The Back and Forth on Open Access

After reading your article about open access1, the first thing that comes to mind is: What can I do to help this movement?I am a professor of Human Anatomy and Physiology and Exercise Physiology primarily involved in teaching. I often like to use examples of cutting-edge research in class. I come across many abstracts with relevant findings [but] I can't review the entire paper because my university doesn't have a subscription to that particular journal online. I find this appalling, especially

Frank Russo
Apr 25, 2004

After reading your article about open access1, the first thing that comes to mind is: What can I do to help this movement?

I am a professor of Human Anatomy and Physiology and Exercise Physiology primarily involved in teaching. I often like to use examples of cutting-edge research in class. I come across many abstracts with relevant findings [but] I can't review the entire paper because my university doesn't have a subscription to that particular journal online. I find this appalling, especially since I teach at a relatively large state institution. In such cases how am I expected to fork over the money to get this information (several hundred dollars per year for many subscriptions or, for example $30 for a paper)? The fact that most of the research is publicly funded makes matters worse. If anything, online subscriptions should be, at the most, dirt cheap: How difficult...

I fail to see how the British Medical Journal's practice of allowing access to the Pound et al., article and the articles cited by them, in addition to the rapid responses (not peer-reviewed) answer the question raised by Pound et al., as Richard Gallagher proposed.1

Considering that those criticizing the efficacy of the animal model are usually denied access to publish in scientific journals, it is not surprising society has not heard the other side of the story. Books such as Brute Science and the very few articles that are published are ignored, as the arguments they make are difficult for the animal model community to refute.

The animal model community has not yet addressed the ramifications of gene networks, complexity theory, and evolutionary biology. The knowledge gained from these disciplines calls into question the continued use of the animal model. Empirical data such as that from toxicity studies raise further doubts.

While I support the practice of open access and rapid response, it is not, even under the best of circumstances, the most thorough of examinations. To attempt and pass off such as a final answer to a controversial issue begs the question: "Why would one say such a thing?"

Ray Greek, MD

President, Americans for Medical Advancement Los Angeles afma@curedisease.com