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Blog archive for May, 2006

Americans Overwhelmingly Back Open Access

May 31st, 2006 by John Wilbanks

This should be of interest to the U.S. Senate as it debates the Cornyn bill, and to the National Institutes of Health as they evaluate the Public Access Working Group’s latest recommendations. The US citizens want access to taxpayer funded research…

According to the WSJ Online:

“A majority of U.S. adults say federally funded research findings on health issues and other topics should be available for free to doctors and the general public, according to a recent Harris Interactive poll.

In an online survey of 2,501 U.S. adults, more than 80% of Americans say they agree strongly or somewhat that research should be available for free via the Internet because the research is paid for with U.S. tax dollars.

In addition, 81% of Americans say they agree strongly or somewhat that access to such research data will help those living with a chronic illness or disability to get the latest information that might assist them.

And 62% of Americans say they agree strongly or somewhat that making the information available online and for free “will help speed up finding potential cures for diseases,” compared to 10% who disagree somewhat or strongly.

Bird Flu and Data Sharing

May 30th, 2006 by John Wilbanks

Thanks to Eric Kansa of the Alexandria Archive for the forward.

From last week’s washington post:

As fears of an influenza pandemic grow, a struggle has emerged between experts who believe the latest genetic data on the H5N1 bird flu virus should be made public immediately and others who fear that such a policy would alienate the countries collecting virus samples and the scientists analyzing them.

The issue may come to a head this week at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, the governing body of the World Health Organization. Health ministers from more than 190 countries will consider a resolution that would require them to provide flu data and virus samples to the scientific community “in a timely manner.”

The key quote:
“Science just moves more rapidly when you share the data openly,” said Steven L. Salzberg, a computer scientist at the University of Maryland and a leader of the Influenza Genome Sequencing Project at the National Institutes of Health.

Citation Advantage of Open Access Articles

May 23rd, 2006 by John Wilbanks

The authors say it all:

“We found strong evidence that, even in a journal that is widely available in research libraries, OA articles are more immediately recognized and cited by peers than non-OA articles published in the same journal. OA is likely to benefit science by accelerating dissemination and uptake of research findings.

Of course, the whole article is online under a Creative Commons license.

The Argument For Computational Open Access

May 10th, 2006 by John Wilbanks

From a chapter of a forthcoming book, Cliff Lynch lays out a compelling argument for computational open access. This is exactly what we’re talking about in the Neurocommons project. You can also read the whole chapter.

“As the scholarly literature moves to digital form, what is actually needed to move beyond a system that just replicates all of our assumptions that this literature is only read, and read
only by human beings, one article at a time? What is needed to permit the creation of digital libraries hosting these materials that moves beyond the “incunabular” view of the literature, to
use Greg Crane’s very provocative recent characterization. What is needed to allow the application of computational technologies to extract new knowledge, correlations and hypotheses from
collections of scholarly literature?”