I would appreciate your help.
I am working on a chapter for a book on openness within science (to be published by Manchester University Press). The book is part of the ‘Making Science Public’ program run by Prof Brigitte Nerlich at Nottingham University and aims to take a critical look at the dilemmas of open science. In my chapter I want to explore how open access publishing has impacted the relationship between the public (in its various forms and groupings) and researchers.
As someone who has supported open access from within the life sciences, I have often expressed the hope that increasing the volume of the research literature accessible to the public might stimulate a public-side demand for more information from researchers, or clearer reports (e.g. lay summaries) – or might in other ways change the dynamic of interaction with the ‘experts’. I’m interested in the question of whether open access has empowered members of the public (broadly defined) in any significant way.
This is likely to be a minority interest among the general public but I imagine that there are special interest groups – patient organisations and campaign groups among them – that have a strong interest in the research literature.
I would very much like to find specific examples. I have made a number of directed enquiries but then thought I would use my blog to widen the net, particularly since the deadline is – what’s the word? – impending.
So, does anyone out there know of cases where open access to the research literature has stimulated contact with the research community? I would be particularly interested in instances where the contact has altered the course of research or clinical practice or public policy.
I would be grateful for all comments and suggestions. Please feel free to comment below or email me via the link on the left hand side of my university web page.