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Should Science Be Free for Everyone?

The Culturing Science blog's Hannah Waters says the current system of research publication is "antiquated" and "hindering" science, and that it's time to make the results of scientific studies openly available to everyone. Despite the fact that a lot of research is federally funded, much of it is only available through journals that require a paid subscription. "Why should taxpayers have to pay twice to have access to science?" Waters asks. She acknowledges that it is a complicated issue and that there are questions about how to keep up productivity and quality without the current competitive atmosphere created by journal hierarchy. "But I think the benefits outweigh the potentially negative outcomes of these questions. Science will become more efficient as scientists everywhere have greater access to results and methods," she says. "I also just like the idea of science-for-everyone as a rule; science is not for the elite, but for the world!" Waters also says she supports the efforts of Pennsylvania Congressman Mike Doyle, who has recently proposed the 2010 version of the Federal Research Public Access Act, which would require all research institutions like NIH, CDC and NSF, to require that resulting research be public within 6 months of publication. Major universities like Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers, University of Texas, and many others have already signed on in support of the bill, Waters says.

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.