November 21, 2013
Open Access is gradually becoming a popular standard for publishing and sharing research results. However, a huge number of scholarly books and articles are still hidden behind paywalls. Since we may still have a while to wait for open access in all areas science, we can in the meantime do something to spread the word. For this we can use the Open Access Button.
The Open Access Button is a browser plugin, invented by two medical students, David Carroll and Joseph McArthur, and developed by a group of voluntary programmers, which allows you to report each time you hit a paywall and cannot access a research article. The aim of this tool is to help gain access to articles in another way, for example by contacting the author or finding the article using Google Scholar.
How it works?
“When a user reports not being able to access a research article, the Open Access Button records the user’s location, their profession, and why they were looking for this research. The Open Access Button then integrates this information onto a map to create a real time, worldwide, interactive picture of the access problem. The integration of social media will allow you to make this problem visible to the world.”
All you need to do is drag the generated plugin for your web browser directly from the official project website. Then if you come across a paywall when searching for articles, just click on the Open Access Button.
Will it give you automatic access to the article?
No, but the Open Access Button is designed to help you find an alternative way of reaching the selected source. It has moreover another task – to show where and in what way scientific research is hidden behind paywalls. For the purpose of exposing closed research, the creators developed a special virtual map of where locations with paywalls are marked.
The Open Access Button is, on some level, a method of exerting pressure on publishers, but also on authors. Whether this tool works, depends on the scale of participation. If a virtual map is filled with locations and reports on lack of access, then this tool, disseminated through social media, will be difficult to ignore.
So, if you are interested in participating in this project, just add the Open Access Button to your browser from THIS SITE.