Arlen Specter, a former US senator from Pennsylvania, has died, reports the Nature News blog. He was 82. Specter was a Republican until he switched parties in 2009.

The Nature News blog notes that Specter "was a big proponent of the doubling of the [US National Institutes of Health] budget over a five-year period that ended in 2003" and that he helped secure the NIH a large portion of the 2009 economic stimulus bill.

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Hundreds of scientists have signed a letter criticizing the open-access Plan S, ScienceInsider reports.

NPR speaks with Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) about the US House of Representatives science committee.

A start-up company aiming to match cancer patients to treatments closes after about six weeks, Stat News reports.

In PLOS this week: somatic mutation associations unearthed in thousands of cancer exomes, pathogen detection assay, and more.