Access for everyone… Yes! But How and Why?

Open Access Week 2019

As the access to information is easier as the years goes on, we need to settle down and ask ourselves why this information is needed, and how it has to be spread.

On February, 15th of 2007 started the Open Access Week movement. We can count the years, but the improvements it made for research, scientists, and knowledge spreading are uncountable. We are extremely proud to be part of it since october 2011. How far Open Access awareness have been lately? On february, the editor Elsevier and the University of California could not arrive to any sort of happy ending. The university cancelled all the subscription from Elsevier, arguing that the editor was not involved enough in open access, and that subscription fees were too high. It Echoes The Cost of Knowledge, an initiative started by scientists to boycott Elsevier’s publications”.

On this note only, editors could be seen as devils, but as always, there are many shades between black and white. Springer Nature, signed a Master of Understanding with Projekt DEAL, who gather more than 700 universities and schools. The contract is said to be “the most open access frendly contract in the world”, and aims to publish more than 13,000 free articles per year, between 2019 and 2022. This enjoyable note could be shadowed by the Article Processing Charges, which could see their amount increased, even if it is only 3,5 more (source)

In France, Elsevier came to a similar deal with the Consortium Couperin on september the 23rd of 2019. Even if the subscription fees could drop to 13%, which is historical for the record, Couperin and French scientists may not appreciate some clauses made by Elsevier on open access. 

 

Open to whom? good question.

 

Today, along with this year theme, it is important to acknowledge why open access is important. Open for whom? This question, although quite simple, resonate within our minds, and settle with a deep message: who truly have access to knowledge? The open access movement carry a noble purpose of scattering scientific awareness, but it is every participant duty to make sure it is equally distributed. We can make scientific data free, but it do not have any impact if population are cut from information means. Science is craving for alternates ways of thinking, new “mind set up” to explore further and beyond actual cutting edge technology. the 22 of october, MyScienceWork, in collaboration with Opscidia and La Paillasse on the occasion of Open Access Week will discuss about it. Opscidia is a brand new open access platform that publish peer-reviewed scientific article. 

 

Access for everyone…Yes! But How and Why?

The cornerstone of the week: we agreed everyone needs free access to information, but how can we make it happen? Why is it mandatory? A path to an efficient way into information access is to use the right platform. It should be user friendly of course, but with every type of user. Not only researchers, used to academic lexical, but also companies, start-ups, biohackers and simply curious people. It therefore needs a good user experience coupled with a strong software that can sort, compile and classify data. At MyScienceWork, we develop Polaris OS in this exact purpose.

All this of course have a cost. Then why this kind of expend, when we could merely throw the raw data on the web? What if the answers to our century’s biggest problems are trapped inside the mind of someone that can’t freely consult or publish? It may be a bet, and the odds are not granted, but we won’t lose anything while trying. For this reason there should not be a hierarchy in scientific breakthrough access.

 

Horizon 2020 : where are we now ?

Started in 2014, H2020 is the european program for research and development. In 2018, the European Commission announced more than twenty thematics added to the field of research, and a new kind of axis : transversal. It has the purpose to merge differents domain of research in order to cover a maximum of studies. This year, so as to prepare Horizon Europe (2021 - 2027), H2020 launched an online consultation in order to maintain a co-conception aspect to the project. (Source)

 

Sci-Hub, open access yes, but at what cost?

Alexandra Elbakyan created Sci-Hub in 2011. People from around the world can have a free access to scientific publication on the website. Student and researchers have praised this initiative, allowing them to keep their work going without having to tighten their belt too hard at the end of the month. This free access is the bright side. On a darker note, Alexandra is now accused of stealing data from editor, and have to live in Russia, out of reach from american justice. Is open access a good enough reason to act as an outlaw? Are the reactions from editors out of proportion?

Those questions are debatable, and you are more than welcome to attend to our debates on the 22 of october. Meet us in La Paillasse!

 

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