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Blog Posting Assignment #3 (Due by the beginning of Class 7, May 1, 2014)

For this assignment you need to read the NYTimes article "Cracking open the scientific access" by Thomas Lin (available from Blackboard, Readings folder), and also watch a VERY short movie clip about open access at the University at Albany, in which our own University at Albany faculty members present their own vision of open access and what it means to the academic community.

Write a one-two paragraph about your own understanding of open access. You can use questions below as a starting point or simply address them one by one.

1. Did any of the articles that you found for this class happen to be in open access? How can (or cannot) you tell?

2. Would open access affect science literacy one way or the other, i.e. would it help more people to gain understanding of scientific information, or is the idea of open access just for scientists to pay attention to?

3. Remember that scientific research is often proprietary, and not every success in the lab is shared with the world. There are patents involved, and other issues that might complicate sharing. Is this the world you prefer to function as a young scientist, or can you envision a different model? (It's OK to want to file for a patent!)

Your answers should be written in complete sentences (seven-eight at least) and present a good example of college writing. This assignment can gain you maximum 40 points.


Overall, I feel that open access could have a lot of positive effects on the scientific community. With open access, it would make relevant scientific information available to anyone who seeks it and not just exclusively scientists who are willing to pay.I, for example struggled to find accessible articles for this class. If open access were more readily available, it would have made my life a lot easier. I envision a system a lot like twitter in the future of science. That is, every little thing that someone feels like sharing, whether it be a minor discovery in the lab or a major breakthrough, can be put online into a feed that anyone can see. This could have drastic economic effects as patented research would become effectively obsolete. However with worsening economic conditions in the present, it would make life for college students and young scientists a lot easier.

Grant McLenithan
Professor. Holden
UNL 206X Information Literacy in the Sciences
30 April 2014
One is capable of determining if an article is open access as they exist as a system in which one has a direct access to information that has been made publics. Open access in terms of science literacy would better allow a larger community to come to understand the new incoming scientific information on a consistent basis. On the other hand as open access information is not peer reviewed for the most part, there is a possibility of the scientific information they are presented with may not be accurate. While open access is good for quickly sharing scientific research, the information shared to the public often is nonpartisan. Therefore the open access appeals to those who have already established themselves in the scientific community, if a young scientist would like to appear serious with their work they would most likely seek to see their work published in a journal rather than an open access site. Scientists may possibly be researching a sensitive or profitable topic discussion thus preferring going through the patent and scientific journal system may be preferable than present it to the world on an open access site.

In this class, we have gone through numerous articles that ranged to how plants live on a daily basis to what the different type of pollution's. From my perspective, I believe that most of the articles that we read and were in fact open access because we were able to access them with ease without having to go through different channels to get them. But, from having all of this information open to us, I do believe that it could hurt the science literacy world because information that may be wrong can be put out into the world which may cause people to receive the wrong information. This may cause people that are looking for information for health to not be able to fully get the medical knowledge that they need to maybe survive.
But, I believe that if people are able to come up with similar ideas that we can make the science world a better one for everyone. Because of that, I believe that the world that is better off without having patents because it sometimes makes it harder for people to make new inventions that might better the lives of others.

Old ways are hard to kick sometimes. And that it is really prevalent in the world of Scientific Journals. That world currently is run by charging for information, having scientists compete against each other for more grant money to fund their work by making journals that itself costs to publish. And for the average person, it costs us too, to just view them. However, there are alternatives shown that can allow for public viewing of these articles free-of-charge. Open Access, for example, has caught the attention in our school as an alternative to present information to students. Another example is ResearchGate, a sort of social networking site that acts like a huge forum for scientists to discuss theories, ask questions and share information to one another. When I looked for journals to cite, most of them needed a subscription of some sort to view the article as a whole, allowing me to just see the abstract. However, some journal companies allowed the viewing of the journal articles in full. I liked reading some of them but I felt that in some way I was taking away what the scientists worked for. I wondered, how could someone make a living off this when I'm looking at this for free? The old and still modern method was to do research and publish what you found in a Journal Magazine to show what has been done. From there, grant money could possibly be issued and the process repeats. Patents can also be issued and work published in journals allowed scientists to gain recognition and a reputation. This is what drives research. But, to have Open Access can mean for loss of money and recognition skewed (maybe). It will be hard to figure out a model that will please everyone. Free sharing is the way of the future, but the specifics aren't well drawn out at the moment. But at least people are talking about it and that's a start.

