Monday, March 09, 2020

Unlock Research Now!

Imagine a world where research on COVID-19 were only available to an exclusive club.

Imagine a world where all medical research and breakthroughs were only available to the rich.

Imagine a world where you lost access to most of the globe's research the moment you graduate from the University of Redlands.

Actually you don't need to imagine this because that's the world we currently live in. If we weren't facing a potential pandemic, research on COVID-19 would be locked behind paywalls. You know, paywalls, those pesky things that tell you to pay around $35 to access an article or chapter.

If you think everyone should be able to freely-access research, let OSTP know.

Our federal Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is considering making federally-funded research freely available and needs to hear from you by April 6! (The original deadline was extended.) They basically want to know three things. They're listed below with a few suggestions to consider in your responses.

1. When doing research, what barriers do you face, and what can be done about it? 

  • How does this affect you, your learning and research? What's your story?
  • What do you think about the government spending $billions of taxpayer money on research that gets locked behind paywalls?
  • Are you okay with the fact that once you graduate, you lose all the access to research that you had as a student?

2. What can federal agencies do to make taxpayer-funded research freely and publicly available?

  • Currently there's a one-year delay before making such research available. How would it help you to remove this delay?
  • Increasingly authors and publishers are using open licenses to communicate to users of information, what can and can't be done with that information. Including an open license can enable others to do text mining.

3. How would America benefit, lead, and compete scientifically by making research freely and publicly available?

  • Other countries (in Latin America, Europe, Africa) are opening up their research to boost the visibility of their research and engage in economic competition.
  • Open access would help small businesses and start-ups who have fewer resources, compete in existing markets.
  • Innovation doesn't happen in a vacuum; opening up access to research helps potential partners find each other.

When responding, be sure to thank the OSTP and follow their directions: "Submission must not exceed 5 pages in 12 point or larger font, with a page number provided on each page. Responses should include the name of the person(s) or organization(s) filing the comment."

Thank you!
Paige Mann (on behalf of Armacost Library)
STEM Librarian | Scholarly Communications Librarian

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