Saúde Pública - Equitable access to scientific and technical information for health | Hooman Momen | Bulletin of the World Health Organization

ab1630's bookmarks 2018-08-14


"Hippocrates equated scientific truth with mystical knowledge which should be revealed only to the initiated (1). In current thinking, however, scientific and technical information is seen as an archetypal global public good which should be freely available for the benefit of all (2). With traditional printed publication, the wide dissemination of this information through academic journals was an expensive undertaking, but now the internet and associated technologies have revolutionized the situation. The opportunities presented by these technologies have led to calls for greater access to the scientific literature.

Even though electronic publication has reduced or eliminated costs associated with the printing, handling and postage of scholarly journals, other significant costs remain. These include quality control (peer review and editing), production and dissemination (making the edited information available on the internet), and long-term preservation. A movement called Open Access maintains that these residual costs of publishing scientific information should be borne by the provider, and that access to the information should not be limited by the user's ability to pay.

In particular, a model proposed by BioMed Central based on funding by authors or their institutions has become prominent (3). This model may solve the problem of access, at least for those with the required level of connectivity, but it is not clear if all authors or institutions can afford to provide free access, especially if they have to pay the full cost of publication. Other models of financing open access need to be investigated such as the SciELO Project in Latin America (4), in which funding is mainly by governments through their research agencies. This comes conceptually closer to the idea of scientific information as a global public good, and open access is now the dominant form of publishing academic journals in that region. While open access has made impressive progress in recent years, the scientific health literature is still dominated by commercial publishers and learned societies which follow a similar commercial model for the publication of their journals. These publishers own copyright to millions of pages of scientific and technical information of vital interest to those working in the health field. Although they are susceptible to moral arguments about access to this information for those who need it, the publishers argue that they have both to finance their work and to meet obligations to their investors and members...."


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Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) » ab1630's bookmarks

Tags: oa.open_science oa.stem oa.scholcomm oa.access oa.taxpayers oa.publishing oa.publishers oa.policies oa.principles oa.costs oa.business_models oa.bmc oa.scielo oa.hinari oa.medicine oa.research4life

Date tagged:

08/14/2018, 14:48

Date published:

08/14/2018, 10:48