Chapter 14 – Open access to e-research

Robert Lucas, and John Willinsky

Recent technological advances enable radically expanded dissemination of scientific research. This chapter makes an ethical and epistemological case for open access to scholarly publications. We review recent developments in access to data and published work and assess the strengths and shortcomings of e-research initiatives with respect to open access. We propose that in addition to strengthening scholarly practice, OA enables scientific findings to better inform public debate and promote the ideal of free inquiry in the broader culture. The field of medicine is presented as an example of how greater public access to research has contributed to the democratic quality of people’s lives.