Thursday, December 13, 2012

Why we need open access--$192.95

My kid, a 7th grader, is doing some research for his science class.  He randomly picked a biome from a hat, and it was the Neritic Zone in the ocean.   The assignment asked him to pick a species that lives in that zone, so he chose the Conus Geographus (Geography Cone Snail) which lives in the Great Barrier Reef (and other places, too). 

So, going to the handy dandy Google Scholar database, we looked at the first 12 articles for the Conus Geographus to see which might be useful. Six of the twelve are freely available, but we have to pay for the other six from the publisher.  If I was not affiliated with a place that has access to a lot of scientific journals, I might think that I would have to pay $192.95 for those other six articles. (I did not see green OA versions of those six articles, either.) This is the reason why we need more open access to research and scholarship.  Science research is NOT just needed by scholars who work at subscribing universities. 

If I was not affiliated with a university, I would just ignore those articles that are hidden behind paywalls.  Too bad that the ACS journals and some of the Elsevier journals would not get used by the 7th grader.  Actually, one of the Elsevier journals had some of their articles freely available.  Thanks FEBS Letters.

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