At Open-Access Meeting, Advocates Emphasize the Impact of Sharing Knowledge

On November 11, Jennifer Howard writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Impact, not ideology, was the watchword at the Berlin 9 Open Access Conference, held here on Wednesday and Thursday at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The 260 high-level researchers, fund providers, and open-access advocates who attended didn’t waste time bashing publishers who keep research behind paywalls. (Some commercial publishers, including Elsevier, attended.) Instead they focused on the benefits of putting research—in the humanities and social sciences as well as in the sciences—quickly and freely into the hands of scholars, students, innovators, and the general public.

“One or two people in this room will die in the next five years because of research that didn’t make its way to clinics fast enough,” one presenter, Cameron Neylon, told the crowd. Mr. Neylon, a biophysicist, is a senior scientist at Britain’s Science and Technology Facilities Council. He spoke at a session on how open access can create new opportunities for business as well as for scholarship. “This is not about ideology anymore,” it’s about creating the best, most efficient mechanisms for getting research to those who need it, he said.

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