University Of Iowa Pushes For ‘Open Access’ To Research

Vanessa Miller | The Gazette | December 3, 2013

Advocates say open access creates new opportunities for ideas, research

A Maryland 16-year-old, inspired by the death of a family friend, recently developed a rapid and inexpensive screening method using Google, Wikipedia and YouTube for certain cancers.

The method has been called faster, cheaper and more sensitive than current diagnostic tests. But Jack Thomas Andraka might not have made the discovery were it not for a growing movement toward scholarly openness.

“Things like that can happen when there aren’t pay walls and barriers to scientific research,” said Chris Diaz, University of Iowa residency librarian for scholarly communications and collections.

“Open access” publishing is breaking down traditional barriers imposed through subscription-based scientific journals by creating new opportunities for ideas and research to be freely shared online. Open access publishers such as the Public Library of Science, BioMed Central and PeerJ are among those in the research community pushing to make open access to scholarly communication the norm.