Opening the Doors to Research: Open Access is changing the way we learn about research

Opening the Doors to Research: Open Access is changing the way we learn about research discoveries, University of Toronto Medicine, v. 5, issue 3, Feb 2010

Article starts on p. 15.


James Till, the University of Toronto Emeritus Professor of Medical Biophysics best known for demonstrating—with Ernest McCulloch, Emeritus Professor of Medicine—the existence of stem cells, is the type of high-profile researcher best served by the traditional system of peer-review publishing. Yet he is one of the strongest advocates for the alternative open access (OA) movement that is gaining momentum in the research world.

“In biomedical science, open resources like PubMed (a biomedical search engine from the U.S. National Library of Medicine) and GenBank (a collection of all the publicly available nucleotide sequences and their protein translations) have helped researchers to understand and appreciate the benefits of OA.
There has also been increasing recognition that OA has the potential to foster collaborations in multidisciplinary areas, including collaborations of the kind needed to accelerate the translation of new knowledge into innovative practical applications,”according to Till.

. . .Research carried out by U of T Professor Gunther Eysenbach (Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation and a senior scientist at the University Health Net¬work) found three main advantages to making medical research openly accessible: faster uptake within a discipline, measureable by citations; increased knowledge transfer to other disciplines; and increased information transfer to other end users who would not normally read scientific journals, including policy makers, physicians and patients. Many funding agencies worldwide have started to see these advantages, and are introducing policies that encourage open access to research results they have supported.