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A Beef with Publishers

At The Crux blog, Mike Taylor — a dinosaur paleobiologist at the University of Bristol in the UK — says that academic publishing is "in a horrible mess," and that authors and publishers have increasingly antagonistic relationships. The Cost of Knowledge boycott — the refusal of more than 6,000 researchers to write, edit, or review articles for Elsevier because of the publisher's support for the Research Works Act — illustrates this new tense relationship, Taylor says.

While issues like RWA were the "immediate triggers" of the anger, they aren't the real cause. "Now there are no technical barriers to access, the only way publishers can charge for it is by making barriers: paywalls. So we have a huge and tragic disconnect: what publishers want — barriers — is the exact opposite of what authors want — universal access. It’s authors vs. publishers," he adds.

The Scan

Renewed Gain-of-Function Worries

The New York Times writes that the pandemic is renewing concerns about gain-of-function research.

Who's Getting the Patents?

A trio of researchers has analyzed gender trends in biomedical patents issued between 1976 and 2010 in the US, New Scientist reports.

Other Uses

CBS Sunday Morning looks at how mRNA vaccine technology could be applied beyond SARS-CoV-2.

PLOS Papers Present Analysis of Cervicovaginal Microbiome, Glycosylation in Model Archaea, More

In PLOS this week: functional potential of the cervicovaginal microbiome, glycosylation patterns in model archaea, and more.