Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Sunday, April 29, 2007

OA helps researchers directly, non-researchers indirectly

Stevan Harnad, Open Access Is Not Just A Health Matter, Open Access Archivangelism, April 29, 2007.  Excerpt:

The interest and commitment of some of the supporters of Open Access (OA) is derived from and motivated by the importance of making health-related research accessible to those who need it: patients, family, researchers.

This is certainly an important component of OA, and perhaps the aspect that most directly touches our lives. But if OA is seen or portrayed as being mainly a health-related matter, it not only leaves out the vast majority of OA's target content-- which is all research in all research areas, from the physical and biological sciences to the social sciences and the humanities -- but it even under-serves OA's potential benefits to health research itself.

Even the "tax-payer access" aspect of OA, though important, is not quite representative, because the primary benefit of OA to the tax-payer who pays for the research is not that it makes the research freely accessible to the tax-payer (although it does indeed do that too!), but that it makes the research freely accessible to the researchers for whom it was mostly written, but many of whom cannot afford access to it -- so that they can use, apply and build upon that research, in their own research -- to the benefit of the tax-payers who funded it and for whose sake the research is conducted....