Harvard University has been running an open-access repository for many years. It’s called DASH (Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard).
Today they’re launching Your Story Matters, a collection of many hundreds of short testimonials of how free access to Harvard researchers’ publications has helped state legislators, TV producers, community-college lecturers, preachers, high-school teachers, parents of autistic children, dieticians and many, many others do their jobs more efficiently and more effectively.
As Peter Suber says:
These stories volunteered by the users of our open-access repository are the best evidence that OA serves real people with real needs, that OA meets unmet demand, that the demand unmet by conventional journals includes academic and non-academic readers.
It’s great that this site is now online, helping us to appreciate some of the vast opportunity cost of keeping research locked behind paywalls.
Ms. Sunanda Shitole is an agricultural officer in the Department of Agriculture, Karnataka (India) and is currently posted at Biocontrol Laboratory of the State Department of Agriculture, Dharwad (Karnataka).
She works on biocontrol agents such as the Pseudomonas bacteria for control of soil-borne pathogens, the Trichoderma fungus against fungal diseases of plants and Trichogramma (polyphagous wasps, which are endoparasitoids of insect eggs) against lepidopteran pests. For the last five years, she has been working as a biologist culturing these biocontrol agents and making them available to farmers through her office.
Satyabrata Maiti, Ph.D is a Plant Pathologist by education and Medicinal and Aromatic Plants specialist by profession. He currently holds the post of Director at the Directorate of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Research (DMAPR) in India which is part of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi. To promote research on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in India and to disseminate the research worldwide, he established a scholarly society, the Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Association of India (MAPAI), and launched an Open Access Journal of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (OAJMAP). It is the first of its kind in the ICAR. Now the journal has published the first issue of its third volume since launch and is indexed by various agencies like DOAJ, Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE), CABI, Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), Google Scholar, Open J-Gate, Scopus and Scirus.
We interviewed him by email about his work, the institute and the journal on the occasion of DMAPR’s foundation day.
Niek Huizenga is a Dutch entrepreneur, 30 years young, (almost) married and living in Groningen (the Netherlands). During his studies — BSc. in IT and MSc. in Business & Economics — he started several businesses. He divides his time between studying and working in the Netherlands and working in various African countries. We talked to him about his strategies for finding information, the usefulness of open access, and the difficulties that people in Africa experience finding the right information.
M-CM stands for macrocephaly-capillary malformation. It is a rare genetic syndrome first identified by researchers in 1997.
Could you tell us a little about the M-CM Network and how it was formed?
When my daughter, Signe, who is now 2 and a half years old, was diagnosed with M-CM, there was already a strong patient support community online facilitated by a family in England. The Internet and social networking largely solved the problem of connecting patients to each other without the need for a formal organization or fundraising. Because peer support was taken care of, our own organization was founded to accelerate research and make it easier to get clear, reliable information about M-CM.
AnnMaria De Mars is President and founder of the Julia Consulting Group based in Santa Monica. She’s worked in both academia and business. We talked to her about how access to research affects her consulting business, and her reaction to the Research Works Act
Could you tell us a little about the Julia Group and what you do?
We mostly do statistical consulting, contracted research and customized programming. We were originally a satellite office of Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc., founded around 2000. We spun off as a separate company in 2008.
Mark Bisby is an ex-professor, ex-civil servant. He ran his own lab in physiology and neuroscience for 25 years, and then joined the Medical Research Council of Canada just before it transitioned into the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), where he became VP Research. There, beyond his own specialty knowledge, he learned a great deal about the importance of other approaches to health research such as population health, and health services research. Mark retired six years ago, but like so many people seems to have been just as active since! We asked him how he’s using his broad knowledge and experience. Continue reading →
The Institute of Development Studies (IDS), based in the UK, is a leading global charity for international development research, teaching and communications. Alistair Scott is an Information Systems Manager with its Mobilising Knowledge for Development (MK4D) programme.
Alistair explains what they do:
We work with partners in developing countries to build a bridge from research to policy and practice. We do this by delivering open access information products and services such as Joto Afrika – an East African briefing series on Climate Change Adaptation which was developed jointly between ourselves and the Kenyan organisation ALIN (Arid Lands Information Network).
In his professional life, BJ Nicholls is an advertising designer; but in his spare time he, along with is wife Lori, is a volunteer fossil preparator at the Natural History Museum of Utah. What does that entail?
Most fossil discoveries require a tremendous amount of preparation work after a specimen is excavated. Fossils are typically brought back to preparation labs with little of the fossil exposed. We’ve been trained to remove the surrounding rock (called matrix) and to stabilize fossil bones that are often in very poor condition.
Eric Johnson is an engineering professional working as a patent facilitator for a multinational company. One of his jobs is to find information and “connect the dots” related to intellectual property of competitors, to develop research strategies for his company. He is also a multiple occurrence Testicular Cancer survivor who used the medical literature to research his condition and inform his treatment.
I do not believe I would be alive today if it were not for the information that can only be accessed by the layman (patient) in online sources.