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Melanie Dulong de Rosnay on opening access to science

July 14th, 2008 by dwentworth

This spring, Harvard’s Berkman Center launched the Publius Project, which ccLearn‘s Jane Park aptly called a “Web 2.0 version of the Federalist papers.” The concept:  a diverse group of thinkers — scholars, technologists, activists and others — would publish essays about the “constitutional” moments shaping Internet governance. The essays, and responses to them, would serve to seed a broader discussion about the choices we’re making as we collectively build the future of the networked world.

Peter Suber penned an essay entitled The Opening of Science and Scholarship, asking who controls peer-reviewed research, and arguing for a future where scholars themselves ensure it is open access (OA). The latest response, written by Berkman Fellow Melanie Dulong de Rosnay, focuses on opening access to scientific research. De Rosnay is the legal lead of Creative Commons France, and works with us here at Science Commons on open data policy. She asks:

How can society take advantage of the opportunities offered by digital publishing and distributing to share scientific results more quickly and thus facilitate the discovery of new knowledge? … Should we simply ensure access to knowledge without paying a fee, or should we do even more to improve that access, such as enhancing legal and technical capabilities for finding, extracting, annotating and compiling information in order to make better use of it?

De Rosnay’s answer:  to take full advantage of OA’s benefits, we should lift all three barriers to access identified in the Budapest Open Access Initiative definition:  financial, legal and technical. That way,  she writes, “researchers and the public can not only access, but also redistribute and reuse materials in any way, including ways that initial creators had not considered.”

In other words, if we want more innovation and discovery to come from OA research, we should be designing for it — publishing research and data in open formats, with the legal rights “baked in” to make use of it.

If you’d like to hear more from de Rosnay, she’ll be giving a presentation on “Openness for Life Science Databases” tomorrow, Tuesday, July 15th, as part of the Berkman Center’s terrific luncheon series. There may still be spots open if you want to join in person, but if not, anyone is free to watch the live webcast or view the archived video when it is posted. You can find all the details here.

2 Responses

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