acre site at the edge of Lake Washington, is under threat. It is among a dozen federal properties across the US expected to be put up for sale next year after being identified as “high value assets”, a move that could deprive the Native American community in the Pacific north-west of access to critical resources….

In a statement sent to the Guardian, the National Archives said it was committed to digitising its records in Seattle so they are available free no matter where a person is located.

Records that have not yet been digitized can be scanned and sent to people unable to visit in person at a cost of 80 cents per page, explained Susan Karren, the director of the National Archives at Seattle….”

The Failure of the US Government to Fund Science Infrastructure is Causing Things to Literally Collapse – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Overall non-defense R&D funding is only 16% of what it had been as a fraction of the US economic output in 1976. Compared to the entire economy, the NSF R&D investment as noted above is funded at a level that is just over one fifth of what it was back in 1976.  The NIH has sustained its fraction of GDP better than other agencies, but even that is less than 40% of 1976 levels. Had NSF simply been able to maintain as NIH had, it’s budget would be roughly at its 1988 level relative to GDP and would be close to double what it is now. The same could be said for nearly every other major science funding arm of the government, NOAA, DOE, USDA, NASA, or the DOT. Again using data from AAAS, the trend of investment in research and development has shrunk from over 2.25% of national GDP in 1976 to just 0.38% today. The scramble for resources impacts the science that can be done, as well as the overall investments in the scholarly and research landscape as well, which includes libraries, publishers, and scholarly societies.

It is not simply NSF that is having trouble managing the costs of infrastructure. Also this month, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that it is considering throttling back access to its data feeds, because the bandwidth demands during peak times around sever weather events are becoming overwhelming. Data access at peak times were bottlenecking its systems. Why a multibillion dollar agency cannot afford a scalable content distribution network (CDN) system to support the public’s bandwidth needs is astounding. While not trivial, the costs to support such a data network were estimated to cost in the range of $2-5 million per year; hardly unmanageable for an organization whose mission is to gather and distribute climate information. For example, a 4,000-TB/month-level service on Microsoft’s Azure CDN system would cost roughly $4 million per year – and that is quite a lot of data throughput, and of course Azure or Amazon’s AWS services can certainly scale beyond that. Today, distributing climate information is all about distributing data and to limit the agency’s ability to share data is certainly not in keeping with the direction of science or the public’s need for these resources. There is no reason to believe that data demands will diminish. As our ability to capture data increases, the ability to store data reduces in cost, and the demands from science and industry for data increase, we will need ever more robust infrastructure to create and share data….

It is worrying the focus on scientific successes this year might reinforce the notion that funding of science more broadly is functioning at an appropriate level. As evidenced by the recent science news that isn’t related to the pandemic, it obviously is not. Hopefully, those in positions of power to affect the national research funding agenda might look at the recent successes and failures and consider the value to increasing investments in basic research and reinvest in a science-based future.”

Billion-Dollar Book Companies Are Ripping Off Public Schools | The New Republic

“Over the past decade, Silicon Valley’s tech behemoths have discreetly and methodically tightened their grip on American schools, and the pandemic has given them license to squeeze even tighter. By 2017, tens of millions of students were already using Google Chromebooks and apps for reading, writing, and turning in their work. Google Classroom now has more than 100 million users worldwide—nearly seven times the number reported in The New York Times three years ago. When we emerge from the pandemic, schools will be even more reliant on such systems. Industry is bolting an adamantine layer of technology onto the world’s classrooms, in what amounts to a stealth form of privatization….

But in practice, this convenience comes at a staggering cost. Billion-dollar companies like Follett and EBSCO are renting e-books to schools each year, rather than selling them permanent copies. By locking school districts into contracts that turn them into captive consumers, corporate tech providers are draining public education budgets that don’t have a penny to spare….

So why not shop around for a better deal? She can’t. Just as you can’t use ­iPhone apps on your Android phone, a school district’s choice of software providers locks administrators into a tangled web of agreements, training, and financial and organizational investments that publishers exploit to their advantage. California requires providers to sign a privacy agreement promising not to sell student data, further limiting options, Woodcock said, because not all providers are willing to sign….

Woodcock proposes what is surely a fair deal: Schools should be able to purchase e-books outright, rather than having to rent them. “I buy it, I own it. It doesn’t go away.”

