Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

OA to help patients and journalists

Jason Bobe, Richter Scale and Your Genomic Portfolio, The Personal Genome, July 31, 2007.  (Thanks to My Biotech Life.)  Jason outlines a way to help people understand their genetic risks for various diseases and get beyond the superficiality and sensationalism of popular media (“scientists discover a gene for Alzheimer’s”).  In the middle of the discussion he pauses for an aside:

Promote open access to scientific and medical literature

This is a plea to scientists and researchers to be more thoughtful about how and where they publish their scientific work. There are lots of interesting possibilities when people can actually access your published work. In return for sharing your data, there may be legions of people that can help ensure that your discoveries and insights can achieve maximum impact.

Since I brought it up, ethicists, legal scholars, policy-makers, public health people and many other stripes of experts should be more conscientious about where they publish their intellectual output. I’m not going to pay $25 per article so that I can get an education about issues that directly affect me. It is easy to attack journalists and bloggers for getting their facts wrong, but we’re living in an information wasteland without access to good scholarly work. Trash in, trash out. This has to change. [Warning: Melodramatic comment dead ahead] We need nothing less than a publishing perestroika.