International Open Access Week 2013 took place during the week of October 21-27 this year, and the impact of the movement could be felt with the vast dissemination of posts and articles from librarians, researchers, academics, and advocates around the world who are working to promote the ‚Äúunrestricted access and unrestricted reuse‚ÄĚ of peer-reviewed research literature.
In a very helpful post, Viry Santamaria from the Grupo de Gesti√≥ de la Informaci√≥ en Ci√©ncies de la Salut (GICS) lays out the fundamental concepts behind Open Access as well as the various initiatives and declarations, beginning with the 2001 PLoS Open Letter, that have been made in favor of open access to knowledge. Although there has been growing use of open access publishing in the past years, further steps are needed to encourage institutional support and monitoring, from research center managers, funding bodies, and the Government, in order to encourage adherence to declarations such as the Budapest Open Access Initiative as well as the promotion of mandates that explicitly point to the importance of openly publishing research results.
Why is open access so important to access to medicines and health innovation advocates?
As highlighted in the HAI-TACD document on the EU‚Äôs role in health innovation, ‚Äúcurrent expensive medical journals and high data access fees all prevent timely and wide use of crucial health-related information.‚ÄĚ This report points to the importance of increasing open access to publicly funded research results which could lead to a more efficient and productive research system worldwide.
All stakeholders have an important role to play in the promotion of best practices when it comes to Open Access. The scientific community can encourage within their centers that the results of publicly funded research are published in peer-reviewed Open Access Journals and Repositories. Public and private funding institutions can condition funding so that the findings, research tools, clinical trial data and journal articles are widely accessible and are open to free exchange. While it is a great advance that, for the first time, open access to scientific publications resulting from EU Framework Programme support will be mandatory, continued monitoring is needed to improve and promote the dissemination of knowledge.
What are your thoughts on Open Access?
Does your research institution incorporate recommendations found in Open Access initiatives and declarations?¬†
For an Open Access Overview: http://legacy.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/overview.htm
 ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† PLoS. Open Letter. http://www.plos.org/about/what-is-plos/early-history/
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Health Action International & Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue. ‚ÄúTime for the EU to lead on Innovation: EU policy opportunities in biomedical innovation and the promotion of public knowledge goods.‚ÄĚ http://haieurope.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/HAI-Europe_TACD-EU-Innovation-Paper.pdf
 ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† So, A.D. (2009) ‚ÄúBetween Pull and Pools, Where‚Äôs the ‚ÄėPush‚Äô for Global Health R&D?‚ÄĚ Global Forum Update on Research for Health Volume 6, the Global Forum for Health Research, 119-122. Available at: http://mercury.ethz.ch/serviceengine/Files/ISN/112343/ichaptersection_singledocument/4f56d9b4-5ce9-4484-b2cf-94abafe7f705/en/chapter+21.pdf