Open Access And Scientific Breakthroughs

Kamil | Open Science | December 7, 2012

A few days ago, The Chronicle of Higher Education published an article by Peter Suber and Darius Cuplinskas, daringly entitled “Open Access to Scientific Research Can Save Lives”. It relates the case of 15 year-old Jack Andraka, who recently announced he had invented a diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer.

Not only is Andraka’s test very cheap, but it also happens to be 168 times faster and 400 times more accurate than previously existing tests. Moreover, it may also be able to detect other types of cancer. The authors note that if it were not for the development of the Open Access model, the teenage inventor would not have been able to gain access to thousands of dollars worth of scientific publications. Chances are that in the era of traditional publishing, when most scientific articles only appeared in subscription-only journals, the young Jack Andraka would not have been able to make such an extraordinary medical breakthrough...