Another obvious way to relieve the pressure on schools would be to expand the use of free public resources like the Internet Archive’s Open Library, which lends e-books on traditional library terms (you can’t download books from the Open Library; you can only borrow and read them). Early in the pandemic, the Open Library made waves by creating a temporary resource, the National Emergency Library, dropping restrictions on the number of people who could access a given title simultaneously. With bookstores, libraries, and schools closed all over the world, Internet Archive staff reasoned, students needed emergency access to books.

The suit seeks to destroy the Open Library altogether. But what publishers truly want is the end of ownership. If they win, books will someday become like movies on Netflix—something that schools, and all of us, will have to keep paying for forever….”

 

Transparency in Clinical Trials: adding value to Paediatric Dental Research – Cenci – – International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  Background

Even though considered as studies with high methodological power, many RCTs in paediatric dentistry do not have essential quality items in their design, development and report, making results’ reliability questionable, replication challenging to conduct, wasting time, money and efforts, and even exposing the participants to research for no benefit.

Aim

We addressed the main topics related to transparency in clinical research, with an emphasis in paediatric dentistry.

Design

We searched for all controlled clinical trials published from January 2019 up to July 2020 in the three paediatric dentistry journals with high journal Impact Factor, indexed on Medline. These papers were assessed for transparency according to Open Science practices and regarding reporting accuracy using some items required by CONSORT.

Results

53.6% of the studies declared registration, 75% had sample size calculation, 98.2% reported randomisation, and from those, 65.4% explained the randomisation method. Besides that, no study shared their data, and 6.8% were published in open access format.

Conclusions

Unfortunately, a large proportion of RCTs in paediatric dental research show a lack of transparency and reproducibility.

Prime minister’s department says granting FOI request on taxpayer-funded research would ‘prejudice’ government | Scott Morrison | The Guardian

“Scott Morrison’s department and his political office have rejected freedom of information requests for access to taxpayer-funded research undertaken by Jim Reed, a long-term researcher for Liberal party pollster Crosby Textor.

Reed, who now runs his own agency, Resolve Strategic, was awarded a $541,750 contract by limited tender in April to undertake market research related to Covid-19 for the prime minister’s department.

 

Another contract of similar value was awarded to Reed by the Treasury on a recommendation from Morrison’s department. Officials have confirmed the market research has been shared with both the prime minister and treasurer’s offices.

Guardian Australia requested access to the market research and correspondence pertaining to it, but Morrison’s department rejected the application on a number of grounds, including that disclosure would “substantially prejudice the Australia government’s ability and capacity to effectively respond to the most critical issues facing Australia at the current time”. …”

National Weather Service faces internet bandwidth shortage, proposes access limits – The Washington Post

“Now, during a year that featured record California wildfires and the busiest Atlantic hurricane season on record, the Weather Service says it has an Internet bandwidth problem and is seeking to throttle back the amount of data its most demanding users can access. The Weather Service, which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), announced the proposed limits in a memo dated Nov. 18….

“It is not clear why the NWS is considering these harmful bandwidth restrictions given the massive scalability of content delivery network (CDN) technology, cloud infrastructure and other technology solutions that are currently available,” AccuWeather’s Porter said. “It’s truly unfortunate that the NWS apparently does not recognize that this proposal is 100 percent contrary to its mission and its obligation to the American people.” …

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee “is aware of the proposal” and monitoring its potential impacts, according to the committee’s staff. “We are looking into how these proposed restrictions could impact NOAA’s ability to ensure free and open public access to the Agency’s data and models,” a spokesperson said. …

 

National Weather Service faces internet bandwidth shortage, proposes access limits – The Washington Post

“Now, during a year that featured record California wildfires and the busiest Atlantic hurricane season on record, the Weather Service says it has an Internet bandwidth problem and is seeking to throttle back the amount of data its most demanding users can access. The Weather Service, which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), announced the proposed limits in a memo dated Nov. 18….

“It is not clear why the NWS is considering these harmful bandwidth restrictions given the massive scalability of content delivery network (CDN) technology, cloud infrastructure and other technology solutions that are currently available,” AccuWeather’s Porter said. “It’s truly unfortunate that the NWS apparently does not recognize that this proposal is 100 percent contrary to its mission and its obligation to the American people.” …

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee “is aware of the proposal” and monitoring its potential impacts, according to the committee’s staff. “We are looking into how these proposed restrictions could impact NOAA’s ability to ensure free and open public access to the Agency’s data and models,” a spokesperson said. …