Founder On Open Access Dreams

Richard Price | Times Higher Education | May 8, 2014

Discoveries by laypeople are rare but free access to research results would increase the likelihood, says Richard Price

The common argument for open access revolves around the public’s right to access research it has paid for through taxes. However, open access might also enhance the public’s ability to contribute directly to science.

This is not pie in the sky. There are cases of outsiders coming up with fresh, important ideas that no one researching in the field had thought of.

Take Argentinian car mechanic and father-of-five Jorge Odon, who is behind one of the most significant developments in obstetrics in around 150 years. One day, when he was watching a YouTube video showing how to get a cork out of an empty wine bottle using an inflated plastic bag, it occurred to him that the technique might also be effective for pulling a baby out of the uterus when assistance is required. Hopes are high that his invention, if approved, will be an improvement on forceps (which can fracture the baby’s skull) and suction caps (which can cause scabbing on the baby’s scalp)...