The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and science leaders around the world are calling on science publishers to immediately make freely available all monkeypox-related research and data that their journals publish to help contain the spread of the virus. virus.
Cases of monkeypox were first reported in May in several countries that had not previously been affected, an unprecedented outbreak of a disease that had been largely confined to a few countries in Africa. Since then, the virus has spread to more than 70 countries and more than 25,000 cases have been reported. “Given the urgency of the situation, it is especially important that scientists and the public can access research results and data as soon as possible,” OSTP officials wrote in an open letter today. co-signed by science and technology leaders and advisors from 19 countries. . Publishers should allow free access to relevant publications and place them in public repositories, the letter says. (For a similar call related to COVID-19 research in March 2019, science leaders noted PubMedCentral as one such repository.)
“Open access to all data and research is vital,” says Yale University epidemiologist Gregg Gonsalves, who points out that there is much less information about the outbreak compared to COVID-19. at the start of this pandemic. “We all struggle to find information and we don’t need obstacles in our way.”
The letter was signed by representatives from Germany, Ghana, Singapore and 16 other countries as well as the group of chief scientific advisers of the European Commission. The letter highlights the need for research findings and data to be freely available to scientists and public health officials in low- and middle-income countries where access to this information is often much more limited.
A similar call in March 2020 urged publishers to share research on COVID-19 and coronaviruses and allow scientists to publish preprints of work they had submitted to journals. Many journals, including Sciencealready offer free access to articles on emerging diseases because of their relevance to public health.
Important recent publications on monkeypox in The New England Journal of Medicine, The BMJand The Lancet have all been open access, notes Boghuma Titanji, a virologist at Emory University. “I hope it will continue. But I am aware that not all journals do this, so a call for others to follow this example is still relevant. [Monkeypox] is unfortunately not going away and there will be plenty of research published in the coming months that will need to be widely available.