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Free access during pandemic

COVID-19 – Publishers extend immediate access to resources


Publishers have announced an extended commitment to support the continued global response to the rapid worldwide spread of COVID-19. Sharing the worldwide concern about the spread and impact of COVID-19, publishers recognise the crucial role they can play in supporting the response to this crisis and advancing the research that will be critical in combating the virus.

In immediate response to the epidemic announcement by the World Health Organisation (WHO), members of the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM) moved to provide immediate free access to all relevant peer-reviewed publications to ensure that for the duration of the outbreak, research and data quickly reaches the widest possible audiences. More than 32,000 articles, chapters, and other resources related to COVID-19, other coronaviruses, and related epidemics have already been made available in this manner. Members have accelerated the review and publication of articles that are relevant to researchers currently addressing the crisis. The use of artificial intelligence and other tools to analyse the freely available research content though open, interoperable systems, such as Crossref and other aggregated solutions, have been enabled. STM members will continue to offer researchers the full range of publisher systems and solutions to enhance their abilities to address the global health crisis.

Following conversations with the US Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and noting the recent request from science advisors around the world, STM is now announcing further steps that have been taken by their members to enhance the use of these resources, to ensure that these will be available for additional analysis and reuse, including by machine tools and artificial intelligence. These strides will enable researchers to further identify trends and solutions that could help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Participating publishers will ensure that publications related to COVID-19, other coronaviruses, and related epidemics are available in both human- and machine-readable formats, with rights to enable text and data mining, re-use and secondary analysis. The participating publishers will work to support others who are creating centralised collections of these resources for researchers’ use by making publisher resources available through the portals including PubMed Central (PMC) and other repositories. They will further ensure that data related to publications are also available, where possible.

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