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Debate! Open Access for the Public

>> Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Now surely, just because of my cerebral flatulence (science jargon for "brain fart") over the weekend didn't mean I wasn't going to get under your skin again. When I have a discussion with someone that is science based, I write it down as a topic for later debates. These are already picking up more steam so now on to this weeks topic.

Reading my blogroll is like stepping into the mind of a bipolar (what do you know, I AM!), since all the blogs are all over the place. One of my faves, however, is A Blog Around the Clock. I'm not sure what it is (the fact that I am a super dork?), but I am addicted to it and love to read up on his stance on open access. Now for those of you who are wondering whether or not this affects you in any way, just know that already lots of our tax dollars have been spent discussion legislation pertaining to this.

What is OA?

Well, quoting a segment from the PLoS website:

The author(s) and copyright holder(s) grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship,[2] as well as the right to make small numbers of printed copies for their personal use....

This continues, but pretty much means that everyone has access to the publication. In science this is important. For a long time, if you wanted to read up on science news or get background information for research, you had to hope that the media got it right, have a subscription to a few journals ( there are thousands though, so you are missing out), or be lucky enough to work at an institute/organization that gives you access to journals online and has a few (hundred) bound copies. Before legislation was passed to make NIH funded research available to the public after a year, no one really knew what was going on in the world of research and development.

This sounds great for some, but for scientists and certain publishing houses, this is a topic of much contention. In fact, OA was in recent legislation again! So I guess the question up for discussion this week is...do you think research should be made available to the public for free or is this going to destroy tiny publishing houses and let the big ones float? How will this affect genetics testing and privacy of subjects? How do you feel about open access?

You can find out more here, here, here, and here.


The Queen October 3, 2008 at 1:11 PM  

Wow, strong debate here, I will get back to you on this, have to do my research..

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