Archive:Open access

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About open access


Major Iniatives

Do you want more?!?



MIT offers their course materials for free through the MIT OpenCourseWare initiative.

Quote from Peter Suber

We spoke briefly at the "Knowledge Held Hostage" meeting last month in Philadelphia. I wondered whether you'd be willing to add a page about the open-access movement, or at least some links, somewhere on the Free Culture site. You seemed agreeable. It would wonderful if students could be energized for free online research literature as much as they are for free online music and other forms of digital content.

Info Dump


I have a lot of links on the high and rising prices for textbooks. Let me know if you'd like them as well.


Here's one of my favorites: The genome of the SARS virus was sequenced in about *seven days*, thanks to free and open data sharing by research teams in Canada and the US. By contrast, sequencing the AIDS virus took three years (granted, it was done at a time with less sophisticated tools).


Here's the connection to OA. Under the current model, people only have access to cutting edge medical research literature if they buy subscriptions or have access privileges through an employer that buys subscriptions. Universities with medical schools have a good collection of medical journals, of course, and their students and faculty have subsidized access. But even these schools can't afford to subscribe to the full range of available journals. And the problem is getting worse all the time: journal prices have been rising four times faster than inflation for the past two decades, <>. Researchers at universities without medical schools have access to much less. Practicing physicians have access to even less. Individual patients and their families have access to even less.

Here's a little digression.

Non-OA journals charge subscriptions, and the subscription price is an access barrier. It would still be an access barrier if the price was low, but the average price in the sciences is high and getting higher. (See link above; prices in the humanities are still fairly low.) This is often called the pricing crisis, the serials crisis, the serials pricing crisis, the scholarly communication crisis --you'll find many names for it in the literature. I'd be glad to send you more links about the pricing crisis if you like. One family of solutions tries to make journals affordable again. OA finds new ways to pay the bills so that journals are completely free of charge for every user with an internet connection, just as broadcast television is free of charge for every user with a TV. OA also has ways to disseminate articles from high-priced journals in free online archives.