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What Does Open Access Mean To You?

Add your answer below. We're giving away the new PeerJ T-shirts all week for the best answers.

Open Access means free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research, and the right to use and re-use those results as you need. It has the potential to increase the exposure of published research, facilitate the ability to conduct research across available literature, enhance the overall advancement of scholarship, and maximize research investments.

This week – October 21-27, 2013 – is Open Access Week (#OAWeek) around the world. Each year the Open Access community unites behind this event. We asked a selection of leading voices in the community to tell us what Open Access meant to them, in about 100 characters or less.

John Wilbanks is the Chief Commons Officer at Sage Bionetworks and a Senior Fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and at FasterCures. He led a We the People petition supporting the free access of taxpayer-funded research data, which gained over 65,000 signatures.

"You have the power to change the way research is exchanged: Publish Open Access", he said. "Publishing your research Open Access advances and accelerates science."

Heather Joseph is the Executive Director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC). In that capacity, she works to support broadening access to the results of scholarly research.

“The beauty of Open Access is that it is geared towards creating opportunity; it’s a totally forward-looking concept”, she said.

John Willinsky is the Khosla Family Professor of Education at Stanford University. He is the director of the Public Knowledge Project which has been working for a decade on improving the scholarly and public quality of academic research.

“Open Access is no more than another means of furthering the human right to know what is known”, he said.

Mike Taylor is a computer programmer by vocation but started to study palaeontology in his spare time in 2000. He got his Ph.D from the University of Portsmouth in 2009, and he is now an honorary research associate at the University of Bristol. He is a leading voice of OA Advocacy and blogs at SV-POW.

“Open Access is simply science done right. If it’s behind a paywall, it hardly counts as science”, he said.

Dorothy Bishop is a Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology and a Wellcome Principal Research Fellow at the Department of Experimental Psychology in Oxford and Adjunct Professor at The University of Western Australia, Perth.

“You only realize how important OA is when away from base and find you can’t access loads of journals”, she said.

Stephen Curry is a Professor of Structural Biology at Imperial College, London. He has a passion for understanding the wider role of science in society, and his writing has appeared in many leading venues. He blogs at Reciprocal Space.

“We need Open Access to make scholarly publishing fit for the world of the 21st Century”, he said. “I want Open Access to make research more accessible in both senses of the word.”

Uta Francke is currently Professor Emerita at Stanford School of Medicine and Senior Medical Director at 23andMe, a personal genetics company. She is on the PeerJ Advisory Board, and is an author on one of our earliest papers.

“Looking at it globally, Open Access is the only way to publish your work, if you want the world’s scientists to read more than just your abstract”, she said.

Andrew Farke has been the Augustyn Family Curator of Paleontology at the Alf Museum since June 2008. He is an Academic Editor for PeerJ and is actively involved in bringing paleontology to the public.

“Open Access helps me easily share my research with folks back home in rural South Dakota”, he said.

Mina Bissell is a Distinguished Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a member of the PeerJ Advisory Board. She is a world-recognized leader in the area of the role of extracellular matrix and microenvironment in regulation of tissue-specific function, with special emphasis on breast cancer.

“Open Access? This is what science should be all about and why I am so excited about PeerJ”, she said.

We thank all of these Open Access advocates for their insights, and here at PeerJ we are looking forward to a great Open Access Week. Check out this week's PeerJ presentations at Santa Cruz, British Columbia, Utah State, MIT, Stanford, Edinburgh and Oregon State.

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Unless the mainstream media knows that anyone can check the primary source they will not stop misreporting science.

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Open Access is the first step towards a science communication system that actually communicates science in a way appropriate to the Web age - using open licenses, open formats and open standards to share open processes on the basis of a public version history of scientific records.

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OpenAccess to me means, "aligning science publishing with the ideals and practice of the scientific community".

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Open Access is about making science better. The ability to quickly access knowledge, remix it, and reuse it in novel ways, drives knowledge forward and allows it to be applied more broadly.

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Open Access might just be the best way for the world to stand on the shoulders of giants. [Now about that T-shirt ...]

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Open Access should mean a (much needed) grassroots change to the way research is reviewed and disseminated, but as an early career researcher I feel very nervous when I see the huge OA fees charged by some journals.

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Open Access is a form of rebellion from the scientific community trying to freely disseminate their scientific research to the general public and have a real feedback from anyone interested in their findings.

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Open access, quite simply, is the right thing to do. In 5-10 years, open access publishing will be known as 'publishing'.

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Open Access is the mechanism to share the value of research with those who most deserve to benefit from it - people and their communities.

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OA is a basic, human right for research funded by state and federal taxes. If I pay taxes to fund research I want to have the right to see the resulting peer-reviewed publications. End of story.

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Open Access is the only way to take back control of the exponentially growing academic literature, via content mining.

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Jacob Bronowski said it best (in 1951):

"We know that ours is a remarkable age of science. It is for us to use to broaden and liberate our culture. These are the marks of science: that it is open for all to hear, and all are free to speak their minds in it. They are the marks of the world at its best, and the human spirit at its most challenging".

From The Common Sense of Science

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Open Access is the best way to make my publicly funded research available to everyone, including those who funded it. Open Access also means I can publish good quality science without the nebulous concept of 'impact' being used to prevent publication.

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It's the best way to foster consilience, which is the best way to create knowledge, which is the best way to advance society as we know it.

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A scientific hypothesis is one that is refutable. Shielding your work from refutation by hiding it behind a paywall limits its critique to the cosy club of your favoured journal. When paper prints were all we had, this may have been acceptable. Twenty years after the invention of the web, it is outdated and unscientific.

tl;dr

If it ain't open, it ain't science.

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To us here at CiteAb.com open access means making your research reproducible and accessible. We're very supportive of open access publishing, and we are also encouraging researchers to cite their antibodies carefully, even going so far as to issue antibody citation guidelines (which PeerJ among others have adopted). This all hopefully helps to improve the quality of and pace at which research can progress.

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If it is worth publishing, then it is worth reading, but it would be arrogant in the extreme to predict which readers will benefit the most.

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