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US news roundup: 15-21 January


This week: officials stripped of duties, LBGTQ career barriers, AAAS open-access policy and more

In depth: Newly inaugurated US president Joe Biden has picked Eric Lander, president of the Broad Institute for genomic healthcare, to be the next director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy advisory body.

Full storyBiden to make White House science head part of cabinet

Also this week from Research Professional News

EU leaders welcome Biden’s inauguration, rhetoric and actionsResearch institutions directed to establish security programmes to prevent foreign exploitation

Trump beefs up research security before leaving office—Research institutions directed to establish security programmes to prevent foreign exploitation



Here is the rest of the US news this week…

Office of Science and Technology Policy officials out

Officials at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy have been relieved of their duties over the publication of misleading papers on climate change. While the papers used design elements from the department and bore the seal Executive Office of the President, the department’s communications director, Kristina Baum, said they were not “cleared or approved by OSTP leadership”. The two OSTP officials named in the flyers were David Legates and Ryan Maue. Neither has responded to a request for comment from Research Professional News.

Systemic barriers for LGBTQ professionals

LGBTQ employees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics are more likely to face career barriers than their colleagues, a study has found. Survey data from over 25,000 STEM professionals found LGBTQ people across different fields were more likely to leave their jobs and had fewer career development opportunities, among other disadvantages. The study authors said there is an urgent need for scientific workplaces, societies and funding agencies to include LGBTQ awareness in diversity and inclusion efforts.

AAAS changes policies to comply with Plan S

The American Association for the Advancement of Science, which publishes the journal Science among others, has updated its publishing policies to let certain authors place CC BY or CC BY-ND creative commons licenses on their accepted papers. From 1 January, researchers supported by the Coalition S group of funders requiring immediate open access will be able to use the licenses to make their papers openly available immediately through repositories—the so-called green route to open access. Johan Rooryck, executive director of Coalition S, said he was “delighted” by the move.

Green light for patent licensing pool

Antitrust lawyers at the US Department of Justice have given an initial approval to a proposal by 15 universities to pool licences for patents. The proposal would mean licences would be offered to physical science patents related to emerging technologies in areas like self-driving vehicles and the Internet of Things. Michael Murray, acting principal deputy assistant attorney general at the department, said the proposal would benefit industry, university researchers and the public by making it easier for universities to commercialise inventions.