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PLOS Board Appointments

After a careful search, I am excited to share with our community four new appointments to the PLOS Board of Directors. This is a critical time for us as we expand our journal offerings, our global reach and challenge the landscape of Open Access publishing regarding sustainable business models. Each new member brings a depth and breadth of knowledge in their fields, which will enable us to continue to drive our mission forward while serving our scientific communities. The Board plays a key role as strategic thought partner to PLOS leadership, as well as oversight of organizational performance (business, strategic and financial), compliance and risk management.

Dr. Arlene Espinal, who joined the Board on September 1, currently serves as the Head of Microsoft Cloud Data Science and Analytics for Microsoft Corp. She is a leader in global strategy, Quantum-AI and next-generation digital technologies. She is also passionate about talent development and leads teams with diversity, inclusion, equitability, belonging and acceptance in mind — essential to community and business. Recognized for her seminal role in driving awareness and change to social disparities that impact our communities, the Hispanic IT Executive Council named Dr. Espinal as a 2020 Top 100 Global Technology Leader. She was again recognized this year for her executive contributions. The National Diversity and Leadership Council recognized Dr. Espinal as one of the 2021 Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology.

Dr. Israel Borokini, who joined the Board on September 1, is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on combining ecological, geospatial, genomic, cytological, and phylogenetic data to identify patterns of community assemblages and biodiversity, and the eco-evolutionary mechanisms that generate and maintain them. Dr. Borokini completed his Ph.D. in the Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology graduate program at the University of Nevada, Reno. He completed his undergraduate and Masters degrees in his home country of Nigeria before spending a decade as Principal Scientific Officer at the National Center for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology in Ibadan, Nigeria. Dr. Borokini not only expands the scientific expertise on the Board but also brings a passion for PLOS’s mission. He has personally experienced the challenges of access to research in a low resource environment and will bring valuable perspectives to the Board’s discussions as PLOS grows globally and prioritizes equity.

Richard Wilder’s deep experience in global public health law has a recurring theme: ensuring access. Prior to private practice, he was the General Counsel and Director of Business Development at the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). At CEPI, he directed the legal and business development affairs during its initial start-up phase and through the first two years of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to CEPI, he was the Associate General Counsel in the Global Health Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He provided legal expertise to ensure access to drugs, vaccines and diagnostics with a particular focus on access by affected populations in low and middle-income countries.  His work also addressed how to ensure access to the artifacts of scientific research, including published materials, data, software code and biological materials. His Open Access policy work at Gates won the SPARC Innovator Award in 2015. Richard has also served as a committee member of the Roundtable on Aligning Incentives for Open Science convened by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.  He joined the Board in June, 2022.

Fernan Federici joined the Board in October, 2021. As we expand globally, Dr. Federici’s perspective from a different research culture will prove invaluable. He is currently an Associate Professor and molecular geneticist at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica in Santiago, Chile. He has been a champion of Open Science in a number of areas including protocols and reagents, where he contributes to Reclone (the Reagent Collaboration Network). Fernan’s research group also works on the promotion and development of Free/Libre Open Source technologies for research and education in molecular biology and bioengineering. The group is part of ReClone, the Gathering for Open Science Hardware community (GOSH) and the CYTED-reGOSH network for open technologies in Latin America.

I would be remiss if I did not take the opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to Robin Lovell Badge, Mike Carroll and Meredith Niles for their outstanding years of service to the PLOS Board. Their wisdom and counsel have been enormously beneficial to me, and our organization, as we collectively charted a new path for PLOS, one focused on sustainability, inclusivity and expanding our roots globally. While it’s hard to say goodbye, we are excited to bring on board so many exceptional individuals with fresh perspectives. Please join me in welcoming our new Board members!

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