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The Payment Question

The scientific community is churning out massive amounts of data and, increasingly, that data is being made publicly available. The director of the US Office of Science and Technology Policy John Holdren, for example, called in February for federal agencies to come up with a plan to publicly share research results and data from studies funded by the government.

But, as Francine Berman from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Google's Vint Cerf ask in Science: Who is going to pay for it?

“Publicly accessible data requires a stable home and someone to pay the mortgage,” Berman tells the New York Times.

In Science, she and Cerf say that partnerships among the public, private, and academic sectors are needed to maintain such databases. "Such a division of labor can provide a framework of options that distribute the burdens and benefits of stewardship and economic support," they write.

They further outline a few broad strategies that could help such partnerships become established in the US, namely to "use public-sector investment to jumpstart" stewardship by other sectors, to "create and clarify public-sector stewardship commitments for public access to research data," and to "encourage research culture change to take advantage of what works in the private sector."

The Scan

Foxtail Millet Pangenome, Graph-Based Reference Genome

Researchers in Nature Genetics described their generation of a foxtail millet pangenome, which they say can help in crop trait improvement.

Protein Length Distribution Consistent Across Species

An analysis in Genome Biology compares the lengths of proteins across more than 2,300 species, finding similar length distributions.

Novel Genetic Loci Linked to Insulin Resistance in New Study

A team reports in Nature Genetics that it used glucose challenge test data to home in on candidate genes involved in GLUT4 expression or trafficking.

RNA Editing in Octopuses Seems to Help Acclimation to Shifts in Water Temperature

A paper in Cell reports that octopuses use RNA editing to help them adjust to different water temperatures.