Wins for Open Access and German Science

Here's a rundown of some of the stories we've been following on Science's policy blog, ScienceInsider:

Despite the tough economic climate, Germany plans to spend €18 billion more on research over the next 10 years. Chancellor Angela Merkel announced last week that she and the heads of the 16 German states had signed off on the increase in funding, which was negotiated in April. The chancellor, who has a Ph.D. in physical chemistry and is married to a chemistry professor, said the agreement will send a "signal of predictability" to researchers and help them draw up long-term plans for the money.

In a win for the open-access movement, University College London (UCL) announced last week that it would soon begin posting copies of faculty members' published journal articles in a free online repository. UCL follows the lead of other prominent institutions, including Harvard and Stanford universities and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. UCL plans to follow the copyright policies of the relevant journals, including waiting to post until after the journal itself has made the full text freely available.

The British government has scrapped its Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, which oversees most academic research programs. Created 2 years ago, the department will now be merged with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform to form a new Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. It's not yet clear if the restructuring will increase the pressure on scientists to make their research more economically relevant.

U.S. President Barack Obama signaled his intent to use science diplomacy to win over the Islamic world in his 4 June speech in Cairo, Egypt. The president promised new science envoys, centers of excellence, and a technological development fund for the Middle East, North Africa, and Southeast Asia. Officials in the State Department and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy are now scrambling to add substance to those words.

For more on these stories and the latest science policy daily news and analysis, visit ScienceInsider.

Posted in Education, Europe, Policy, Asia, Scientific Community