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Open Access: What Does It All Mean?


Open access: The pure form of open access is considered research that's made freely available for reuse in any way another scientist might dream up. In general, as long as the original author is credited for what's his, any other scientist can add to the work with no strings attached.

Public access: By contrast, public access usually describes repositories like PubMed Central, where papers may be made available but can still be subject to various copyright barriers, or may not contain the full article content. Public access can also mean papers are available in locked formats like PDF, preventing them from being mined or analyzed.

Key players: Among open access publishers, some of the largest or best known are BioMed Central (just acquired by Springer), Hindawi, Medknow, and the Public Library of Science. Central organizations in the space include SPARC, an advocacy group for public access, and Creative Commons, which provides access-friendly licensing options for publishers. The Open Access Scholarly Publishing Association is a newly formed group to lobby for full open access.

The Scan

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

TB Resistance Insights Gleaned From Genome Sequence, Antimicrobial Response Assays

Researchers in PLOS Biology explore M. tuberculosis resistance with a combination of sequencing and assays looking at the minimum inhibitory concentrations of 13 drugs.

Mendelian Disease Genes Prioritized Using Tissue-Specific Expression Clues

Mendelian gene candidates could be flagged for further functional analyses based on tissue-specific transcriptome and proteome profiles, a new Journal of Human Genetics paper says.

Single-Cell Sequencing Points to Embryo Mosaicism

Mosaicism may affect preimplantation genetic tests for aneuploidy, a single-cell sequencing-based analysis of almost three dozen embryos in PLOS Genetics finds.