cOAlition S: Monkeypox and open access: time to change the narrative

For the fourth time in less than seven years, the community of science and technology leaders have issued a statement calling on publishers to make disease-specific research open access.  In 2016 the focus was Zika; in 2018, Ebola; in 2020, COVID-19 and in 2022, it is for research relating to monkeypox. To misquote Oscar Wilde, to ask once may be regarded as a misfortune; to ask on four occasions looks like carelessness.

These calls for research to be made Open Access recognise that immediate access to research can accelerate the global response to public health emergencies. Hitherto, publishers have responded positively to these requests and made relevant research free to read.  For example, Elsevier and Springer Nature alone have deposited around 200k COVID-related articles into PubMed Central.  And, it seems likely that they, and many other publishers, will respond accordingly in making monkeypox research freely accessible.

However, even when publishers provide free access to this research, it is typically time-limited and may contain restrictions on how the research can be reused. Indeed, a recent study looking at the impact of the statement calling for COVID research to be made Open Access, concluded that some publishers “have already started re-introducing paywalls” for this content. Given that the pandemic is ongoing, this is both disappointing and worrying.

source > , Robert Kiley, Johan Rooryck, 16 août 2022