Human genome data ‘should be open to all’

“A leading genomic scientist has called on people who have their DNA analysed to make the full results openly available “for the greater public good”. …While conceding that “open access to genome sequences is not for everyone”, he hoped that many people would donate their genomes openly to science once they understood the risks and benefits….”

Open access: Half the time Unpaywall users search for academic journal articles that are legally free to access — Quartz

“Now a new study has found that nearly half of all academic articles that users want to read are already freely available. These studies may or may not have been published in an open-access journal, but there is a legally free version available for a reader to download.

To arrive at this conclusion, researcher Heather Piwowar and her colleagues used data from a web-browser extension they had developed called Unpaywall. When users of the extension land on an academic article, it trawls the web to find if there are free versions to download from places such as pre-print services or those uploaded on university websites.

In an analysis of 100,000 papers queried by Unpaywall, Piwowar and her colleagues found that as many as 47% searched for studies that had a free-to-read version available. The study is yet to be peer-reviewed, but Ludo Waltman of Leiden University told Nature that it is ‘careful and extensive.'”

Development and Access to Information (DA2I)

Development and Access to Information (DA2I) is the first of a series of annual reports that will monitor the progress countries are making towards fulfilling their commitment to promote meaningful access to information as part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

DA2I will be launched annually, at the time of the United Nations High Level Political Forum (UN HLPF) and it is designed for UN member states, intergovernmental organizations, funders, civil society, other stakeholders working in development, and the library community itself. It underlines the invaluable contribution that information access, particularly through libraries, makes to promoting more socially and economically inclusive societies.

As well as updating on progress on a range of indicators of access to information, each DA2I report will have a focus on the SDGs selected for review at the HLPF in the year of publication. This includes thematic chapters on how access to information promotes the achievement of each of the selected SDGs.

The DA2I 2017 thematic chapters focus on the following goals: Zero Hunger (SDG2), Good Health and Well-being (SDG3), Gender Equality (SDG5), and Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (SDG9).”

Open Access and Education: the cases of SABER and the Open Educational Resources (OER) – Inventa International

“Multiple studies carried out by international institutions, such as the UN, identified Intellectual Property Rights as partially responsible for the existence of a difference between ‘information-rich’ and ‘information-poor’ due to the exclusion they create. Thus, an approach to the management of Intellectual Property, taking into account human development and fundamental rights, has proved to be essential.

In this context, the Open Access approach to copyright management emerged as the most appropriate model to promote education through access to information and creative content.

Under this model, intellectual works, such as educational and research materials, are made available online free of charge.”

Practicing What You Preach: Evaluating Access of Open Access Research

Abstract:  The open access movement seeks to encourage all researchers to make their works openly available and free of paywalls so more people can access their knowledge. Yet some researchers who study open access (OA) continue to publish their work in paywalled journals and fail to make it open. This project set out to study just how many published research articles about OA fall into this category, how many are being made open (whether by being published in a gold OA or hybrid journal or through open deposit), and how library and information science authors compare to other disciplines researching this field. Because of the growth of tools available to help researchers find open versions of articles, this study also sought to compare how these new tools compare to Google Scholar in their ability to disseminating OA research. From a sample collected from Web of Science of articles published since 2010, the study found that although a majority of research articles about OA are open in some form, a little more than a quarter are not. A smaller rate of library science researchers made their work open compared to non-library science researchers. In looking at the copyright of these articles published in hybrid and open journals, authors were more likely to retain copyright ownership if they printed in an open journal compared to authors in hybrid journals. Articles were more likely to be published with a Creative Commons license if published in an open journal compared to those published in hybrid journals.

Sharing by Law: Open Science Takes a Legal Approach

“‘A partnership between the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) at the University of Toronto and U of T’s Faculty of Law has yielded a new concept that could change the way scientists share research tools. Aled Edwards, who leads the SGC, is lead author of a recent paper that applies the concept of a legal trust to open research reagents ­— substances that scientists use to test biological hypotheses and give insight into potential new therapies. Under this model, the researchers who receive reagents would become ‘trustees’ obligated to treat the materials as public goods. The article is published in Science Translational Medicine….Academic researchers use public funds to create reagents to use the lab. Currently any reagent created at any University is legally the property of the institution and is shared only under contract. Although this is the status quo, many of us believe science shouldn’t belong to an institution or an individual, but to society and that our work should be viewed as a public good,’ says Edwards, who is also a professor in the Departments of Medical Biophysics and Molecular Genetics and an expert in open science drug discovery.”

Joseph Stiglitz, Knowledge as a Global Public Good (1999)

Abstract:  This chapter examines the worldwide trend toward increased privatization of both information and information and communications technologies, as well as the shrinking role of states and the effects on peoples’ access to adequate information goods and services. Publicness cannot be guaranteed unless users have low?cost access to the opportunities afforded by the new information technologies. Privatization of telecommunications carriers will not guarantee low?cost access and may actually impede it. In absolute terms, the prices of knowledge goods and services are higher in Africa than in high?income countries. In addition, even though information and communications technologies have public good attributes, they are embedded in power relationships. In particular, they are crucial for access to developing country markets, for intelligence purposes and for the transmission of ideas and ideologies. Most of all, they have the potential to widen the gap between haves and have?nots. Accordingly, the chapter calls for a renewed commitment to a public service agenda and, to that end, for increased cooperation between states on a regional basis.

Open, free access to health evidence: a new precedent for Africa | IOL

“One of the SAMRC units, Cochrane South Africa, has procured a national licence that provides ‘one-click’ access to the Cochrane Library for everyone in South Africa. This will provide fair, equal – and free – access to evidence-based Cochrane Reviews for all. It’s a chance for practitioners, policymakers and patients to get up-to-date, scientifically rigorous information about health care.

This is the first time a country in Africa has bought a national licence of this kind, though other low or middle-income countries such as India have already gone this route.”

Machine accessibility of Open Access scientific publications from publisher systems via ResourceSync

“Poster presented at OAI10, University of Geneva, 21 -23 June 2017.”


“The number of scholarly research papers being published is gradually growing; it is estimated that approximately 1.5 million of research papers are produced each year and about 4% of them are offered via Open Access journals[1]. The high volume of scientific papers introduces new opportunities for content discoverability and facilitates a growth in various scientific disciplines via text and data mining (TDM)[2]. One of the greatest barriers to TDM is caused by the difficulty of programmatically accessing open access content from a wide range of publishers[3]…”

Open Access Must-Reads for Spring 2017 – Copyright Clearance Center

“Together with the Association for Learned and Professional Publishing (ALPSP), Copyright Clearance Center is excited to introduce the inaugural post of our “Open Access Must-Reads” series – a thoughtfully curated selection of important articles from the past few months that expound upon “can’t miss” developments in the world of Open Access.”