I was reminded of another important use of Open Access publications last week when I gave a talk at Chico State University. Chico St. is one of the California State Universities (I guess it's formal name is California State University, Chico). The people in the Biology Department there invited me to give a talk (I think this was because of the press coverage of my PLoS Biology paper on the symbionts of the glassy winged sharpshooter - a pest of great concern throughout California since it transmits Pierce's Disease in grapes).
I had a great visit and a nice drive to and from Chico. I met with lots of faculty doing interesting stuff. And after my talk we went to a local pub with some faculty and students. I had opened up my talk discussing the benefits of Open Access publication and how it was just as important as databases like Genbank (In fact, I think it is a good idea to discuss the importance of OA in scientific presentations in general - spreading the word). And much of our conversation at the pub centered on Open Access.
The most interesting thing I found out was that for one of the journal club/discussion courses that they have there, they only use papers from OA journals like PLoS journals. There were two major reasons for this. (1) As a woefully underfunded university (note - read this Arnold), they do not have funds for their libraries to subscribe to a diversity of journals and (2) using OA publications means they can post all the publications or links to them on a web site for students and do not have to make them closed access / password protected to prevent illicit sharing of non Open publications.
So - another benefit of Open Access publishing. Easing access even o major universities in the US, and making it easier to use research papers as part of course readers and course web sites.
Hat tip to Mackenzie Smith for pointing this out to me Paywall The Movie Trailer from Paywall The Movie on Vimeo .
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