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How easy can YOU find the information you need?

February 20, 2012 - 12:31 -- Tom Olijhoek

A new website has just been launched where people can tell their personal stories on how they have benefitted from access to research, or suffered from the lack of it.  The new site is called Who needs access? You need access? has been developed by Mike Taylor who is an active member of the @ccess community.  Its goal is to tell stories of many different kinds of people — teachers, doctors, artists, politicians, entrepreneurs — who need access to research papers.

 

The main reason to set up a dedicated website is to demonstrate that Open Access is not just an issue for academics, but affects ALL of us. Access to research concerns us all, helps us all. It makes all our lives better: it makes us healthier, better governed and better educated; it lets us live in a cleaner environment, a more civilised society and a healthier economy. The site aims at being a focal point for increasing people’s awareness on the need for open access to all research. And by this we mean people in general not just scientists.

 

We believe that the more people will be able to share their knowledge, the more this interaction can and will lead, in often unanticipated ways,  to new roads in science and to innovative approaches in the application of scientific results.

 

We also firmly believe that especially the output of publicly funded research should be available for everyone to read, from dentists to small businesses and students to citizen scientists. Most importantly, it should be available to YOU. We know how much,for example, patient groups value access to scientific knowledge and how rapidly the latest findings turn over. Instant access is crucial, as a patient you want rapid progress for yourselves, your relatives and friends. We also plan to develop tools to assist access to disease specific research and enable communities of scientists like MalariaWorld and patient groups to interact with the scientific literature more easily. And we want to demonstrate to funding agencies, policy makers, publishers and the general public just how important open access to this kind of information is, to ensure that we take positive steps towards universal access to research.

 

For all this to come true, we need your help. Tell us your story of how access to the scientific literature has helped you or someone you know - maybe even saved a life. Do you have an example of where lack of access to research has been detrimental to someone's research, treatment or wellbeing? We want to provide a platform for these stories to raise awareness among people who may only understand open access as an academic movement.

 

To contribute, please visit the Website Who Needs Access, or contact mike@indexdata.com,  tomolijhoek@malariastichting.nl or jenny.molloy@okfn.org.

 

We are also very interested to hear from people who would like to help guide the development of tools for patient groups to discover, discuss and share research, particularly by suggesting features you would find useful. You can follow @ccess by joining our mailing list http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/open-access