The Future of Science is Open

Bill Hooker has posted a series of three very interesting articles, on: I) Open Access; II) Open Science; and, III) An Open Science World. Here, I’ll pay particular attention to the first article of the series, on Open Access, and especially to the list of benefits of Open Access. I’ve included some selected excerpts from the text, just to highlight some of the points that are made.

I) The Future of Science is Open, Part 1: Open Access. 3 Quarks Daily, Bill Hooker, 30 Oct. 2006.

Benefits of Open Access:

1. Maximal research efficiency. Excerpt: “The usual version of Linus’ Law says that given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow — meaning that with enough people co-operating on a development process, nearly every problem will be rapidly discovered and solved. The same is clearly true of complex research problems. and OA provides a powerful framework for co-operation.”

2. Maximal return on public investment. Excerpt: “Why should taxpayers pay twice, once to support the research and then again when the scientists they are funding need access to the literature? More importantly, open access to a body of knowledge makes that knowledge more available and useful to researchers, physicians, manufacturers, inventors and others who make of it the various socially desirable outcomes, such as advances in health care, that government funding of research is intended to produce.”

3. Advantages for authors. Excerpt: “There is a large and steadily growing body of evidence showing that OA measurably increases citation indices (that is, the number of times other papers refer to a given article).”

4. Advantages for publishers. Excerpt: “the benefits that accrue to authors of OA works also work to the advantage of publishers: more widely read, used and cited articles translates to more submissions and a wider audience for advertising, paid editorials and other value-add schemes.”

5. Advantages for administrators. Excerpt: “Open access, by removing the subscription barriers that splinter the research literature into inaccessible proprietary islands, raises the possibility of vast improvements in our ability to measure and manage scientific productivity.”

6. Scalability. Excerpt: “For end users to keep pace with the explosive growth of available information, the cost of access has to be kept down to the cost of getting online.”

II) The Future of Science is Open, Part 2: Open Science. 3 Quarks Daily, Bill Hooker, 27 Nov. 2006.

For what I am calling Open Science to work, there are (I think) at least two further requirements: open standards, and open licensing.”

III) The Future of Science is Open, Part 3: An Open Science World. 3 Quarks Daily, Bill Hooker, 22 Jan. 2007.

Here I want to move from ideas to applications, and take a look at what kinds of Open Science are already happening and where such efforts might lead. Open Science is very much in its infancy at the moment; we don’t know precisely what its maturity will look like, but we have good reason to think we’ll like it.”

I urge anyone who is interested in Open Access and Open Science to read each of these articles.


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