Friday, 11 July 2008

Toll Access? Can't Share? - Get Creative - Legally


In one of McDawg's official capacities as a Patient Advocate, he has two officially authorised routes for gaining free access to Toll Access STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) literature.

I've already blogged about one of them via McBlawg here.

The other resource that I have access to is in relation to a fairly specific area of protein misfolding diseases.

This is great for me (and the others who have access) but I'm fairly restricted by traditional Publishers Copyright as to sharing this literature with others who might be interested.

As one OA community member so ably put it to me when I was handed this particular "golden key":-

Thanks for this - indeed a victory. This is definitely not open access, though; anyone else who wanted access would be in exactly the same boat as you were before. There are more than 500 academic institutions, in North America alone. With open access, more grad students and potential researchers would have access; some might be interested, and decide to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in this area.


About two weeks ago, I spotted a new Manuscript of extremely significant interest and under "Fair Use", drew this to the attention of two contacts (McDawg has a lot). The one who responded remains an extremely reliable and sound contact at New Scientist.

From experience, this is simply water off a ducks back for McDawg but since I blog more regularly these days, I felt a blog post was in order.

Having closely followed research in a particular field of rare fatal neurodegenerative diseases for many years now, it's not every day when a new/novel form is discovered.

From the commentary Manuscript relating to the Manuscript in question:-

In this issue of Annals of Neurology, Gambetti and colleagues describe a new form of prion disease designated proteinase-sensitive prionopathy (PSPr). The discovery of any new form of disease is a milestone. The identification of this novel phenotype of prion disease reflects the value of a rigorous systematic surveillance program and underlines the importance of neuropathological examination and prion protein (PrP) typing in prion disease classification.

It was during a conversation with McDawg's father last night that McDawg was alerted to one of the growing number of media reports relating to this discovery. There are currently 15 including this one from the BBC. Several link back to either the abstract of the Manuscript and/or the article in the New Scientist which generated additional media interest.

From what I've read thus far, media coverage has been authoritative and accurate.


As regular readers (Aunty Philippa and Uncle David) of such ramblings are aware, McDawg is an active (albeit, lurking in the background) member of the Open Access Community. McDawg has demonstrated yet again that "Fair Use" is not a crime and I urge other Patient Advocates and those interested in free culture to share information with a degree of creativity etc. as we continue to navigate the semantic web world that we now live in.

If you are even the slightest bit interested in what the global community can do in terms of Open Access, drop by the Open Access Directory. It's a wiki so anyone interested can get involved as reported here from the onset.

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