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Nature to use Creative Commons License on Select Genome Papers

by Andre on 6 December 2007

This week’s editorial in the journal Nature announces a move towards greater access for papers reporting complete genomes. Papers that report “the primary sequence of an organism’s genome for the first time” will be immediately available online but more interestingly, they will be released using a creative commons attribution-non-commercial-share alike license (similar to what we use for Biocurious). For more details on Nature’s licensing arrangements you can check the license information page.

Their reasoning is that this type of genome paper “represent[s] the completion of a key and fundamental research resource, describing and reflecting on what has been revealed but not usually providing insights into mechanism.” This makes perfect sense and papers reporting complete genomes are likely extremes in this sense, but even if a paper includes insight into mechanisms it doesn’t mean the work is done and that more access to its data wouldn’t still be beneficial.

It’s also noteworthy that Nature Publishing Group already publishes a freely available journal called Molecular Systems Biology that has also recently moved towards creative commons licenses (although authors still have the option of choosing to forbid derivative works). For a discussion of their decision (in response to this PLoS Biology editorial?) see the MSB blog.

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