Open Science and Access to Medical Research

Jalees Rehman in Scientific American:

RehmanThe idea of open science goes beyond merely providing public access to published scientific articles because it also includes offering access to the original research data. This would permit fellow researchers to help evaluate and analyze the results, so that the broader scientific community as well as the public can weigh in on the interpretation of the scientific findings. This aspect of open science likely does qualify for being a true paradigm shift, because it will require that we think of ourselves as part of research communities and usher in “networked discovery”, as has been described in a recent book by Michael Nielson and discussed by Bora Zivkovic.

There are still many obstacles that need to be addressed before “open science” becomes generally accepted. Academic publishers currently reap significant profits from selling high-priced annual subscriptions to academic institutions, and they would lose this income if scientists started publishing their results in open-access journals that freely provide articles to readers without charging for subscriptions or per-article fees. Furthermore, academic institutions and individual scientists may be concerned about how they would apply for patents, if the discovery process is networked and involves score sof collaborating scientists.

More here.