[open-science] JennyMolloy and PeterMR representing OKF at Open Science Summit

Brian Glanz brian.glanz at gmail.com
Fri Oct 28 02:05:10 UTC 2011

While the case could be more rigorously presented for open access to
biomedical research saving lives, anyone working in global health or public
health in the developing world should know the case is strong.

Granted that Elsevier, Springer, et al. admit their long term commercial
motives for participating in WHO's HINARI programme and all of
Research4Life, these and similar initiatives (such as INASP) have saved
lives by providing free or lower cost access to thousands of journals in
more than 100 developing nations. Even though they exclude painfully poor
nations such as India from HINARI, Elsevier themselves are quick to trot it
out as life saving. For example

*"Dr. Arun Neopane of Nepal offered readers the opportunity to experience
not only how Research4Life has benefited his work as a paediatrician, but
also how it has supported him in his role as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal
of Nepal Paediatric Society and General Secretary of Nepal Association of
Medical Editors (NAME). “HINARI has changed the perspective of research in
our country. It has saved so much of the precious time of our doctors, by
making them more learned. And it has also saved many lives”, states Dr. Arun

Quotes like these are not hard to find. *"This project has probably had the
most impact of any WHO project since the Oral Rehydration Therapy" said Dr.
Philip Njemanze, chairman of the International Institutes of Advanced
Research and Training at the Chidicon Medical Center in Imo State, Nigeria
...*on page 89, World report on knowledge for better health, WHO, 2004.

Extending access to the scholarly poor in India, Pakistan, Egypt, and other
nations who lack HINARI or INASP, or to the scholarly poor in all nations,
would undoubtedly save more lives. The publishers do not do so, they
acknowledge, because there is money to be made. Peter is not out of line in
pointing out poignantly what many already admit.

Aside: I am waiting right now in a conference room in Seattle, where I will
personally beg Bill Gates to lean on publishers, policies, and to generally
join the chorus for open access. Anyone who knows me personally should
cringe at the thought of me begging Gates, but access to research, data, and
code are critical for progress in biomedical research (and all fields) and
having learnt so much about global health, Gates may agree. PMR is spot on
in my opinion, leveraging strong and compelling arguments for open access
from amalgam fields such as global health, education, climate research. BG

2011/10/27 Peter Murray-Rust <pm286 at cam.ac.uk>

> 2011/10/28 Bill Hooker <cwhooker at fastmail.fm>
>> For the record, I agree with Pawel.  It's one thing to be provocative,
>> quite another to make your fellow-travelers' lives more difficult.
>> Appeals to the heart via wrenching images of poverty are not suitable
>> for conversations about scholarly publishing: they simply make it easier
>> for opponents to muddy the waters.
> If there is a general feeling that I have overstepped limits I will take
> that on board. For the record (and I own any error in this - I am not making
> excuses) the initial 5-6 slides were not mine and were presented at Science
> Online in London and not by me. But having used them I take responsibility.
> I suspect that the context and perhpas my own delivery may have changed the
> impression.
>> Peter, you have done more than most in the service of Open Foo, and from
>> time to time the same enthusiasm that powers your achievements has
>> carried you over the line and put you in a position where you've had to
>> retract, adjust or apologize for various statements.  I've never
>> considered that a bad thing and I've always admired your willingness to
>> own up to error.  I think this is one of those times.  You've simply
>> made statements that you can't support, and coming from someone of your
>> stature that really does not help the cause.
> So - there are at least two different things - the use of the images and my
> statements and possibly the combination.
> As you say I listen to people and I am prepared to change my behaviour.
> This was an event of public record - I will look at it again with your two
> comments.
>> best,
>> Bill.
>> On Thursday, October 27, 2011 7:09 AM, "Peter Murray-Rust"
>> <pm286 at cam.ac.uk> wrote:
>> > 2011/10/27 Paweł Szczęsny <ps at pawelszczesny.org>
>> >
>> > > Dear Peter,
>> > >
>> > > I'm even more outraged after seeing the slides, than I was after
>> > > reading your blog posts.  Not only you show no data for assertion
>> > > "closed access means people die" (anecdotal evidence is not an
>> > > evidence - instead of formulating a hypothesis, you claim  "I don’t
>> > > think anyone can deny the truth of that conclusion."), but you imply
>> > > absolutely false connection between mortality rates in very poor
>> > > countries and lack of access to primary research literature.
>> > >
>> >
>> > I did not say it was the major cause of mortality, but it is a
>> > contributor,
>> > including in the rich west. After talking with people who run patient
>> > groups
>> > there is anecdotal evidence that many patients cannot get access to the
>> > literature they want and that diagnoses are in error because of that.
>> >
>> > I shall take steps to create bodies of anecdotal evidence to support my
>> > assertion.
>> >
>> > >
>> > > This is very wrong. Majority of maternal mortality rate in Bangladesh
>> > > (see your last slide) is attributed to child marriage, lack of female
>> > > education and lack of skilled birth attendants. Access to scholarly
>> > > literature is absolutely irrelevant in such case. You'd need to
>> > > improve the standard of living and the quality of education first.
>> > >
>> >
>> > this is an independent effect.
>> >
>> >
>> > > Please stop flashing images of poor people in your open foo talks.
>> > > You're harming the credibility of open science community.
>> > >
>> > >
>> > That's an opinion.
>> >
>> > P.
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > --
>> > Peter Murray-Rust
>> > Reader in Molecular Informatics
>> > Unilever Centre, Dep. Of Chemistry
>> > University of Cambridge
>> > CB2 1EW, UK
>> > +44-1223-763069
>> >
>> > _______________________________________________
>> > open-science mailing list
>> > open-science at lists.okfn.org
>> > http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/open-science
>> >
> --
> Peter Murray-Rust
> Reader in Molecular Informatics
> Unilever Centre, Dep. Of Chemistry
> University of Cambridge
> CB2 1EW, UK
> +44-1223-763069
> _______________________________________________
> open-science mailing list
> open-science at lists.okfn.org
> http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/open-science
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