Friday, October 14, 2005

Immediate Open Access: Every Step of the Way

Here is a thought for the SSHRC Consultation on Open Access: why wait until publication for open access? Indeed - why wait until the research is completed, or even begun?

What if a researcher were to post the details of a SSHRC funded research grant just as soon as confirmation of the funding was received? What if this were linked to background information, and supplemented by research data as soon as it was available? Then each draft of the research report as it became available - along with openly available peer reviews, then the final peer-reviewed versions when this was available?

With this approach, Canadians (and others, of course) could watch the research as it progressed. For some researchers, this might help to attract needed study participants. In some cases, perhaps students at various levels could conduct some of the research - or, perhaps the students could carry out parallel studies. Would there be excitement? There is no suspense with a completed study - but what about research in progress, where the results are not yet known?

Could watching and participating in research become as exciting as watching reality t.v. - or moreso, since this is real knowledge that is being created?

Would this open approach help to develop science and information literacy, and help to cultivate a new generation of keen researchers?

Would this mean interesting material for journalists - and more meaningful and positive news for the rest of us? Would the net effect be more public support for research in general - and humanities and social sciences research in particular?

This would really be embracing the medium.

[Series note: this is the 3rd post in the "Embracing the Medium" series}.

This post reflects my personal opinion only and does not represent the opinions or policy of the BC Electronic Library Network or the Simon Fraser University Library.

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