Guest blog by Jenny Molloy – post graduate research student at the University of Oxford who coordinates the Open Data in Science working group at the Open Knowledge Foundation.
@access plans to develop tools to assist access to disease specific research and enable research communities, healthcare providers and citizens to interact with the scientific literature more easily. We also want to demonstrate to funding agencies, policy makers, publishers and the general public just how important open access to this kind of information is and to ensure that positive steps are taken towards universal access to research.
However, there are no studies that we have found on the direct effect of lack of access to the primary medical research literature on patient outcomes (such a study would be very difficult to design) but there is enough anecdotal evidence for us to believe that open access saves lives.
To strengthen this assertion we are collecting stories of how open access to the scientific literature directly helped in a diagnosis or treatment – maybe even saved a life or on the other hand, a specific scenario where a lack of access was harmful. An example of the kind of story @access are looking for can be found in this article: Open Access to Scientific Research—Sharing Information, Saving Lives
We want to provide a public platform for these stories to raise awareness of the problem of access to the primary literature, which we know forms only a small part of the wider problem of access to medical and healthcare information but does play an important role in that knowledge ecosystem.
If you can contribute with your story or would like to help guide the development of tools for researchers and medical professional to discover, discuss and share open access research – particularly by suggesting features you would find useful, then please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many thanks for your time and I hope some of you will have experiences that you wish to share.