Simon Collins at HIV i-Base reports today that the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) has decided to limit access to all conference materials – behind a pay wall – for up to six months after the conference. As before, copying and distribution of i-Base reports is encouraged and free. But please credit HIV i-Base as source. Here is today’s post about CROI:
This year, CROI has decided to limit access to all conference materials to delegates or new subscribers for up to six month after the conference. These include abstracts, posters and webcasts.
Usually, CROI has made all conference material available as an open access resource as soon as the meeting finishes.
Many people who registered for the virtual conference – and certainly most community delegates – were shocked to learn of this change. A community sign-on letter quickly included more than 200 organisations and individuals calling for the CROI Foundation and the International Antiviral Society–USA (IAS–USA) to reconsider these plans. 
Until 2021, CROI had developed an exemplary model for democratising science and medicine – especially as CROI is the most important of the international conferences.
Although this might have been suggested as a cautious approach when planning the virtual conference – when there might have been a worry that delegates might not register if the content was available free within a few days?
Actually, more than 3500 delegates registered for the virtual 2021 conference, only slightly down from last year.
Also, researchers who present their work at the conference might also want this wider access.
Hopefully this retrograde decision to restrict access might be reconsidered by the meeting organisers.
CROI this year had an extremely dynamic and important programme, also covering COVID-19.
The quality of the scientific and medical research presented at CROI is actually the reason why broader access is essential. Perhaps sending your own feedback to the organisers could help too.
- Community letter to the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) regarding access to presentations and abstracts. (10 March 2021).
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