August 4, 2022
To: Members of the Scholarly Publishing Community
Re: Immediate Access to Scholarly Materials Related to Monkeypox
As the world responds to yet another significant global infectious disease outbreak—even as it continues to combat the evolving COVID-19 pandemic—we of the global science leader and advisory community write to you to encourage your support in enabling immediate open access to the real-time scientific evidence needed to contain the spread of monkeypox virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared the escalating global monkeypox outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). As such, a coordinated, international response is essential to stopping the spread of the virus and combatting the current outbreak, as well as protecting communities at greatest risk.
As we saw with COVID-19, and with the prior Ebola and Zika outbreaks, a critical component of a coordinated response is the rapid sharing of research results and data. Although we are fortunate that the monkeypox virus has been well studied, and that countermeasures to prevent and treat the disease exist, this is an evolving situation and there is still much to learn in order to stay ahead of the outbreak. That is why governments around the world are releasing research priorities to speed science and accelerate global monkeypox outbreak response. We also highlight the research and response efforts undertaken in countries responding to the outbreak and where monkeypox is endemic.
We applaud the efforts of researchers to understand and prevent monkeypox infection and spread. We also greatly appreciate the funders and publishers that play the important role of supporting, reviewing, and communicating research outcomes and making publications and data available to the global community for scientific research and public awareness. The current outbreak of monkeypox requires alignment across the scholarly publishing community disciplines, including biomedical, clinical, economic, and social and behavioral sciences, as well as veterinary and environmental sciences, to fully address the emerging crisis and prevent future outbreaks.
The world is at a critical juncture at which containing and mitigating the risks of monkeypox will be key to ensuring that it does not become endemic over a wider area of the world, and that new animal reservoirs do not emerge in non-endemic countries. Given the urgency of the situation, it is particularly important that scientists and the public can access research results and data as soon as possible. This includes scientists and public health officials from low- and middle-income countries. We urge publishers to voluntarily agree to make their monkeypox and other orthopox-related publications immediately accessible in appropriate public repositories to support the ongoing public health emergency response efforts. Importantly, this information should be in both human and machine-readable format to allow access to full text and metadata, with broad reuse rights that include research re-use and secondary analysis. We also encourage you to urge contributing authors and research organizations to share their papers in open repositories and share the data that supports their published peer-reviewed results with the scientific community by depositing it in an appropriate trusted digital repository. We further respectfully request that articles published to date, as well as future articles, remain publicly accessible for at least the duration of this crisis.
A prompt response from the scientific and publishing community will accelerate global efforts to contain the monkeypox virus. We greatly appreciate your consideration and your partnership in protecting global health.
Sent on behalf of science and technology leaders and advisors representing the following countries:
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- New Zealand
- Republic of Korea
- South Africa
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
- Group of Chief Scientific Advisors of the European Commission