Hello Nature readers, would you like to get this Briefing in your inbox free every day? Sign up here
Earlier this month, Michael Houghton was awarded a share of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the identification of hepatitis C virus. His former collaborators, George Kuo and Qui-Lim Choo, were not among the three recipients. For Houghton, receiving the prize — and other prestigious awards — has prompted mixed emotions. “It’s sweet to get them,” he says. “But it’s a bitter taste, because they don’t acknowledge the whole team directly.” Kuo felt disappointed, but adds that prizes were never the goal. “I was motivated by a dream that I could make a difference in helping people,” he says. As for Choo, the news of the Nobel prompted tears of joy. “It’s my baby; I’m so very proud,” says Choo. “How can I not be proud?”
Springer Nature has agreed to its first deal for researchers to publish in Nature and 33 Nature-branded titles under open-access (OA) terms. The deal is being offered to around 120 German institutes. Those participating would pay a lump sum covering the reading and OA publishing of articles in the 34 journals, as well as access to articles in a further 21 Nature Reviews titles. The deal is calculated on the basis of a price of €9,500 (US$11,200) per OA article. Springer Nature says that the cost is much higher than at less-selective journals partly because of Nature journals’ high rejection rate: 60% of editors’ time is spent on assessing manuscripts that they don’t publish. The publisher also produces journalism and content beyond primary research. But the high price-tag has some OA advocates worried. Such big-ticket agreements “do nothing to improve the accessibility and equitability of the scholarly publishing system”, say scholarly communication researchers Jeroen Bosman and Bianca Kramer.
(Nature is editorially independent of its publisher, Springer Nature — as is this Briefing.)
Wellcome, one of the world’s largest health-research foundations, has announced that it will expand it’s remit to include goal-oriented, as well as basic, research. It highlights three areas of focus: infectious diseases, global heating and mental health. “It’s a big shift,” says Jeremy Farrar, the charity’s director and an infectious-disease researcher. “It’s not just about discovering stuff, it’s also about making sure that changes come to peoples’ lives.”