Increased access to genome sequences

14 December 2007

An editorial in the journal Nature reports a new policy to increase the availability of published genome sequences to researchers [Nature 2007 Dec 6;450(7171):762].

Articles are already freely available to researchers in the 100 or so poorest countries through the World Health Organization's Health InterNetwork Access to Research (Hinari) initiative. Papers reporting full genome sequences have been granted enhanced levels of accessibility, in recognition that they “represent the completion of a key and fundamental research resource, describing and reflecting on what has been revealed but not usually providing insights into mechanism”. The new 'creative commons' licence for these papers will permit all non-commercial publishers to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt pdf and html versions of the paper, provided that it is for non-commercial purpose.

The journal says that the new move is a formalization of the existing policy of free access to genome sequences, which was conceived in line with the Human Genome Project’s Bermuda Agreement "…that all human genomic sequence information, generated by centres funded for large-scale human sequencing, should be freely available and in the public domain in order to encourage research and development and to maximise its benefit to society".

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