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European leaders call for open access to monkeypox papers


Publishers told rapid sharing of results is “critical component” of international response

European science leaders have backed an international call for immediate open access to papers reporting research on monkeypox, the infectious disease declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization last month.

Backers including the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors of the European Commission signed an open letter to scholarly publishers, urging them “to voluntarily agree to make their monkeypox and other orthopox-related publications immediately accessible in appropriate public repositories to support the ongoing public health emergency response efforts”.

Dated 3 August, the letter said the rapid sharing of research results and data is a “critical component” of a coordinated response to the outbreak. It called for monkeypox papers to be made accessible for at least the duration of the outbreak and in machine-readable formats with broad reuse rights.

Without naming the individuals referred to, the letter said it was “sent on behalf of science and technology leaders and advisers” representing countries including France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, as well as countries from outside Europe including Australia, Canada and the United States.

The Spanish ministry of science and innovation indicated its official endorsement in an announcement about the letter.

In a move likely to please the signatories, the publisher Springer Nature announced it is making its monkeypox-related content free to access, although it said this would be “assessed on a rolling basis”. The company said it was creating hubs to collate relevant resources.