Wednesday, 9 April 2008

OA – the research laboratory without walls

Another OA benefit for all those struggling to equip their laboratories or purchase chemicals was highlighted in a recent posting on Peter Suber’s incomparable OANews. Glen Newton, Canada National Research Council’s Institute for Scientific and Technical Information, drew attention to the importance of machine open access to full text research articles, allowing all manner of research to be carried out from ‘literature-based discovery’. He referred to a study ‘that showed how researchers discovered the biochemical pathway involved in drug addiction from the literature alone. They did no experiments. This discovery was derived from an analysis and extraction of information from the literature alone’. From the published study, the methods section says, ‘The data and knowledge linking genes and chromosome regions to addiction were extracted from reviewing more than 1,000 peer-reviewed publications from between 1976 and 2006.’ And there are many other examples, says Newton.

We should alert the research communities that OA to full text articles provides an Aladdin’s cave of experimental evidence from which new knowledge can be derived.

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