Here is the continuation of Heather’s bio from the June ’06 CWB newsletter:
I encourage all Chemists Without Borders members (and, indeed, all chemists) to openly share their research. Open access is about making the results of research immediately openly available over the world wide web to anyone, anywhere. There are two main approaches to open access: publishing in an open access journal, and self-archiving in an open access archive. To learn more about open access, start with Peter Suber’s Open Access Overview, at: http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/overview.htm Open access is the key to two elements which I believe are important to CWB goals. Open access to our knowledge about chemistry will become a keystone for the chemistry education aspect of CWB. Currently, access to chemistry information is very uneven, with the best access in the wealthiest countries, and the least access in the developing world. Subscription or purchase of chemistry information is very expensive. Open access will make it possible for more people to learn about chemistry in the developing world, which in turn will mean educated partners for CWB, and more areas of the world that can contribute to charitable efforts, rather than only being beneficiaries. OA can also directly support CWB workers in the future, as they will have ready access to knowledge they might need to solve problems in the field. Open access, when it involves immediate sharing of information, is also key to more rapid advances in our understanding. It was open sharing of information and working together that made it possible to map the human genome in record time. Think what might happen if we applied the same approaches to ameliorating environmental problems, finding low-cost pharmaceutical solutions to common problems, or sustainable, environmentally friendly energy sources. CWB can help make open access a reality through advocacy efforts with funding agencies, universities, researchers, and students, as well as by setting up a chemistry-focused open access archive for open sharing of chemistry research. Collaboration Research There are a great many resources that could be brought to resolving the kinds of issues CWB would like to address, from water remediation to affordable pharmaceuticals to environmental issues. There are about 6 billion humans on this planet, a very great many brains, other talents, and willingness to work; there are natural resources, and manmade resources, even if they are not immediately available where they might be needed. Resolving CWB issues, one might argue, is not a resource issue at all, it is, rather, a matter of coordinating efforts. Even as the more hands-on projects proceed, it might be worthwhile for CWB and other similar organizations to move forward at the same time to advance our understanding of how different peoples can quickly come to work together effectively for the good of all.
Well said. Comments?