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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

Access to taxpayer-funded research in the spotlight

The debate over “open access” to scientific research results has for years been an academic one, hashed out largely among university libraries and journal publishers. After all, free and unrestricted access to peer-reviewed scientific papers isn’t the sort of thing that typically attracts mainstream attention.

But the issue has been jolted into the spotlight recently, with a new White House policy aimed at making taxpayer-funded research freely available and the suicide of Internet activist Aaron Swartz, who worked to make such information free. This week, the New England Journal of Medicine, a traditional subscription-based publisher that puts many of its articles behind a paywall, published four perspective pieces on the issue.

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