Pressure builds to switch to ‘open science’ model, facilitating development of COVID vaccines and therapeutics

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In October, the head of the [World Health Organization], Tedros Ghebreyesus Adhanom, alongside human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, and Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of science, culture and education agency UNESCOissued a call for “Open Science”, describing it as a “fundamental matter of human rights”, and arguing for cutting-edge technologies and discoveries to be available for those who need them most.

But what exactly does Open Science mean, and why does the UN insist on making it more widespread?

Open Science has been described as a growing movement aimed at making the scientific process more transparent and inclusive by making scientific knowledge, methods, data and evidence freely available and accessible for everyone.

In this global health emergency, thanks to international collaboration, scientists have improved their understanding of the coronavirus with unprecedented speed and openness, embracing the principles of Open Science. Journals, universities, private labs, and data repositories have joined the movement, allowing open access to data and information: some 115,000 publications have released information related to the virus and the pandemic, and more than 80 per cent of them can be viewed, for free, by the general public.

Related article:  Kenya close to eradicating locust infestations, but resurgence possible before end of 2020, UN warns
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The future UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science is expected to be the international instrument to set the right and just standards for Open Science globally, which fulfil the human right to science and leave no one behind.

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