A dozen national science advisers ask publishers to make all coronavirus research available for AI

Alan Boyle
Staff members at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention support the COVID-19 response in the CDC’s Emergency Operations Center. (CDC Photo)

Science advisers for the White House and 11 other national governments are asking publishers around the world to provide free and open access to all research relating to coronaviruses.

  • The world’s top scientific publishers, such as Science and Nature, traditionally charge for access to their marquee journals. But in a letter issued today, the science advisers say “timely access is critical” as the world responds to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • If the plea is answered, all research relating to COVID-19, the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the disease as well as other coronaviruses would be made openly available in a form that allows for AI-enabled data mining. Such analysis is a specialty for Seattle’s Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence and its Semantic Scholar academic search engine.
  • The letter’s signatories represent the U.S. as well as Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea. For what it’s worth, many publishers are already providing open access to coronavirus research, but not always in machine-readable form.

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