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The Other Side

The Research Works Act, a bill currently being considered by the US Congress, has been roundly disparaged by the research community as an attempt by publishers to make more money by restricting the public's access to research. In the Guardian last week, University of Bristol researcher Mike Taylor said academic publishers have become "the enemies of science," and that the RWA "amounts to a declaration of war by the publishers" against the research community.

Some publishers are taking exception to these claims. Graham Taylor, director of academic, educational, and professional publishing at the UK Publishers Association, says in the Guardian this week that calling publishers the enemies of science is "offensive and wrong." Publishers aren't anti-science or anti-publication, but in reality have made research available to more readers for less money, Taylor says. "Public funds have not paid for the peer-reviewed articles that are based on research supported by agencies such as the National Institutes of Health. They have only paid for the research itself and whatever reports the researchers are required to submit to the agency," he says. "The journal article based on the research has been the subject of significant extra investment that must somehow be recovered if scholarly communication as we know it is to survive."

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.