E.P.A.’s Final Deregulatory Rush Runs Into Open Staff Resistance

“As President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency rushes to complete its regulatory rollbacks, agency staff, emboldened by the Biden victory, moves to stand in the way….

Thomas Sinks directed the E.P.A.’s science advisory office and later managed the agency’s rules and data around research that involved people. Before his retirement in September, he decided to issue a blistering official opinion that the pending rule — which would require the agency to ignore or downgrade any medical research that does not expose its raw data — will compromise American public health….”

Silencing Science Tracker | Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

“The Silencing Science Tracker is a joint initiative of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund. It tracks government attempts to restrict or prohibit scientific research, education or discussion, or the publication or use of scientific information, since the November 2016 election. Read more about the tracker and related resources….”

Universities should commit to opening up their research to everyone (opinion)

“Since the novel coronavirus struck, scientific research has been shared, and built upon, at an unprecedented pace. An open and deeply collaborative academic enterprise has emerged, with scientists from around the world sharing data and working together to map the SARS-CoV-2 genome and develop the first vaccines.

During normal times — when we’re not in a pandemic — much of the taxpayer-funded research that universities conduct is locked away by publishers, out of reach for all but those who can afford costly subscriptions. This year, given the dire need to fight a deadly disease, publishers temporarily lifted the paywalls that normally shut out this important knowledge from public view….

The COVID-19 crisis inspired a global collaboration that has led to a scientific renaissance — and we must not revert to our old ways. Imagine the progress that could be made if the international research community worked together to develop treatments for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Climate change, educational equity and racial justice could all be studied through a more expansive and inclusive lens.

Years from now, we will look back at this pandemic as a historic time of incredible challenges, disruption and anguish. But I hope we will also remember it as an inflection point — the end of restricting knowledge to a privileged few and the dawn of a new era in scientific progress.”

Covid-19 data is a public good. The US government must start treating it like one. | MIT Technology Review

“Earlier this week as a pandemic raged across the United States, residents were cut off from the only publicly available source of aggregated data on the nation’s intensive care and hospital bed capacity. When the Trump administration stripped the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of control over coronavirus data, it also took that information away from the public….”

Will Trump White House tear down journal paywalls? Many anxiously await a decision | Science | AAAS

“Scientific publishers, universities, librarians, and open-access (OA) advocates are waiting anxiously to see whether the Trump administration will end a long-standing policy and require that every scholarly article produced with U.S. funding be made immediately free to all.

Such a mandate has long been fiercely opposed by some publishers and scientific societies that depend on subscription revenues from journals. But critics of paywalls argue they are expensive and outmoded, and that tearing them down is the best way to advance scientific research.

On 6 May, the deadline passed on a request from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) for public comments on ways to expand public access to the fruits of federally funded research, including published papers, data, and computer codes. In February, OSTP also asked for input on the benefits and challenges of making the roughly 220,000 papers produced annually by U.S.-funded researchers immediately free on publication, and on “effective approaches” to making that happen….”

Trump Administration Would ‘Eviscerate’ Copyright, Say Industry Players

““The Trump Administration should not permit the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to eviscerate the key constitutional and economic function of copyright law by forcing US intellectual property owners to give away their copyrighted works for free to China and the rest of the world.”

Rumored 2020 White House Open Access Policy – SPARC

“In December of 2019, rumors surfaced that the White House might be considering a new national, zero-embargo open access policy. SPARC strongly endorses updating current US policy and eliminating the unnecessary 12-month waiting period for the public to gain access to the outputs of scientific research, including data, articles, and the supporting computer code. We will continue to closely monitor this development and urge the administration to take action to bring the US in line with the emerging global consensus around zero-embargo policies.

SPARC has submitted a letter to the administration supporting a strong open access policy for US federally funded research, and many other stakeholder groups—from students to scientists, patients advocates to publishers—have expressed their support. You can find links to letters from these groups below.

We’ve also seen robust conversation around the potential policy on Twitter at the hashtag #OAintheUSA….”

U.S. researchers must share results to quickly combat coronavirus – Washington Times

“There’s an easy way to combat the coronavirus and speed up medical discoveries. What are we waiting for?

When COVID-19 was first reported late last year, the very first thing scientists did was to rush to make any and all information on the emerging disease quickly and openly available. Researchers in China — not generally known for its openness — released the genetic sequence of the virus, posting it in GenBank, an open access database hosted by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), so that any scientist, anywhere in the world, could get to work on understanding the disease and start innovating toward a vaccine. 

Overnight, researchers began sharing scientific data, articles and code related to the virus, as well as the results of experiments they conducted through open, online platforms….

This incredible progress is made possible by one simple thing: Scientists sharing the results of their research openly, without delay. 

This should be the norm for all scientific research — but it isn’t. …

Why are the results of critical scientific experiments funded by taxpayers kept locked behind glass that can only be broken in the case of a health emergency? Why aren’t the lives of patients facing cancer, diabetes, dementia — or any other life threatening condition — treated with the same urgency? …

With the stroke of pen, President Trump could unlock the results of this work, and require that the scientific articles and data resulting from taxpayer-funded research be immediately and openly shared online.”


Global Officials Call for Free Access to Covid-19 Research | WIRED

“Government science advisers from the US and 11 other countries Friday called on scientific publishers to make all research related to the coronavirus and Covid-19 more freely available.

In an open letter, the advisers, including White House Office of Science and Technology Policy director Kelvin Droegemeier, asked the publishers to make data available through PubMed Central, a free archive of medical and life science research, or through other sources such as the World Health Organization’s Covid database.

The other countries whose officials signed the letter are: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and the UK….”