Guest Post - Pandemic Disruptor: Canadian Perspectives on how COVID-19 is Changing Open Access (Part 1) - The Scholarly Kitchen
peter.suber's bookmarks 2021-11-08
"COVID-19 has demonstrated how quickly the research ecosystem can come together to respond and share research results on a global scale. Since the current system is not open by default, stakeholders in publishing, academia (including libraries and administration), and research funding have had to reactively change their policies to enable rapid access to, and dissemination of, scientific information and research results to respond to the current pandemic.
COVID-19 is not the first global health crisis to demonstrate the critical role open access plays in disease response, containment and prevention. In 2015, a group of scientists working on the Ebola pandemic published a letter attributing the slow response to detecting the disease to a closed and inequitable research system. The authors highlighted how a pay-walled 1982 article hid crucial findings of the existence of Ebola antibodies within the Liberian community, proving it was not “a new phenomenon” as once thought. (Editor’s Note: the nuances of this complex situation were discussed in several Scholarly Kitchen posts, including “Discovery and Access in Light of the Ebola Outbreak” and “Access Alone Isn’t Enough: Revisiting Calls for Discovery, Infrastructure, Technology, and Training“). The COVID-19 pandemic and associated calls for immediate open access demonstrate that paywall barriers remained in place despite past lessons, preventing access to critical information.
In this two-part series, one of Canada’s federal scientific research funders (the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada – NSERC) and largest STEM publisher (Canadian Science Publishing – CSP) are collaborating because, as a funder and a publisher, we recognize that we are part of the same complex scholarly research ecosystem. We need closer collaboration to move towards a more open, sustainable, and equitable publishing environment. We will draw on the expert opinions of Canadian stakeholders about the impact of COVID-19 on open access (OA) and scholarly publishing and, national and regional policies to advance science for the public good. We propose greater collaboration among all stakeholders in the scholarly publishing system, to make sustainable changes for greater equity and openness.,,,: