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Genome Biology
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1186/gb-2004-6-1-101
  • Editorial
  • Biology


The number of organisms with completed genome sequences continues to grow rapidly, and the past year has seen the completion of several major eukaryotic genomes, including those of the chicken and rat as well as the first chimpanzee chromosome. The addition of new species, such as Drosophila pseudoobscura, the pufferfish Tetraodon nigroviridi and the nematode Caenorhabditis briggsae, all of which have close relatives whose genomes had already been sequenced (Drosophila melanogaster, Takifugu rubripes and Caenorhabditis elegans, respectively), has allowed further demonstrations of the power of comparative genomics for genome annotation and evolutionary studies. While the advantages of free and unfettered access to sequence data are evident from the ever-increasing number of studies that make use of public sequence databases, the question of how to give access to publications of genomic and other scientific data continues to be the subject of much debate. Following an overwhelming vote by the US House of Representatives urging the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop an Open Access strategy, NIH invited comment on its plans to enhance access to the research that it funds. Under the NIH proposal, NIH-funded researchers would have to provide electronic copies of the final accepted versions of each of their manuscripts, for archiving along with any supplementary information in PubMed Central []. Six months after publication of the research in question - or sooner if the publisher agrees - the provisional copies will be made publicly available at no charge to readers. NIH is now submitting a final version of its policy to the US Congress. Genome Biology heartily supports the NIH proposal, which brings us one step closer to the immediate availability of all peer-reviewed research free of charge. Indeed, as Open Access pioneers, BioMed Central and Genome Biology already provide PubMed Central with final full text and PDF versions of all research articles immediately on publication, and we encourage

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