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The economic and social shifts linked to the transition of human societies from agricultural to industrial and the increase in migrations and diffusion of information and goods linked to globalization influenced food choices. Especially in the new millennium, media have contributed to the promotion of refined foods and to the dissemination of fake news concerning nutritional topics, persuading people to make wrong choices. In this paper, we highlight the importance of the role of nutrition professionals in providing reliable information to patients and in the dissemination of scientific knowledge to the public, using an accessible language to overcome communication barriers.

L’accesso aperto alle pubblicazioni scientifiche è una risorsa determinante per il progresso della ricerca biomedica. Per facilitarlo, i principali editori, le istituzioni accademiche e le biblioteche hanno iniziato a negoziare contratti mirati a combinare i costi degli abbonamenti delle riviste con quelli necessari a rendere liberamente accessibili i loro contenuti. Mentre il dibattito sull’effettiva efficacia di questi accordi è tuttora in corso, molta meno attenzione è stata invece dedicata all’importanza del ruolo che la cosiddetta green road può giocare da questo punto di vista.

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Open Access (OA) to research publications is a fundamental resource for the advancement of scientific research. To facilitate the transition to OA, publishers and institutions have begun negotiating the so-called transformative agreements, contracts combining access to subscription journals with the ability to publish OA. While the debate on transformative agreements is very much alive, little attention is being paid to the “green road,” the practice of openly self-archiving manuscripts that have been accepted by journals but not yet typeset. Here we focus on medical literature, showing how the green road could outperform transformative agreements as a means of increasing the full and free availability of peer-reviewed scientific papers.

This study was designed to evaluate the accessibility of peer-reviewed literature regarding COVID-19 and the ten diseases with the highest death toll worldwide. We conducted extensive searches of studies concerning COVID-19 and other diseases using the Web of Science, and the Google and Google Scholar search engines.
Open access rates were obtained from the Web of Science database, taking into account different types of publications and research areas. Quantitative analyses based on random samplings were used to estimate the potential increase of open access rates achievable with open archiving of post-prints. The open access rate of COVID-19 papers (89.5%) largely outnumbered that of the ten most deadly human diseases (48.8%, on average). We estimated that most of the gap (70%) could be bridged by making available online, post-print manuscripts. The pandemic represents a real breakthrough, in scientific publishing, towards the goal of health information for all, demonstrating that much greater access to medical literature is possible. The green road may be the best way to bring open access rates of peer review of other major diseases closer to that of COVID-19. However, it needs to be implemented more effectively, combining bottom-up and top-down actions and making the open science culture more widespread.

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In recent decades, the scientific community has become aware of the importance of science being effectively open in order to speed up scientific and technological progress. In this context, the achievement of a robust, effective and responsible form of data sharing is now widely acknowledged as a fundamental part of the research process. The production and resolution of human genomic data has steadily increased in recent years, mainly due to technological advances and decreasing costs of DNA genotyping and sequencing. There is, however, a downside to this process due to the huge increase in the complexity of the data and related metadata. This means it is advisable to go beyond traditional forms of sharing analysis, which have focused on data availability only. Here we present a pilot study that aims to complement a survey on the availability of data related to peer-reviewed publications with an analysis of their findability, accessibility, useability and assessability (according to the “intelligent data openness” scheme). 


Le biobanche si occupano della raccolta e della conservazione di campioni biologici e di dati genetici e clinici, fornendo un contributo senza precedenti al progresso della ricerca biomedica. Tuttavia, l'effettivo sfruttamento delle loro risorse dipende dalla loro accessibilità. Le biobanche hanno differenti modalità di accessibilità alle loro risorse, che sono influenzate sia dal contesto sociale sia dalla legislazione dei paesi in cui operano. Anche gli aspetti economici e accademici sono coinvolti nella determinazione del grado di condivisione dei loro campioni e dati. 

Biobanks store biological samples and genetic/clinical data, giving an unprecedented contribution to the progress of biomedical research. However, the effective exploitation of their resources depends on their accessibility. Biobanks have different modalities of resources’ accessibility that are influenced by both social context and legislation of the countries where they operate. Economic and academic aspects are also involved in determining the extent of sharing of their samples and data. 

This paper aimed to validate the hypothesis that at the beginning of the 20th century, the island of Crete maintained better living conditions in comparison with the rest of Greece. We analysed trends in adult height in both sexes following two steps. In the first, height was considered by sex and birth cohorts for the island as a whole. In the second, the same approach was applied to study the phenomenon in the four prefectures of the island. Our results confirm that the Cretans were wealthier at the turn of the 20th century, before being annexed to Greece. Moreover, they suggest that the taller statures of the males in the prefecture of Chania may reflect protection action of isolation to the introduction of infectious diseases related to trade flows.


The social utility of science deals with the need of breaking down some barriers separating the scientific community and society. Both are involved in the relationships among science, democracy and goods. It is a recent phenomenon linked to the advent of the World Wide Web, which has led to a huge explosion in the availability of information. Many companies are now involved in this revolution and are aware of the importance of the sharing culture. Conversely, the academic world travels at a slower pace, despite the widespread awareness of the importance of accessibility to research products for scientific progress.

The possibility of preserving human tissue separated from the body, from which to extract clinical information, even on large numbers of individuals with similar clinical conditions, represents a great opportunity for the progress of biomedicine. To date, it is virtually impossible to hypothesise all the future uses of such tissue. However, the decisive role of these biological materials in the understanding and resolution of questions regarding the origin and development of certain genetic diseases is well recognised.


Biobanks, which contain human biological samples and/or data, provide a crucial contribution to the progress of biomedical research. However, the effective and efficient use of biobank resources depends on their accessibility. In fact, making bio-resources promptly accessible to everybody may increase the benefits for society. Furthermore, optimizing their use and ensuring their quality will promote scientific creativity and, in general, contribute to the progress of bio-medical research. Although this has become a rather common belief, several laboratories are still secretive and continue to withhold samples and data. In this study, we conducted a questionnaire-based survey in order to investigate sample and data accessibility in research biobanks operating all over the world. 

L’estensione latitudinale dell’Italia e la sua posizione di corridoio naturale tra Mediterraneo ed Europa centrale hanno influito su processi recenti di popolamento umano, rendendo il nostro territorio una zona di convergenza e mescolamento tra flussi da diverse parti dell’Europa. Lo studio genetico e linguistico di popolazioni attuali, tra cui alcune minoranze etnico-linguistiche, ha dimostrato che la diversità tra le popolazioni italiane è tanto estesa da essere paragonabile, e per alcuni aspetti superiore, a quella osservata a livello dell’intera Europa.

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