Behind the Open Access Button is a team of international student volunteers. Get to know them on Team Button Tuesdays! This week we have Joe, one of the Open Access Button Co-Leads, and Margaux, our Communications Officer.
Joe McArthur, Open Access Button Co-Lead
I came to university with a mission to make people healthier and a love of the scientific method. I quickly began to realise (i.e had people spell it out to me) that, on the most fundamental level, something was wrong with how we publish research. After years of failure, a lot of learning, and even more luck, I now find myself with the honour of working on the Open Access Button.
To even begin to talk about why I love Open Access and this project seems futile. I’ve yet to properly figure out a way to express it and I’m not feeling lucky today. I started this journey as a rather confused pharmacology student, but I have quickly come to redefine myself as a global health advocate. I’m still confused, though. I view open access to research as an essential piece of a healthier world for everyone. That, if you made me pick one reason, would be what motivates me to work on this project.
Having spent the last few years and most of my life expecting myself to be a scientist, I’m now taking a leap of faith out of bench work to tackle the structural problems affecting how all research is done. I’ve had a front row seat to watching this project grow from an idea that gave me sleepless nights to something with the potential to give people who can change the system sleepless nights. It’s been quite a show.
Margaux Larre-Perez, Communications Officer
Hi, I am Margaux, and I am a new member of the Open Access Button Team. I am also a third-year PhD student in cognitive science in Paris, France. As you can guess, Paris is GREAT. But being a student in France is not always easy.
A few months ago while opening my emails, I had the displeasure to discover that my university unsubscribed from hundreds of academic journals — some of them being important for the research done in my lab. Nature also became too expensive for our school, and I discovered shortly after this story that another Parisian university unsubscribed from Science for the very same reason. At this point I made my own research and I discovered how much my university was paying for academic subscriptions every year. To make a long story short, it is insane. The worst part is that I know our situation is not unique at all. All over the world, individuals and organizations have to spend hundreds of millions to have access to the academic literature; in other word, they have to spend money to do their job correctly. It is nonsense.
Joining the Open Access Button Team was thus a way for me to help correcting our current publishing system. Despite what we can hear sometimes, open access is the future and publishers already know they would have to deal with it. Our goal is just to help them to make this change as quickly as possible!