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Will COVID-19 mark the end of scientific publishing as we know it? “”The argument for open access is so obvious, it’s painful to have to repeat it,” says Schekman, a 2013 Nobel laureate and UC Berkeley biologist. “The public pays for the research, and yet they can’t read the research. Physicians don’t have access to the literature—startup biotech companies at the forefront of discovery can’t afford the licenses.” “It’s obvious that this is the way it has to be,” he says. Under the pressure of a global health crisis, the argument for open access has sunk in. Following calls from the World Health Organization and government leaders, over 150 publishers, companies, and research institutions have agreed to temporarily make all content related to COVID-19 free to read, ensuring efforts to understand the virus can go forth undeterred. The result looks something like the most epic relay race in history. Dozens, sometimes hundreds, of studies are posted daily, with tails of citations circling the globe. Genetic mutations of the virus—clues to its spread—fill databases by the thousands. And a newfound culture of data sharing has fueled scientific collaboration like never before. So now the question is: Is this the catalyst that breaks up the bonds of an old publishing model once and for all? “This may be the last time we talk about having special access to papers because of a pandemic,” Schekman says…”

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