Issue 59

Open Science Newsletter


Global Officials Call for Free Access to Covid-19 Research — Government science advisers in a dozen countries are asking scientific journals to make data on the disease more widely available. This includes releasing information to PubMed Central. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in a tweet has also called on publishers to make all COVID-19 related research & data immediately available to the public.

The Italian government is releasing up-to-date data of COVID-19 cases on Github. A great example of open data sharing. 

Using stats from the WHO and other official sources, Max Roser and colleagues at OWID have assembled a number of charts with stats around COVID-19 — from country-level cases to numbers around typical symptoms of the disease to severity rates.

In the US on the other hand, according to Reuters, the White House told federal health agency to classify coronavirus deliberations. This reportedly affected meetings at the Department of Health & Human Services since January, and prevented experts without security clearance from attending certain meetings.

The French National Fund for Open Science (FNSO) has decided to support three international open science infrastructures. Supported by the €450,000 initiative will be: OpenCitations, the Public Knowledge Project, and the Directory of Open Access Books


Springer Nature’s second attempt of an Initial Public Offering was scheduled to take place this past week, but it seems as if the weak markets have forced the abandoning of these plans.


The American Institute of Physics has released a report investigating the reasons for the persistent (and dramatic) underrepresentation of African Americans in physics. Less than 4% of US Bachelor degrees in physics are awarded to African Americans, with no relative improvement over the past 20 years. Key reasons are a lack of a supportive environment in many departments, and the financial challenges facing these students. The physics community now must tackle these challenges. The goal is to double the number of degrees awarded to African Americans.

To close on earlier reports in this newsletter, a recent study has dampened earlier expectations that the star Betelgeuse may be very close to a supernova. The study suggests that the reduced brightness of Betelgeuse is down to newly formed dust shed by the giant star and that is absorbing its light. 


PLOS Endorses Open Pharma Position Statement on Open Access. The position statement is here. Other publisher endorsers are Betasciencepress Publishing; ecancer; F1000 Research Ltd.; Frontiers Media SA; Future Science Group; Wiley.


Note: During the critical phase of the COVID-19 pandemic I will only highlight online events or in-person events that are scheduled months in the future.

What is scholarly communication and publishing in the 21st Century? OASPA webinar on 2 April, 2020, from 3.00 pm – 4.15 pm GMT.  


Scientific American appoints Laura Helmuth Editor-in-Chief. Helmuth joins from the Washington Post.

Kaitlin Thaney has been named the inaugural Executive Director of the Invest in Open Infrastructure. The mission of the non-profit is “to enable a durable, scalable and thriving open scientific and scholarly infrastructure serving the needs of global communities.”