The glory and the gory of Open Science
Gaining momentum with the new coronavirus case is the risks and benefits of open science. Institutions, researchers and publishers alike have pledged alliance to the open access of research findings (with WHO being the intermediate), inspite the baggage of instantaneous benefits and risk factors that comes attached.
As the world sees some lightening-fast collaborations bypassing traditional research curation processes and political barriers, bad science is exploiting the spotlight feeding to the cacophony of conspiracy theorists on the internet. A paper published by IIT (later withdrawn due to its poor technical approach and inaccurate interpretation of results) is now being blown out of proportion with conspiracy theorists going as far as headlining that “scientists confirm the virus man-made”. Aided by social media, scientific chatter and premature findings are circulating faster and more freely, for better or for worse, calling for some much needed best practices for Open Science.
An old idea creating new controversy?
The call for improving the supply of scholarly content has been making rounds since early 90s and 4 decades later, its cost-benefit is an ongoing debate. Over the last two years alone, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy held nearly 100 meetings with key stakeholders in its efforts to improve public access to U.S. taxpayer funded research. Prominent Researchers, universities and publishers (amongst other voices of the research community) were consulted before the White House issued a notice on Wednesday that it is “still seeking public input on the topic”.