For the push to allow the public, all/everyone, to view journals is all good in a sense that anyone can read it. But, not many regular people I know read journals like the one I have to read for my biology classes, like the ones many scientists work hard to get published. It takes a good understanding of the material for people to understand what the journal is trying to say and express to the reader. Nonetheless, I feel it should still be open as anything may drive a person to read the journals, to increase their knowledge in a question they probably have. Free sharing is mainly for those with a scientific hunger to read and think about the findings people around the world are finding each day.

1. I do not know if any of the articles were on open access because this is the first time I have heard about it and if any were from open access I did not notice or know what it was.
2. I suppose it would depend on the person and how they were looking to use the program. I do not think it would make more people interested in science, but it would certainly help those who are interested learn more about their topic.
3. If i was a scientist, I would want my research to be private and patented. There are a number of reasons why it is better this way. Some research may be hazardous, profitable, copy-able, or not economically efficient in the present situation. For example, if a scientist creates a deadly virus, it should not be released. Although cures for diseases should be given to the public, there are many reasons why cures are not available, even if a solution is achieved.

Open access is unrestricted online access to research that has been done. It is free immediate access that makes it very accessible to anyone. It is a better way for people to save money when buying textbooks. Since textbook prices are rising ‘ open access’ seems like a better way to still get the same quality of information without having to pay the big price.
I believe that open access would help more people to gain an understanding of scientific information because it would broaden peoples understanding of things. Scientists wouldn't only be the ones who benefit from this and could be useful for everyone. Having scientific research proprietary is a good idea because then your work would not be replicated or used by someone else. Having a patent for your work makes it your own and if you want to use it then the owner has the discretion of whether to share the information or not.

I think open access would have a tremendous affect on science literacy being that there is a lot of skepticism and misinformation among the non scientific community of everyday people, therefore making open access more available to the common person will open them to a world that was so traditionally guarded and exclusive. The more these publications become available, more people will have the exposure to read them and make better informed decisions based on scholarly factual supported data. It will also help students strengthen their research and knowledge. However, the only main issue one would run into is that the necessary revenue the publishers need to cover costs will be lost. So maybe they can implement some sort of agreement that;s effective for both parties. I don't think any articles I have come across were through open access. I believe it would have been labeled as such. I think as the world evolves, the internet is going to become a more important and efficient tool for the scientific community. So laws and regulations need to adjust to this emerging world with respect to patented material.

1)I have found many articles for this class that was in open access. I could tell they were open access because I did not need to pay for access.

2)I think that open access journals and other works will allow people to gain a better understanding of scientific information which will also increase their interest in science.

3)I would prefer to function in a world where everyone shares their findings but in today's society that does not seem practical as many more issues will arise. I think scientist should continue to file patents for their works.

1. Did any of the articles that you found for this class happen to be in open access? How can (or cannot) you tell?

Some of the articles I found for this class happened to be in open access especially the online articles. I could tell because I did not have to pay to view them where as for some others, I had to subscribe to the website to have access to their material.

2. Would open access affect science literacy one way or the other, i.e. would it help more people to gain understanding of scientific information, or is the idea of open access just for scientists to pay attention to?

Open access would definitely affect science literacy in one way or another. Free information would not only help people gain understanding of scientific information, but it would also speed up the scientists process to generate new findings at an unprecedented rate thus putting more information out there for readers to get familiar with. As a senior majoring in Human Biology, I know firsthand how hard it is to get access to some of the material that is already online but is limited to only its subscribers. Before being affiliated with SUNY Albany, I essentially had no way of accessing much of the available information online as a high school student, and I know like me, many other regular civilians are struggling to achieve this access.

3. Remember that scientific research is often proprietary, and not every success in the lab is shared with the world. There are patents involved, and other issues that might complicate sharing. Is this the world you prefer to function as a young scientist, or can you envision a different model? (It's OK to want to file for a patent!)

As someone being educated in the science field I know how hard it is to not only get the okay to conduct your experiment, but also about how long and time consuming the whole process actually is. With this in mind, I do not blame scientists to not want to fully partake in this new open access movement, because at times, some peoples spend a great chunk of their life working on something. With open access, their credit for the findings is reduced when compared to being published in a renowned scientific journal. However with this said, I still think that the scientific community needs to move towards a collaborative model to further this nations understanding in the science field. As citizens, our taxes pay for these government authorized experiments, and as such we should know what our money is being used to find. I think that along with open access, their needs to be changes implemented that allow the researchers to have some type of reward/revenue given to them depending on how useful their information is, and this needs to again come from the government sector. They are the ones who allow for researchers to do their work, and they are the ones that should pay the researchers for a job well done when need be, not the readers and general public. With changes like these taken into consideration, I am excited to soon become familiar with this open access movement.

