Sunday, April 24, 2016

Is Open Access To Research Biden's Answer To Curing Cancer?; Forbes, 4/22/16

Lindsey Tepe, Forbes; Is Open Access To Research Biden's Answer To Curing Cancer? :
"Vice President Joe Biden sees hope beyond the horizon for cancer research. As the man tapped by President Obama to tackle the disease with a new “cancer moonshot,” Biden addressed the nation’s leading cancer experts at their annual research meeting this week by invoking an example from outer space—the Hubble Telescope—and laying out an exciting vision for open research in the process.
The Hubble Space Telescope mission promised to bring into focus faraway objects, celestial bodies beyond the view of astronomers. But when it was first launched in 1990, a faulty mirror blurred the telescope’s vision—it wasn’t until three years later that the NASA team was able, using tiny mirrors, to improve its sight and take its first, sharp photographs of the universe. With the addition of improved spectrograph technology a few short years later, the team was able to improve its search for supermassive black holes...
Openness isn’t just an argument for the public interest, though perhaps that’s where it starts. Taxpayers in the United States currently fund almost $5 billion in cancer research annually, with an additional $800 million in the President’s Budget for fiscal year 2017 to support cancer research. Right now, the results of that research are overwhelmingly published in closed journals that can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars to access. When even Harvard can’t keep pace with the rising cost of journal subscriptions, just imagine what that means for everyone else.
Quoting an op-ed published on Monday in Wired by Creative Commons CEO Ryan Merkley, Biden asked the researchers assembled to imagine if, instead, we broke down these barriers to cancer research and made the findings of our public investment openly available to all. Establishing a system of open access—free, immediate access to research articles online, coupled with legal permissions to reuse it—holds the potential to address distorted priorities built into this closed system for publication."

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