Why Open Access Is a Game Changer

April 23, 2021
Journals and books on a library shelf

In a recent opinion piece published in Inside Higher Ed,  professor Britt Glaunsinger explains the many reasons that open access to scientific research can be important, especially during a pandemic. 

For years, Glaunsinger’s lab in the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology has researched the virus that causes Kaposi’s sarcoma, the primary cancer occuring in AIDS patients. With the rise of COVID-19, her team pivoted their research towards understanding SARS-CoV-2. Crucial to this work, she says, has been easy and fast access to other scientists’ research. "If we had to wait for the peer-review process to run its course,” she writes, “vital information about the virus would just now be seeing the light of day.”

Glaunsinger also stresses the importance of open access publications for equity. She points out that while people affiliated with academic institutions often have free access to research publications, many non-affiliated individuals do not. 

Glaunsinger applauds University of California’s breakthrough agreement with Elsevier, the world’s largest scientific publisher, which this year made any research published in Elsevier journals by UC authors automatically open access. “The deal is a great leap—and a shot in the arm, both literally and figuratively, for the battles to come,” she writes. “But we shouldn’t stop until all our research is available to the world.”

Read the full article on the Inside Higher Ed  website.