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World news roundup: 27 March to 2 April

Image: Brian A Jackson, via Shutterstock

The latest news in global research policy and funding

In depth: Science ministers and representatives from 122 countries have expressed “unanimous support” for a global pact on open research at a high-level meeting of the UN’s science agency, Research Professional News has learned.

Full story: Coronavirus catalyses global action on open research


Russia reviews space launches in wake of Covid-19

Russia’s space agency is reviewing its schedule of rocket launches for 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In a 27 March statement, Roscosmos said the review was necessary due to problems with satellite manufacturing in Europe. In addition, nearly 300 staff involved in two launches scheduled for April and the return of crew from the International Space Station this month will be tested for the coronavirus.

eLife outlines costs progress

The open access journal eLife says its costs to publish an article in 2020 are likely to be $2,865, slightly more than its current fee per article of $2,500. “While we continue to rely on our funders to pay this small balance, we feel this is important progress vis-à-vis open access for highly selective journals,” said Jennifer Gibson, eLife head of external relations, and Damian Pattinson, its executive director, in a 26 March statement. They added “Transparency around the real costs of publishing is a critical part of what we need to define financial models for the future—models that are globally accessible and ensure the vibrancy of research communication, evaluation and curation.”

Chinese universities likely to stagger reopening

China’s universities have been told to take the local coronavirus situation into account when deciding when to resume classes. According to state media, a Ministry of Education official has said there is no unified requirement for restarting, and universities would restart at different times. The country’s universities have also been told to provide online courses for international students who are outside China and cannot enter due to travel restrictions.