Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Roundup of blog posts on OA Day, part 6

Here's a sampling of what people were writing about on Open Access Day, in no particular order:

Brian Switek, Happy Open Access Day!, Laelaps, October 14, 2008.
... I cannot speak for anyone else, but as a student, I think open access publishing is extremely important. If I were not currently attending college I probably wouldn't have access to the smattering of journals I can keep up with now. When I do leave college, how am I going to obtain important new papers if all of them require me to shell out exorbitant sums? I won't be able to do it. Indeed, it is strange that for all our talk of wanting the public to better understand science we keep it locked away from them. Not everyone is going to look at and digest scientific papers, but how many interested people are we preventing from cultivating an interest in science by requiring a substantial "entrance fee"?

While I think open access has the potential to enhance communication and discussion between professional scientists, I think it is of even more important to students and people who want to learn more about science independently. I could not have learned all I know now if I didn't have access to scientific papers, and reading them is a major part of my continuing self-education. I don't think I'm alone in this regard, and opening access to students could help foster not only greater interest in science, but help students start writing their own papers. I see no harm in providing anyone who is curious the ability to see for themselves, and I hope that more publications take this point of view.
Heather Morrison, Why Open Access Matters to Me (Open Access Day Synchroblogging), The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, October 13, 2008.
... The look on the face of a poor student when told that the article they want will cost $48. The student went away without the article. This was not a good day for learning, or for scholarship. Not every library can afford to bridge the access gaps with interlibrary loans, even in a wealthy country like Canada. Pay per view is like a tax on reading.

From an economics perspective, open access is the only model for scholarly electronic resources that makes sense. It costs money to keep people out; money spent preventing learning is worse than wasted. ...
The Landers Family, Open Access Day, NY Adventure Blog, October 14, 2008.
... Open Access publishing also appeals to my sense of justice. Much of the scientific "discovery" occurs as we build on what others have done and is a fruit of the economic investment that we have made in our educational system, prior research, and the infrastructure of research institutions. I always thought there was something odd about the idea of "owning" books, just as there is something strange about the concept of individual ownership of ideas.

As I was writing up the findings from my dissertation, one of my committee members suggested that I look at an Open Access journal for publication. When he said this, I realized that the idea of Open Access publishing has the potential to transform the way we write and report findings from our research. It can give is freedom to educate and debate with a wider circle of scholars. ...
Barbara Kirsop, Open Access Day - remembering an historical event 60 years ago, Electronic Publishing Trust for Development, October 14, 2008.
As everyone is celebrating the first Open Access Day, October 14th 2008, Britain has recently been celebrating the 60th birthday of the establishment of its National Health Service. On July 5th 1948, just 3 years after the end of WWll, when food and clothes rationing were still in place, the fiery Welsh MP for Ebbw Vale, Aneurin Bevan – ex miner, Labour to his boots - fought fierce opposition from the medical establishment to achieve what to many was an unimaginable dream of a free health service for all at the point of delivery. Free and open access to local doctors, hospitals, medicines, maternity care, dental treatment ...

As we watched recent TV programmes on the battle for the NHS, it has been tempting to draw parallels with the drive towards OA. The publishers fear the advent of free global access to publicly funded research findings. They too fear their livelihoods will be damaged. As in 1948, there are misunderstandings, misinformation, technical uncertainties. But both the NHS and OA came into being to meet the needs of disadvantaged communities. When the NHS opened its doors, there was astonishment at the long queues of citizens waiting for free treatment. Similarly, as research articles have become available free to all, usage has rocketed and full text download statistics have amazed OA repository managers and OA publishers, demonstrating without doubt the information deprivation faced by much of the global scientific community. ...

Sixty years hence, on OA Day 2068, the international research community will look back on the old days and wonder how research was ever conducted without the access now becoming available - and if the history of the NHS is a model, there will be no turning back the clock. ...
Open Access Day, Just Browsing, October 14, 2008.
... Although I’m a very small voice in the wilderness, I am attempting to support Open Access by information the students I work with of the availability of information that they likely wouldn’t be able to get to without this movement. As I continue to build relationships with faculty and researchers, I can continue to spread the message and encourage that they consider making their research available through Open Access methods. For those who are also small voices, if enough of us make a noise, we will become a big sound. I will continue to learn more and follow the developments.

Happy Open Access Day!