Re: PR's 'pit bull' takes on open access: excerpts from article in Nature Magazine

From: Michael Eisen <mbeisen_at_LBL.GOV>
Date: Mon, 29 Jan 2007 09:21:17 -0800

I fail to see how anything Senator Cornyn said is batty. It strikes
me as perfectly rational and fair.

I spend a fair amount of time at public medical libraries (UCSF and
the NLM). While the number of researchers and physicians in these
libraries is fairly small, presumably because they can access what
they need online, both institutions are frequently packed with
patients or their relatives seeking information that will enable them
to play a more active role in their care. And these are the lucky
ones who have access to such a library, and the time and health to
travel there. Why shouldn't they be able to access this information
over the internet?

And, just for the record, there was an NIH-funded study published in
December in the AJP on the effects of the Chinese herb Danshen in the
treatment of hypertension. This article received a lot of popular
press coverage, and I suspect there are quite a few people out there
who would be interested in getting a more in-depth view of what they
found than the few perfunctory paragraphs in the newspaper.

On Jan 29, 2007, at 6:30 AM, Peter Banks wrote:

> The reason to focus so much on large medical journals is that, at
> least in
> the United States, policy policy debate regarding scholarly
> publishing is
> almost entirely focused on clinical medicine--and on rather ignorant
> misconceptions of how OA can serve the general public.
> Exhibit A among the Legislators-Gone-Batty is Sen.John Cornyn: who
> claimed
> this in introducing the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006
> (S.2695):
> ^”^Ňall Americans will be positively affected as a result of this bill:
> Patients diagnosed with a disease or condition will be able to use the
> Internet to access the full text of articles containing the latest
> information on treatment and prognosis^Ň The Internet gives the
> homemaker in
> Houston the ability to find volumes of information about a recent
> medical
> diagnosis given to a family member.^‘
> I have no met a homemaker in Houston who cares to read the American
> Journal
> of Physiology, no offense to that fine journal.
Received on Mon Jan 29 2007 - 21:18:27 GMT

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