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Open Access, Publishers profit and the medical community

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A manifesto, by a student of the activist coalition RightToResearch.

These days there is continuous discussion on ways to improve the efficiency, quality, and cost-effectiveness of healthcare.

I would argue that one of the most neglected and important ways to improve our healthcare delivery and innovation is by opening access to research. “Open Access” is the free, immediate, unrestricted availability of high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship over the Internet … (…)

6 arguments:

  1. Education: The gap in access to up to date information diminishes our ability as students to educate ourselves. Furthermore, this gap in access is likely to grow. In the current era of budget cuts at public universities and hospitals, expensive journal subscriptions make an attractive target of cost savings. So where does this leave student education? With an even larger gap in access, the majority of students will be unable to fully access information crucial to our education
  2. Patient care: This gap in information access is even larger in private practice where doctors often only subscribe to a handful of journals due to cost restrictions
  3. Innovation: Research thrives on the sharing of ideas, and research careers are made by publishing widely read articles that inspire other people’s research or change the way we practice healthcare. For the author, the goal of publishing an article is to move patient care or medical innovation forward, not to have a list of unread articles serving as bullet points on a resume. Increasing open access to research allows for a free exchange of ideas serving both the goals of the researcher and the benefit of students and patients
  4. Patient’s right: None of these (alternative) sources (wikipedia, wesites, etc.) provide reliable information to patients. In fact, I would argue these resources only increase the duress of patients and families by providing views that often contradict the information provided by the doctor without providing an evidence base
  5. Global Health Equity: Open access to research would be another step towards reducing steep health disparities in developing countries
  6. Public investment: The vast majority of medical research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, a federal organization funded by you, the taxpayer. Why do we invest our public dollars in research? To improve patient care and medical innovation, of course – an outcome that only happens when students, physicians, researchers, and patients have open access to research

Anderson, Tim. 6 reasons Open Access matters to the Medical community. The Right To Research Coalition blog. Online, posted on: April 2011.


Written by hbasset

April 26, 2011 at 7:29 pm

One Response

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  1. As a layperson, why wouldn’t the medical community want to help spread the information to their doctors and medical students? With the Internet medical information growing exponentially, why “have a list of unread articles serving as bullet points on a resume?” There’s plenty of information to go around! It’s time to share the wealth!


    April 27, 2011 at 11:59 pm

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