Short items, August 2010

New CO2 satellite set to take off 

Nasa has awarded Orbital Sciences of Dulles, US, a $70 million (?45.6 million) contract to launch an Orbiting Carbon Observatory - designed to study human and natural sources of carbon dioxide from space. Due to take off in February 2013, this attempt follows the crash of the initial satellite last year when the launch vehicle failed shortly after take-off. 

Chemistry lags behind in open access revolution

A study has shown that chemistry has the lowest proportion of open access papers compared to all other scientific disciplines. The authors, who published their work in  PLoS One (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011273.g001), found that just 13 per cent of chemistry articles published in 2008 were open access (either on the publishers website, in repositories or on researcher sites) compared to an overall average of 20.4 per cent.  

Libel law revamp edges forward

On 9 July, UK justice minister Lord McNally confirmed that the government will publish a bill to reform the country’s libel laws 

in early 2011. This follows the announcement in May that Lord Lester was to push forward a new Defamation bill to update current UK libel laws that are generally thought to favour claimants (see Chemistry World, July 2010, p5). 

Go Figure

?59 billion per year   

The contribution higher education institutes make to the UK economy, according to a report by Research Councils UK and Universities UK. This is more than that of the air and spacecraft, agricultural and pharmaceutical industries combined.