Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Varmus one of the 10 most influential people in science

Discover Magazine has named Harold Varmus one of The 10 Most Influential People in Science (November 26, 2008).  Excerpt:

Harold Varmus; Former Director, National Institutes of Health: Champion of Open Access

Nobel laureate Harold Varmus was one of the driving forces of medical research even before he tried to revolutionize the way scientists do their work. In the 1970s Varmus and his colleague Michael Bishop discovered the cellular origin of retroviral genes that turn cancerous, launching the modern era of cancer research.

In the Clinton administration, Varmus led the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and transformed it into a biomedical powerhouse. “As director of NIH, Harold cultivated bipartisan support of biomedical research,” Bishop recalls, “and sound science was always at the heart of the agenda.”

Varmus’s latest challenge has been an attempt to overhaul the system of publishing research in journals so that all papers are freely available on the Internet —instead of only by expensive subscription. This allows researchers at any level of income, in any part of the world, to build on the body of knowledge. The manifestation of Varmus’s effort, the Public Library of Science and its roster of academic publications, has become one of the most cited sources in academic research and has inspired others worldwide to follow its lead.