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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

Shape of Them All

According to BBC News, researchers have developed a protein structure database that includes much of the human proteome.

For Flu and More

The Wall Street Journal reports that several vaccine developers are working on mRNA-based vaccines for influenza.

To Boost Women

China's Ministry of Science and Technology aims to boost the number of female researchers through a new policy, reports the South China Morning Post.

Science Papers Describe Approach to Predict Chemotherapeutic Response, Role of Transcriptional Noise

In Science this week: neural network to predict chemotherapeutic response in cancer patients, and more.