1.I do not think we've done an open access article, but you could tell by seeing if there is any sort of payment involved.

2. I believe that it would indeed help to improve people's understanding, since they can go online and read from a website that let's them see other scholarly works without any sort of payment. It may mostly be for the scholars in putting them up and reviewing them online, but everyone else benefits as well.

3. I can see a need for patents in our world, especially in times where people can just go online and try to take credit for the work of others, but it could be done better. Maybe if patent offices worked with these open source sites so as to make everything easier? It would be a shame for proprietary reasons to be the only motivator for sharing work, but maybe once access becomes less limited with the internet things will change.

Siobhan Hogan
Open Access
Blog Posting #3

Open access is unrestricted online access to peer-reviewed scholarly research, specifically scholarly journal articles. This has gained popularity, as the costs of submitting to private journals have increased. Without this process, private review and publication of research can be quite lengthy. With open access, not only has the publication process sped up, but also the number of scholarly journal articles has risen extremely. One example, MathOverflow, allows for mathematicians a point incentive system for reviewing and contributing to research articles. Another website, ResearchGate, (working almost as a social network) allows scientists a community where they can discuss and share their research. This website currently holds approximately 350,000 papers and scientists often find candidates for future collaborations.
The articles that I have found during my research for class have not been open access. This is known because it can only be accessed through the University’s Library page. If I tried to go to the website myself, I would be prompted to enter a username and password. The university pays for student to have access to this website. If this was not the case, not only would college students, but also the general public, would have greater access to scientific journals. Through this, society as a whole would have to option to gain even more understanding of scientific information if they chose to do so.

My understanding of open access in relation to the science community is that it evolved out of a need for easier access to scientific information. The New York Times article gave a brief history of how the flow of scientific information worked. In short, the article states that the process of producing and publishing scientific information has historically been done in a private sphere that is hard to penetrate. Hence, the need for an alternative. Open access gives scientist and non scientist in the public to share their ideas more freely and quickly. The result of open access is that it gives all people, not just scientists freedom to see the information. The author of the New York Times article also states that open access is a cheaper alternative to traditional methods. In addition to reduced cost, open access allows for a more collaborative approach to scientific research. To answer your last question, is this a world that you would prefer to function in as a young scientist? Well, I am not a science major so I have a different view on things. In my major the information provided often happens in a mixture of open access as well as published and peer reviewed. I think that open access is a great thing, especially for the science community. There are many people, not just scientists who conduct research, studies and test with useful information that everyone should be to view and decide to endorse or no endorse. It allows for anyone interested in science to contribute and participate in a once privately controlled institution. I think as open access gains more support and reputability it will become a more predominant part of scientific research.

1. I do believe that one of my articles were in open access because the article discussed scientific collaboration.

2. I think that open access would help people to gain a better understanding of science. I believe this because the collaborative experiments and information give the reader more than just one persons view on a topic. It allows the reader to see multiple ideas on the same topic or concept.

3. I believe that all experiments should be shared with the world no matter how simple the experiment is. I personally enjoy reading about experiments and the scientific discoveries. Patents need to be approved therefore many scientific experiments don't make it through. All experiments, even the most obvious ones, should be shared with the world.

The video and reading in this assignment really opened my eyes a bit to the real status of scientific access today. Having been a college student for five years now I am extremely accustomed to having access to an enormous database of journals and articles through the University. I always understood that this access was paid for by every students tuition, but I never realized that without this tool it would be so expensive for me to gain even a quarter of the access I now have through traditional means. I think that open access is really important for this reason. The government wishes to expand the math, science, and engineering skills of future generations of Americans, and I believe after watching this that supporting open access to math and science articles via the internet would be a big step in this direction.

On the other hand I also see the value in the professional, and often expensive, publications traditionally available. It is very true that publication in said journals is heavily weighted when being considered for jobs, tenure, research position, or salary adjustment. The journals also play a role in screening and editing the information, for better or worse I cannot say.

Regardless of my thoughts on the issue I truly believe that open access scientific publications via the internet can and absolutely will succeed as a business model and the future will bring increasingly open access to said publications.

You can usually tell easily if a particular research is in open access. You can do this by checking the source of publication, and check if that publication belongs to open access or not (a lot of open publications have the word "open" in their name, and you can always check their website. I personally don't think that open access would be much of a help for general public to get access to scientific researches. A lot of the scientific researches published are not much of a help or understandable by people other than the researchers of that particular field. But, it can certainly be a great help for researchers who really need accessing these results, and can certainly be a great help for them to push forward. And usually submitting patents have nothing to do with publishing your research for free: after all, all submitted patent descriptions are open for access right now for everyone.

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