Open access in science can mean much more than journal articles. Take, for example, the Ketterson lab, Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington. In the course of their over 30-year study on songbird biology the group has published over 100 articles. In addition to the published record of their research, they had accumulated large amounts of data and other products of research that were unpublished and likely of value to the greater scientific community.
A few years ago I worked with the group to make these materials open access. We used ScholarWorks to preserve and share their laboratory and field protocols, field notes, conference presentations, grant proposals, grant reports and other documents related to their research.
In science, knowing the details of how the work was accomplished can be just as important as the actual results. These details are often not found in published articles. One example, in just the last few years one of the lab’s protocols, a recipe for making a solution for storing blood samples for DNA analysis, has been viewed in ScholarWorks over 1,000 times. It is exciting to think about how researchers around the world might be using the lab’s information in new ways, asking new questions and making new discoveries in science.