Nature Publishing Group has adopted a new formal policy that will allow researchers to freely access, distribute, and reuse all papers which provide organisms' genomic sequences, according to a Nature linkurl:editorial; published online Wednesday (December 5). The policy does not mark a big change in practice -- Nature has always made genomic papers immediately and freely available on their Web site. But the new "creative commons" license is a formal statement allowing non-commercial publishers and users to freely access the genome papers. It is also a recognition of what Nature editors call the unique characteristic of genome papers: "They represent the completion of a key and fundamental research resource, describing and reflecting on what has been revealed but not usually providing insights into mechanism." Under this new license, "users are free to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt the contribution, provided this is for non-commercial purposes, subject to the same or...

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