Promoting Open Science to Boost Health Equity

Anthony So, AHW theme leader for Transformative Technologies & Institutions

Anthony So, AHW theme leader for Transformative Technologies & Institutions

Eliminating paywalls, reducing barriers to sharing research, and providing intellectual property at no cost to low- and middle-income countries were some of the key topics discussed during Open Access Week at Johns Hopkins University in October.

The Alliance for a Healthier World, which has embraced the concept of Open Science as one of its fundamental approaches to boosting health equity, co-sponsored with the Welch Medical Library two of the events held on campus during the weeklong series.

"Open access and open science are core to our University’s commitment to generate and share knowledge. Without such access, we would impede the progress towards tomorrow’s cures and treatments,” said Anthony So, Alliance theme leader for Transformative Technologies & Institutions and professor of the practice in the Department of International Health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The first event co-hosted by the Alliance featured

The discussion was moderated by David Peters, Academic Director of the Alliance and chair of JHU’s Department of International Health.

“Central to the Welch Library’s mission is the provision of quality information to all our users, and having barrier-free access to that information and data is a core-value of informationists and library professionals,” Seymour said.

“Unencumbered access to research is particularly important to researchers in lower- and middle-income countries who may either be denied access to the materials Hopkins had once provided them, or may have very limited or no access to research at all. Not only do we facilitate access to research, but we also provide training and tools throughout and along the entire research publication lifecycle to help authors and institutions disseminate their work through traditional, open access, or other methods.”

The ultimate premise of open science data innovation is that getting more eyes and minds on an issue makes it more likely the problem can be solved.
— Christa Hasenkopf, co-founder of OpenAQ

McArthur discussed, among other things, his work in co-creating the Open Access Button, a suite of tools to allow access to articles behind paywalls, either by finding free, legal alternatives or requesting an author make a copy available. The tool came about after he had a conversation with a mentor that highlighted the idea that private companies are reaping huge profits by charging high prices to read the research that was paid for by other institutions.

“As people interested in advancing public health, we need to be builders and owners of the information system that supports us,” McArthur said.

A second Alliance-Welch event, moderated by So, featured

  • Phillip Phan, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the Carey Business School, and a Joint Professor in the Department of Medicine

  • Christa Hasenkopf, an atmospheric scientist and co-founder of OpenAQ, the world’s first real-time open air quality data platform

  • Bob Bollinger, Professor of Infectious Diseases at the JHU School of Medicine and Founding Director of the Center for Clinical Global Health Education and one of the creators of the emocha mobile health tool

  • Carol Mimura, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Intellectual Property & Industry Research Alliances (IPIRA) at the University of California, Berkeley.

“The ultimate premise of open science data innovation is that getting more eyes and minds on an issue makes it more likely the problem can be solved,” said Hasenkopf, whose group aggregates air quality data from public sources provided by governments, researchers and other sources.

Dr. Mimura discussed her work in health equity, in particular the creation of Berkeley’s Socially Responsible Licensing Program, which partners with industry, start-ups, and nonprofits to formulate technologies that lack traditional profit drivers. IPIRA has helped to develop, among other things, malaria therapies, tuberculosis drug targets, and novel anti-viral compounds.

“The Transformative Technologies and Institutions arm of the Hopkins Alliance for a Healthier World plans to continue exploring these issues in the year ahead,” So said, “and we would welcome those who share these interests to contact us.”

Learn more about the Transformative Technologies & Institutions theme:

TTI thematic overview
Spotlight on Transformative Technologies & Institutions

Further resources for those interested in learning more about or pursuing Open Science:

· Peter Suber. Open Access. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2012

· Jean-Claude Guedon. Open Access: Toward the Internet of the Mind

· Heather Joseph. The Open Access Movement Grows Up: Taking Stock of a Revolution. PLoS Biol 2013 Oct; 11(10): e1001686

· Open Access Button

· Unpaywall

· Arturo Casadevall and Ferric C. Fang. Causes for the Persistence of Impact Factor Mania. mBio 2014 Mar-Apr; 5(2): e00064-14

· Open Access and Patient Empowerment: SPARC’s Open In Order To

· Sheridan Libraries Open Access Guide

· Provost’s Open Access Policy

· Phillip Phan and Dean Wong. Lost opportunities: Life science companies are missing out on the benefits of open innovation. Nature 2017; 552, S18

· Phillip Phan. Life Sciences Lose Opportunities by Not Sharing Innovations. Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. January 17, 2018

· Kathleen Pierce. Closing the Air Quality Data Gap in the Developing World. Earth & Space Science News, July 11, 2016

· OpenAQ

· Samuel B. Holzman, Avi Zenilman, and Maunank Shah. Advancing Patient-CenteredCare in Tuberculosis Management: A Mixed-Methods Appraisal of Video Directly Observed Therapy. Open Forum Infectious Diseases April 2018; 5(4): ofy046

· MiDiagnostics

· Anthony So, Bhaven Sampat, Arti Rai et al. Is Bayh-Dole Good for Developing Countries? Lessions from the US Experience. PLOS Biol (2008)

· Anthony So & Evan Stewart. Commissioned Paper: Global Health Governance Report (2009) Sharing Knowledge for Global Health

· Anthony So & Rachel Sachs. Harvard International Law Journal (2012). Making IP Work For Global Health

· Socially Responsible Licensing at University of California, Berkeley

· Sample clauses in research agreements and license agreements

· Socially Responsible Licensing, Euclidean Innovation, and the Valley of Death

· Mimura, C., “Nuanced Management of IP Rights: Shaping Industry-University Relationships to Promote Social Impact”, Chapter 9 in Working Within the Boundaries of Intellectual Property, Oxford University Press, pp. 269-295, March 4, 2010. Ed. By Rochelle Dreyfuss, Harry First, Diane Zimmerman