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

From: Peter Banks <>
Date: Mon, 29 Jan 2007 20:55:05 EST

Mr. Banks has not interviewed homemakers in Houston. Instead, I=20
spent 20 years in patient education. I've looked at the=20
statistics that show 90 million Americans have limited health=20
literacy; considered the 40 million Hispanic patients for whom=20
English is often a second language; considered the fact that 47=20
million Americans have no health insurance and therefore no=20
opportunity to discuss health information with a physician. I've=20
created low-literacy health publications, Spanish language=20

I have also been a cancer patient and used the Internet. In the=20
search for information, NIH's MedLine Plus, the American Cancer's=20
Society page, and many other patient-oriented pages were=20
extremely useful. PubMed Central was largely useless, since I do=20
not happen to be a cultured cell or a rat.

At the same time, we made virtually all the content of the=20
journal Diabetes Care freely available (after a 3-month delay).=20
I/we did this not because it would help very many patients--from=20
usage statistics, it very clearly didn't--but not to inhibit=20
those few who might use the information productively.

What we didn't do is to adopt the reprehensible tactic of some OA=20
advocates or Sen. Cornyn and suggest that a treatment for breast=20
cancer or diabetes was locked behind subscriptions barriers. OA=20
may be a good idea on some grounds, but patient education is not=20
one of them.

Those who know little about patient education and empowerment=20
shouldn't presume to lecture others.

Peter Banks

On 1/29/07 11:31 AM, "C.Oppenheim" <C.Oppenheim_at_LBORO.AC.UK> wrote:

> Has Mr Banks done a survey of homemarkers in Hiouston to assess=20
> their desire to read medical journals? If yes, can we see the=20
> methods and results please? If not, his posting will be=20
> rightly ignored.
> Professor Charles Oppenheim
> Head
> Department of Information Science
> Loughborough University
> Loughborough
> Leics LE11 3TU
> e mail
Received on Tue Jan 30 2007 - 02:58:19 GMT

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